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Internet provider to axe Palo Alto's web connection

Original post made on Mar 31, 2011

The City of Palo Alto is losing its Internet connection due to a battle over a proposed neighborhood cell-phone tower.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, March 31, 2011, 12:39 AM

Comments (119)

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Posted by VoR
a resident of another community
on Mar 31, 2011 at 4:04 am

He mad


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Posted by Kevin
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 31, 2011 at 4:58 am

I hope this guy takes his marbles and leaves town. Palo Alto should not enter into agreements with individuals which give these individuals leverage over the city. Build the cell tower now!


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Posted by qq
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 31, 2011 at 5:09 am

Lots of ISPs are available at the Equinix data center, PAIX at University and Bryant. It is even mentioned on the City's fiber website.

Bandwidth there on the city fiber ring is very inexpensive.

The city should not have had all their eggs in one basket with a single ISP announcing their IP space.

Equinix will get them cross connected to a new ISP and all will be well. ;-)

qq


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Posted by Blackmail
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 31, 2011 at 5:37 am

The comment that this has vaporized 17 years of good will in one thoughtless act.. certainly sounds like Stephan expected the city to do what he wanted. The city ought to pay for the service, so we can't be blackmailed by an individual.


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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 31, 2011 at 6:31 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Cut them off tomorrow! Then cut the rest of their usage of fiber optic cable.


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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 31, 2011 at 6:35 am

Isn't this an example of extortion by this mR Stuart? I assume the city attorney will be looking at filing charges against him. This is the same Mr Stuart that has been using cheap scare tactics (i.e. reduced property values), without any proof, to try to prevent a new cell phone antenna from being installed.
Shame on him and shame on the city if it caves into him.


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 31, 2011 at 7:31 am

Palo Alto should pay for its connectivity. Mr. Stuart, please cut the rest of the free internet.

If Palo Alto planning permits 50 foot towers around town, they can require connectivity from the applicant.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 31, 2011 at 7:38 am

Bad planning on the part of the City. They should never be taking free gifts from residents who can then hold them to ransom. I hope that the City is paying for all its services, not taking bribes.

Ridiculous situation to be in.


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Posted by Observer
a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 31, 2011 at 8:05 am

The way the headline and the article is written, it gave the mistaken impression that the entire city of Palo Alto would suddenly be cut off from the internet. I live in the city. A more specific wording would have been helpful. Of course, then I might not have read the article. I can see this man's point. On the other hand, why would Palo Alto place itself in this position?


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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 31, 2011 at 8:11 am

"Even if the city were to deny AT&T's permit, Stuart said he would not reconnect the city."

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
Not sure why the city is taking free internet from this fellow's company. Bad situation. Anyway, the city attorney needs to look into this matter.
In the meantime, Mr Stuart should proved proof for his claim that property values will decrease if the tower is built. Using scare tactics and spreading disinformation is not the way to do things.


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Posted by hatecellphones
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 31, 2011 at 8:21 am

Stuart and his wife Tru Love should never have been in the position to offer this supposedly wonderful boon to PA in the first place. What a corrupt society that puts them in that position. In the second place the offer should not have been accepted. But now we have this ridiculous individual making what he won't call a threat but a consequence. Already the nimbyism over the cell phone tower was making me sick but now this! You want your stupid cell phones--then live with towers!


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Posted by Jack
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Mar 31, 2011 at 8:22 am

FYI, AT&T is a public utility registered with the PUC. That does make them an essential public utility. (whether you chose to use their service or not, is up to you). The city has not broken or ignored any laws. Mr. Stuart is misinformed and throwing a child-like temper tantrum. Talk about 17 years of good will being undone by a single act. . . Mr. Stuart is right, HE just undid his good will with this behavior. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by make AT&T pay
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 31, 2011 at 8:28 am

AT&T started this mess. AT&T is an internet service provider, right? They should give the city free service for their trouble.


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Posted by JA3+
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 31, 2011 at 8:45 am

It's high time the City changed procurement policies to prohibit this sort of arrangement.

Ample sources of internet connectivity are available here; the City needs to immediately terminate its relationship with Mr. Stuart and Ms. Love; there should be no delay here.
_____

When the appeal filed by Stuart/Love is soon heard, the City must deny the request. Cell service is a critical public utility service.

The actions of Mr. Stuart and Ms. Love -- taken with no regard for law or science -- are self-serving.


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Posted by Jay
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 31, 2011 at 8:57 am

People start screaming because the FREE internet service to the city will be cut.
How often do these city powers-that-be screw over residents? Years of prolonged planning permissions and endless stupid rules that make some residents life a misery. Who on earth wants a giant telecom tower outside their front door? If it happened to you would you be quiet to smug in your easily typed and forgotten opinions?
Yes the city should not have all its eggs in one basket, but that again shows the city for being incompetent. Future planning not coming across as a strong point. I don't know Mr. Stuart, and I don't hold his actions against him. He has a fair point and the city will think twice before screwing over someone next time and using someones goodwill endlessly. A taste of their own medicine. No one is perfect. Not even Palo Alto City.


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Posted by EcoMama
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 31, 2011 at 9:18 am

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


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Posted by Ann
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 31, 2011 at 9:46 am

I applaude Stephen Stuart! Thanks for taking this action and helping to protest against the city decision. We need more people like you. People who take action when they see something really wrong happening. Thanks for all the years that you provided free internet to the city and thanks for keeping your service to our media center and schools.

I hope more people take actions and speak up about this issue.


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Posted by Ann
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 31, 2011 at 9:51 am

Mr Stuart did not have to give us free anything for so long... we should be backing his actions. Thank you Sir for so many years of service.

"ISC provides Internet connections for the city, the Palo Alto Unified School District, the Media Center, Ravenswood City School District in East Palo Alto, Menlo Park City School District and Sequoia Union School District. Those services won't be affected, Stuart said."

Thanks for keeping those services as well.

"When the city failed to exercise its own laws, "it discouraged people from investing in the city. I have invested my time. I'm done," he said. "

Could not agree more with him. Well said and well done. Thanks for taking a stand. Bravo!!!


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Posted by Anon
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 31, 2011 at 10:07 am

Does this mean that the city will lnot be able to run the libraries, the Development center, registration for the Summer progems at Lucie Stern, etc.? What about police and fire?


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Posted by Bob
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 31, 2011 at 10:09 am

The overwhelming sentiment expressed by those commenting clearly makes the point that the City should never have been involved with any individual, or "non-profit" for access to its (meaning all the residents) Internet feeds.

This situation speaks volumes about how poorly managed the IT department has been, and how little the City Managers have been, when it comes to telecommunications.

Whether Google knew about this situation, or not, it certainly reinforces Google's decision to by-pass Palo Alto as the city it would bestow its resources upon or ultra-high speed internet.

One can only wonder how many of "visionaries" Google hires, who are opposed to wireless Internet access, and are willing to pull wireline Internet access for a whole city because their demands have not been met by local City government?


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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 31, 2011 at 10:11 am

"People who take action when they see something really wrong happening."
Of course the question is what is happening that is really wrong??? So far, Mr Stuart has not provided any proof to back up his claims of health issues and decreased property values.
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Mr Stuart's claims (""This is not a threat. This is not a punishment. This is the consequence of the city not enforcing its laws," and "That failure "has vaporized 17 years of good will in one thoughtless act,") are more examples of the empty rhetoric that Mr Stuart is good at.

Let's see some facts.


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Posted by Carl
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 31, 2011 at 10:17 am

Sincere thanks for the service over the years, and good riddance now. Nothing is free as this clearly indicates. It is surprising to me that a seemingly scientific person would use fears of antenna radiation risk which are scientifically baseless, as well as illogical arguments("AT&T doesn't really need this tower" yeah right they want to spend $100-1000K to build the thing and fight nimbys, plus the $1000s per month lease, to "force" a needless antenna here?) to support their nimby demands?


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Posted by nimby
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 31, 2011 at 10:27 am

Mr. Stuart's true motivations are obvious now. He is not opposed to the cell phone tower because of any health or business concerns. He is opposed purely because he doesn't want to look at that ugly thing right across the street from his house.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Leigh Klotz
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 31, 2011 at 10:37 am

I think property values in areas with poor cell/mobile internet service are lower. Especially now that wireless internet access is cost- and speed-competitive with wired access.

Hmmm...it is interesting that the driving force behind keeping out wireless connectivity in Palo Alto is an individual who has a vested interest in wired internet access, and who is apparently playing hardball with city politics.


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Posted by duveneck area
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 31, 2011 at 10:43 am

Most people want the new cell phone tower working ASAP. Build the cell tower now! Do not let any resident black mail our city, File a suit against him!


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Posted by Bob
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 31, 2011 at 10:55 am

Why do people keep calling the tower ugly. It's going to be disguised in a lovely steeple. Well done on the part of the architects . . .


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Posted by Nothing New
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 31, 2011 at 11:13 am

Reminds of MI and the BOE scandal. Accepting free studies, caving to charter threat. Act on principle!


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Posted by what?
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 31, 2011 at 11:17 am

Mr Stuart had a moment of feel good vengeance. But clearly the city can get all internet access required without Mr. Stuart. Having a resident providing special services to the city for free is incredibly ridiculous.

I'd really hate to think that city decisions would have to be approved by Stuart. Sooner or later he'd be annoyed at some other city policy that he didn't agree with and terminate his free service.

I'm looking forward to finally getting AT&T Cell service in this neighborhood. As for the cell towers, most people would not even be able to tell you where they are. But we are all familiar with the hundreds of ugly utilities on telephone poles throughout the city.

Get over it Stuart. A year from now you won't notice the tower, your home will not go down in price, and you won't die of cancer.



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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 31, 2011 at 11:28 am

> AT&T is an internet service provider, right? They should give the city free service for their trouble.

This makes the most sense to me. If they are putting up cell towers they ought to be responsible for installing wifi as well.

Having just purchased a horrible iPhone that drops more than 70% of calls at least once I am outraged that this "service" is being sold expensively and locking people into it. A similar thing happened with AT&T's cellular service in the 90's - it was terrible. I used to have to go out to the middle of the street to get my cell phone to work. Did I get a break on my calls? No.

SECONDLY ... the iPhone and I'm guessing most of these Internet enabled devices do not have any kind of switch for determining or controlling where you are connecting to your Internet from.

Meaning, if I am streaming some kind of media from the Internet through my wireless connection if I walk out of range of that wireless connection my phone will start using up the expensive and limited Internet minutes in my data plan without my knowledge or agreement.

The iPhone should have a software setting for this to prevent or ask about Internet usage through the phone network instead of making that automatic and opaque - all it does it generate more dollars for AT&T - thus rewarding them for an inferior product and lousy service, and not using their connection with Apple to lead to a software upgrade that will serve their customers.

This is basically cheating all of us ... that are on AT&T.

What I want is some adjustments on my iPhone so that Apps will not automatically or in the background do things that I am not aware or and have not OK'ed ... unless I configure my device to do that. I should be able to have more control over the Internet usage by programming my device in the way that serves me best.


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Posted by just the same
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 31, 2011 at 11:32 am

Its just the same as if the city had their service from a commercial provider and the provider could not provide service because of a technical or economic failure. Its just an inconvience, no one will die if the city web site goes down for a month while they sort it out. In the meantime Mr Stuart has provided us with an entertaining tantrum that is well worth fire drill.


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Posted by Bob
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 31, 2011 at 11:34 am

> AT&T is an internet service provider, right? They should give the
> city free service for their trouble.

Absolutely NOT! Palo Alto needs to find at least two Internet providers--a primary and an alternative. The City needs to treat its Internet feeds in the same way it treats its electrical feeds. The City needs to pay for everything. Otherwise, there is not way to know what the cost of running the City is. And, as we've seen in this matter, the City's information systems can be held hostage to a vengeful resident, or organization.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Mar 31, 2011 at 11:52 am

The self appointed Wizard of the internet says "The city cannot grant a conditional-use permit to AT&T because such permits are granted to utility facilities that are essential services to the neighborhood. Wireless facilities are not essential neighborhood utility services, Stuart said."

Wireless is Critical infrastructure!!! What about all of the school kids who rely on their cell phones for safety in an emergency.

Maybe he will call the city from his land line to complain about all those new-fangled electrified cars driving around spraying EM through his hood.

I think he is simply stuck in the early 90's when he kindly helped the city get started on the web and cell phones were a luxury and not a critical service.

Palo Alto, get real, get a legit internet connection from a professional ISP. Then weigh the issues of the cell tower strictly on its own merits and based on a disgruntled neighbor with his hand on the plug of the city's core internet infrastructure.


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Posted by 4B-Wireless-Users-Worldwide
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 31, 2011 at 12:19 pm

> Wireless is Critical infrastructure!!!

Of the 6.5B to 7B people alive in the world today, about 4B have cellphones! Wikipedia reports: "In 2008 there were 1,270,000,000 fixed line subscribers in the world."

So .. it's clear that wireless has been the communication medium of choice (or necessity) for most people in the world. Maybe it's time for a City Council resolution taking note of the importance of wireless for the well-being, and future economic well-being of the City/State/Country/World.


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Posted by essbee
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 31, 2011 at 12:55 pm

To anon of Crescent Park neighborhood:

I have an iPhone with AT&T and I have NEVER had a dropped call, so I don't know what your problem is!


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Posted by hatecellphones
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 31, 2011 at 12:59 pm

You consumers now exist only to be screwed, as in the quotes below from Anon, Crescent Park. Great ideas, Anon, but the point for these companies is not to provide what logically they should provide but to extract money from you (and make everything you do traceable and useable in a court of law)(govt gives them some dough for that, I imagine). I guess you were speaking ironically, though.

Anon:
SECONDLY ... the iPhone and I'm guessing most of these Internet enabled devices do not have any kind of switch for determining or controlling where you are connecting to your Internet from.

Meaning, if I am streaming some kind of media from the Internet through my wireless connection if I walk out of range of that wireless connection my phone will start using up the expensive and limited Internet minutes in my data plan without my knowledge or agreement.




The iPhone should have a software setting for this to prevent or ask about Internet usage through the phone network instead of making that automatic and opaque - all it does it generate more dollars for AT&T - thus rewarding them for an inferior product and lousy service, and not using their connection with Apple to lead to a software upgrade that will serve their customers.




This is basically cheating all of us ... that are on AT&T.




What I want is some adjustments on my iPhone so that Apps will not automatically or in the background do things that I am not aware or and have not OK'ed ... unless I configure my device to do that. I should be able to have more control over the Internet usage by programming my device in the way that serves me best.


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Posted by Ellen
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 31, 2011 at 1:03 pm

More power to them. Lobbyists succeeded in not allowing city councils to consider health effects. We now know from sound studies that cell phone use next to the head changes brain functioning within minutes. And the effects of having a tower in close proximity to residences is entirely unknown. I don't blame anyone from thinking that these towers are not compatible with housing. No more than a nuke plant located a few hundred feet from a freeway 20 miles north of a metropolitan area is compatible (San Onofre, north of San Diego).

Now AT&T wants to sprinkle many more thru our neighborhoods with the health effects unknown.

Go Stuart and Tru - maybe the new City Attorney will bring some new thinking to the table.


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Posted by Oy!
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Mar 31, 2011 at 1:09 pm

First of all, the Catholic church needs our help with all these crazy lawsuits being filed against them and this new cell tower will bring much needed revenue to pay litagation fees. Second of all, the city manager and city officials are basically always looking for free handouts and have shown their cards numerous times on the "we're so cheap, we will sell out for anything free" scale. Charge it up to hiring an incompetent city manager who has no bargaining skills and a city council who has forgotten that they were voted in to serve the residents of Palo Alto and not AT%T.What a pity that residents fail to place their anger on a poorly run city government.


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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 31, 2011 at 1:11 pm

"We now know from sound studies that cell phone use next to the head changes brain functioning within minutes. "
Well, if you are going to cite that study, then cite the conclusions:
Web Link
"The findings are still of "unknown clinical significance," but Dr. Henry Lai, one of the study's authors, said he hoped it would mark the beginning of expanded research on the health effects of cell phone use."
and
Web Link
"'Unfortunately this particular study does not enlighten us in terms of whether this is detrimental or if it could even be beneficial,' Dr. Volkow said. 'It just tells us that even though these are weak signals, the human brain is activated by them.'"


[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Joe Nash
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 31, 2011 at 1:11 pm

Typical- Stuart is yet another Google employee who thinks he walks on water.

Instead of working on special projects, all Google employees should spend 20% of their time learning how to be upright citizens, sans ego and arrogance. That would be time well spent.


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Posted by OY!
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Mar 31, 2011 at 1:51 pm

"Joe" guess you forgot to read the article how this resident has worked with the community for 17 years in bringing FREE services to the city of palo alto. Please list your contributions to our community and please start with what essential sevices you have sucessfully negotiated to provide city taxpayers any service FREE of charge.


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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 31, 2011 at 1:58 pm


""Joe" guess you forgot to read the article how this resident has worked with the community for 17 years in bringing FREE services to the city of palo alto."
First of all, the city should not have taken anything free from anyone and reasons are pretty clear why. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 31, 2011 at 2:08 pm

@hatecellphones:

Settings/General/Network/Cellular Data = OFF


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Posted by RadioGuy
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 31, 2011 at 2:31 pm

RadioGuy is a registered user.

The comments on this thread don't seem to understand what a huge problem this will be for the City of Palo Alto. By "terminating transit service", ISC will no longer provide routing for the City's IP network address block (199.33.32.0/19) which essentially makes Palo Alto's network block useless. Getting a /19 is like having season tickets behind home plate for the Giants. That's 8,190 individual addresses. It's virtually impossible for even a major network provider to get this kind of allocation today, let alone a small city like Palo Alto. This is not like switching from DSL to Comcast. There's a lot of work to be done.

If the City wants to hang onto their network block, they'll need to find a company willing to provide transit. Doing so will allow the City to keep it's computing infrastructure pretty much intact. However, this is a different class of service and can be expensive. The downside is that Palo Alto will also lose the network expertise in managing their infrastructure at this level. This was expertise and support that was previously provided for free by a volunteer and was probably done using hardware from the ISC.

The alternative is that the City gives up their network block and goes completely with a new provider for internet service. This is the only model most internet providers will sell to anyone but a very large enterprise. If the City does this, they'll need to renumber and reconfigure almost everything that externally visible on the internet. That's because the ISP model is based on using the ISP's netblocks. Renumbering may be very difficult given length of time the current system has been in use and lack of expertise within the City's IT (CPADIR?) group.

Like the disagreement between the City and County over the management of the Palo Alto Airport, running things locally may seem like a great idea a first. However, until the details get worked out, the amount of effort involved isn't immediately apparent.


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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 31, 2011 at 2:43 pm

Has the city gotten in touch with Internet Systems Consortium (ISC) to see if they want to be a party to this? Does anyone know if Stuart is actually speaking for the Internet Systems Consortium (ISC)?


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Posted by R
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 31, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Talk of "extortion" is ridiculous, overblown and childish.

He is saying "I'm going to stop giving the city a gift. Period." He is not saying "I'm going to stop giving the city a gift unless they do X." -- still not extortion. And he most definitely is not saying "I'm going to violate the city's life/liberty/property, unless X".

-----
Steven: Thanks for the 17 years. Thanks for still helping out the schools, etc...

-----
I think the claims of radiation risk are baseless. But enough people are worried about it, that, yes, it can lead to some people not making an offer on a house. As other people have pointed out, having great wireless connectivity may very well lead to a different set of people being more interested in buying a house.

"The only constant is change."


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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 31, 2011 at 3:29 pm

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

He made his statement:""This is not a threat. This is not a punishment. This is the consequence of the city not enforcing its laws," Stuart said. " you decide what it means.

He is being petty and vindictive:
"Even if the city were to deny AT&T's permit, Stuart said he would not reconnect the city."

The city should not have been taking anything for free. The question is, is he speaking for the consortium or not.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Ethel
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 31, 2011 at 3:38 pm

My guess is that if the tower were to go up in my neighborhood or Barron Park or Midtown, Mr. Stuart wouldn't have bothered with the situation at all.


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Posted by Hulkamania
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 31, 2011 at 3:41 pm

Posted by Oy!

"First of all, the Catholic church needs our help with all these crazy lawsuits being filed against them..."

You mean all the lawsuits filed by kids that were sexually abused by priests for years?

Just wondering.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Toady
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 31, 2011 at 3:53 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by R
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 31, 2011 at 3:56 pm

In hindsight, one can easily say "Palo Alto should never have been in this position". Who knows how it started back then. It was probably a small thing, a favor, a communitarian act, an arrangement between like-minded acquaintances?? A lot has changed over time.

Yes, Palo Alto should now take care of itself.

Perhaps it was childish of Steven to cut it off. He clearly no longer feels the goodwill towards the city that motivated him earlier. Personally I don't fault him for that, I more think that having the goodwill earlier on is what was unrealistic/utopian/silly.

Replacements can be found. Without knowing how hard that is, my gut would say that 2 weeks notice seems too short.

-----
But seriously guys ... talking about investigating him or suing him or whatever is just nuts.

Why are you taking this so personally/emotionally?

Someone was giving you a gift out of the kindness of his heart. His heart changed. Get over it.


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Posted by empathy?
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 31, 2011 at 4:00 pm

I understand why Stuart has done what he has done but he could have handled it more effectively.
He could have told the city that he was "done with it" and would handle the transition of responsibility within an appropriate timescale. By choosing this route there will obviously be the attitude that he is out to "punish" the city.


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Posted by Allen
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 31, 2011 at 4:09 pm

> That's 8,190 individual addresses.

This is an interesting point--although it begs the question: "How many does the City need, and how many of this block is it currently using?"

Before getting excited about this, it would pay to see what AT&T Broadband and Comcast have to say in terms of their providing alternative service.

Web Link

About ISC
Internet Systems Consortium, Inc. (ISC) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) public benefit corporation dedicated to supporting the infrastructure of the universal connected self-organizing Internet—and the autonomy of its participants—by developing and maintaining core production quality software, protocols, and operations.
---

> "This is not a threat. This is not a punishment. This is the
> consequence of the city not enforcing its laws," Stuart said.

> That failure "has vaporized 17 years of good will in one thoughtless
> act," he said.

One has to wonder how a non-profit takes orders from "someone who works with it"? One has to wonder where the money comes from that ISC uses to pay its bills? And why, all of a sudden, this Cell Tower on Channing Ave. has become such an issue with this organization?

Certainly time to ask the City Manager if he has any idea what IPV.6 is, and when the City plans to move to that level of Networking?


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Posted by mutti
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 31, 2011 at 4:53 pm

Mr. Stuart is not providing the free service on the i-net to the school districts. That was provided by Comcast, grandfathered into an agreement when ATT bought Palo Alto Cable Co-op. BUT our wonderful state legislature took away the rights of cities to negotiate with cable providers and sent that to the state. So, Comcast is pulling the free Internet for the schools. Notice the article last week about Palo Alto school board voting to pay Comcast $200,000+ per year for internet. Ravenswood may have to go back to 2 T-1 lines....not enough to get classrooms full of kids on the Internet.


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Posted by Waiting Waiting Waiting
a resident of Monroe Park
on Mar 31, 2011 at 5:10 pm

cityofpaloalto.org lost its internet connection? Really? How could they tell?



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Posted by Allen
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 31, 2011 at 5:36 pm

> BUT our wonderful state legislature took away the rights of cities
> to negotiate with cable providers and sent that to the state

I-Net was nothing more than a tool of extortion--given to local government agencies, and abused by most of them. Congress can be seen as little more than thugish in giving this power to the FCC.

Comcast was never going to give "free internet" to the schools. It always was going to bury the cost of whatever hardware/service it provided in the bills of the local customers. Astounding how government at every level is always conspiring to hide reality for the taxpayers, the rate payers, and the customers of services that have to seek franchises from these agencies.


> Ravenswood may have to go back to 2 T-1 lines....
> not enough to get classrooms full of kids on the Internet.

T1's run at about 1.5 mbps, and can cost from $500 to $1500 per month.
Comcast is offering 16mbps at about $60 for residential service, so it's hard to believe that it would be that much more for schools.

Wonder if anyone at Ravenswood has done their homework on this matter.

There a'int no such thing as a free lunch. Wonder when the people of Palo Alto are gonna learn that lesson?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by JO
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 31, 2011 at 5:39 pm

"City planners have said they have little legal leeway to deny the permit...."
I thought I read in a news article that the cell tower required a variance for exceeding the height limit by 5 ft. Is my recollection correct?
If so, specific findings must be made in order to approve a variance, which I would think gives the City plenty of legal leeway.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mary
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 31, 2011 at 6:55 pm

Wow, talk about the ill will being created between the Catholic Church and its neighbors surrounding Channing Avenue. It's only a matter of time before the Catholic Church sells off that church site. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by gene ray
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 31, 2011 at 6:58 pm

I guess he thinks he's special. Probably would have done the same if he got a parking ticket --- wah!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Patrick
a resident of another community
on Mar 31, 2011 at 7:03 pm

I know Stephen and he is a BRILLIANT man. You may disagree with his position but don't underestimate how brilliant he is. I live in Indianapolis so I do not have a whole lot of understanding of this topic but it seems to me that free internet was a service provided by Stephen to Palo Alto out of good will. For those of you who disparage him because he is taking the service away, please tell me you thanked him for 17 years of free service. If not, then your argument rings hollow. I have to pay $45/month for internet service in Indianapolis and people in Palo Alto are upset for not having someone donate free service to them. Typical. Hang in there Stephen. I'm with you on this!!!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by EcoMama
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 31, 2011 at 7:30 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Patrick
a resident of another community
on Mar 31, 2011 at 7:41 pm

To EcoMama,

You have no landline? That's your choice and your problem. You don't have a right to free internet service. I'm amazed at the extraordinary sense of entitlement you people feel. You think you're owed free internet. You "NEED" a cell tower because you chose not to have a landline? Really, that is your argument? Wow! By the way, Stephen is brilliant.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Nothing is free
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 31, 2011 at 7:44 pm

Patrick-stephen is not donating free internet to the people of palo alto. He is way out of line. His demands are ridiculous. The city should tell him thanks and disassociate all contact with him.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Patrick
a resident of another community
on Mar 31, 2011 at 7:51 pm

Average income in Palo Alto is $153,197 and you people are pissed because you aren't going to get free internet? And none of you think you're being even slightly rediculous here? The average family makes $153K a year and you're not willing to pay a small fee for internet? People in Japan are suffering from a major earthquake and tsunami and a possible nuclear meltdown and you're upset because you may have to pay for internet service. That is fascinating to me.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Mar 31, 2011 at 8:21 pm

1 - You get what you pay for

2 - Sometimes free is too expensive


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Mar 31, 2011 at 8:24 pm

April Fools Day came a day early this year.

There is much, much more involved here than what's in the press.

Cutting the Internet is likely to bring much more to light, and to show Palo Alto the true nature of their Computer department.

For starters, the head of the computer department retired (forced out?) today. Coincidence?

It will all come out over time.....


 +   Like this comment
Posted by EcoMama
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 31, 2011 at 8:55 pm

Patrick, I don't get free internet -- clearly, you don't know the issue at hand. Oh, that's right: YOU DON'T LIVE HERE. Stuart is unplugging City Hall in a vindictive way. THEY get free internet services from Stuart -- not the residents. They're not entitled to it -- but they're entitled to have time to transition. No matter how close your friendship with Stuart, you can read between the lines and see that he didn't get his way, so he's packing up his toys and going home.

And we need a cell tower because it's 2011, and half of the world's people have cellular phones. It's fair to expect them to have reception, especially in the heart of Silicon Valley.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Fascinating?
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Mar 31, 2011 at 8:58 pm

What's fascinating is that Patrick from Indianapolis is accusing us all of being ridiculous b/c he thinks we're all getting free internet service while we're all making $153k. Last I looked, I'm not pulling in $153k, but I am paying for my internet connection.

Patrick - go read the story again. And while this may seem a petty argument in relation to the world problems, you seem to be hanging around an awful lot.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ann Marie
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 31, 2011 at 9:25 pm

EcoMama, how about getting a land line or changing service provider?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by OY!
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Mar 31, 2011 at 9:27 pm

Wow, guess it doesn't take much for y'all to get sidetracked! The media article was about FREE internet services provided to a few city facilities being removed. Had nothing to with children or churches or if you like your neighbor. Stay focused and perhaps life will be less stressful. Laughing is fun, or as Joe Dirt says, life is a garden-dig it!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by just the same
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 31, 2011 at 9:35 pm

I just lookd up the ISC, they are a 501(c)(3). If I recall my 501(c)(3) rules, its not clear that he is not risking his tax exemption. I hope he is not providing himself with free connectivity under this service. That could also be problematic.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by EcoMama
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 31, 2011 at 9:44 pm

Ann Marie: No! It's not too much to expect that I should be able to use the largest cell provider in the world from my home! How about you come into the 21st century and accept that these towers are going to go up more and more often -- and stop being afraid?!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by john
a resident of Monroe Park
on Apr 1, 2011 at 12:09 am

You people posting these comments are narrow minded. He only has the best in mind for the people of Palo Alto. If there is even a one percent chance of my family getting cancer, then I for one don't want them in my neighborhood! I think where damn lucky to have caring generous people like Stephen Stuwart in our community!


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 1, 2011 at 1:35 am

John, you might want to pay more attention to radiation causing cancer in your family from all the testing we & the Russians did.

It's pretty funny to live on the border of the 'hood & have good cell reception, then drive into PA & have calls drop - constantly.

Stuart's spoiled whining because he didn't get his way is noticeable because he won't share his toys anymore, that's all. Sheesh. The believers in junk science just foment his self-righteousness.


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Posted by just the same
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 1, 2011 at 1:39 am

john,

why now? why this tower? why did stephen not object to all the other towers in the last 17 years? why did he not protest other towers in other neighborhoods, so why this one? If stephan works for google, why does he not object to working for a company that promotes cell phones that all those children are putting next to their heads?
Maybe just maybe this is just about him not having a tower next to him.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 1, 2011 at 2:40 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

I believe the height limit should apply only to occupied stories. Towers that do not significantly disrupt the view should be exempted.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by daniel
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 1, 2011 at 7:25 am

Let's get one thing clear:regardless of what you think of Mr. Stuart's actions, a cell tower is not an essential service. It's an attempt by at&t to slow down the lose of customers to other providers. Cell phones are not essential, we can live just as well, some would say much better, without them. In the 1990'0 practically no one had a cell phones and we had a very prosperous time back then. I can even remember fondly being in public, in restaurants, in airports without everybody yammering on those damn things. I can even remember drivers who actually payed attention to the road instead of being totally absorbed in cell phone conversation or texting while driving.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bike Commuter
a resident of Ventura
on Apr 1, 2011 at 7:47 am

Attention Citizens of Palo Alto:

You have 14 days to email your City Council with any concerns.

Type now or forever hold your peace.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Chris
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 1, 2011 at 8:08 am

@Daniel,
Say what you like about cell phones being essential or not, their presence is integral to disaster management and recovery.
Even 10 years on, those of us who were in NYC on 9/11 think twice about whether we have our phones handy before leaving the house and hundreds of people were saved in the towers when people were able to use phones to communicate with first responders. Remember also in Haiti all the stories of people being found because of cell phone calls.
Please don't be so cavalier when living in earthquake country.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Apr 1, 2011 at 8:27 am

Daniel--as an addendum to Chris' post--look at the rest of the world and see how essential cell phones are--people that would have never had a phone now have a source of communication. Many people have gotten rid of landlines, so they are an essential service to them. You have a very narrow view of things.
And regardless of your thoughts--cell phones are here to stay. Arguing that we should not have a cell tower because you see them as not essential is a bit of a stretch. Stuart's actions are way out of line.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 1, 2011 at 8:39 am

It all comes down to defining "essential". I had a family member who wouldn't have a phone in her house, she survived without one until she was quite elderly when her kids made her get one.

Some people think having 2 cars in the family is essential while others survive on one.

The point really is that progress brings new things into our lives which become essential. The only really essential things we need is food and shelter, everything else is just nice or useful to have.

I expect sour grapes have a lot to do with this story, but I wonder if Stuart had any say in what community got the Google citywide free wireless. That would definitely make interesting reading.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by hatecellphones
a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 1, 2011 at 8:56 am

Posted by hatecellphones, a resident of Menlo Park, 23 hours ago

Daniel, I love your comments. I wish we had more cell phone haters. But here's another reason to hate them = this controversy.

I don't even agree with myself. Yesterday I said this: "Stuart and his wife Tru Love should never have been in the position to offer this supposedly wonderful boon to PA in the first place. What a corrupt society that puts them in that position. In the second place the offer should not have been accepted..." BUT TODAY I think we should just give Mr. and Mrs. S. what they want, realizing that the rich rule the roost, and democracy's over. The mere fact that this guy was not ashamed to do what he did means it's give-it-up time. (And, oh, I love these people who tells us how brilliant he is!)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by JA3+
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 1, 2011 at 9:10 am

Bob states:

"Palo Alto needs to find at least two Internet providers--a primary and an alternative. The City needs to treat its Internet feeds in the same way it treats its electrical feeds. The City needs to pay for everything. Otherwise, there is not way to know what the cost of running the City is. And, as we've seen in this matter, the City's information systems can be held hostage to a vengeful resident, or organization."

+1

Well-stated; I urge City staff to use this opportunity to seek a wise and prudent solution; bypassing Mr. Stuart will benefit Palo Alto here.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by NIMBY
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 1, 2011 at 9:23 am

I have an idea. If everyone who believes that Mr. Stuart should accept the tower for the common good would volunteer to host a tower, that might solve our problem. I sympathize with Mr. Stuart; I would be furious if the city was going to allow a tower that close to me. It's easy to talk about the common good when it isn't in your back yard.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Apr 1, 2011 at 9:27 am

According to today's Daily News, Lalo Perez (Administrative Services Director) says the city needs interent access as a matter of public safety. So Mr Stuart is potentially endangering public safety. Will he keep us hooked up until a replacement is found or will he cut the cord on the 14th no matter what?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by hatecellphones
a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 1, 2011 at 9:39 am

Cell phones useful in a disaster? Always?
Japanese are using social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and Mixi as cell phone networks are jammed following the 8.9-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami.

This morning we tried to call some relatives and friends in Japan.
As expected, the cell system is overloaded and unusable.

Some of those stuck in Tokyo turned to old technology instead, using pay phones, many of which attracted long lines of businessmen desperate to call home and notify their families that they had survived the quake. While most of us have cell phones and wouldn't go anywhere near a pay phone these days, it's at times like these that technology we may have abandoned shows it still has a service to provide.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bob
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 1, 2011 at 10:09 am

> Cell phones useful in a disaster? Always?

Of course cell phones are "useful" in a disaster. The question is: "are they always usable in a disaster?"

> As expected, the cell system is overloaded and unusable.

As expected by whom? Did Japan create a disaster plan that included the kind of disaster that they are currently experiencing? It's pretty clear that the landlines are wiped out in area where the tsunami hit. Want to make a bet as to how long it will take to replace landline service in that area? It's a safe bet that cell phone service will be up and running pretty soon. And satellite cell service is working today.

Back in 2003, a hurricane hit the Central Atlantic coast, and knocked out the electric grid and the telephone grid from Cape Hatteras to Baltimore. It took over a month for service crews to restore power and telephone service for all residents/customers in the affected area. Cell phone service was not disrupted, however.

Cell phones are a critical service. Any one who does not understand that is probably not paying attention to what is happening in the world.

Notice the following template for a disaster plan:

Web Link

Both landline and cell phone numbers are listed for purposes of disaster planning.

Cell phones have a weakness, in that they need grid power every few hours of use, in order to keep functioning. We are beginning to see solar recharging devices on the market now, and even very cleaver power harvesting devices that can charge a cell phone by simply placing it inside a WiFi "hot-spot". (Of course, that means having power in the "hot-spot", but power is rarely out everywhere after a disaster.

What's also interesting is so many people posting on this topic seem to have no idea how "cord cutting" is much more prevalent than they give credence to --

Cell phone-only households eclipse landline-only homes:
Web Link

The percentage of cell phone-only households has hit 20.2 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pushing past the percentage of homes that are only connected by landlines for the first time.

The results, part of the CDC's semi-annual health survey, reflect the rise of cell phone use and the growing pattern of "cord-cutting" by residential home phone users. Wireless-only homes have grown from 7.3 percent in the first half of 2005 to just over 20 percent in the second half of 2008. From the previous survey, that figure jumped 2.7 percentage points, the largest 6-month increase since the survey started in 2003.
---

It's now 2011, so the number of cell phone only households is doubtless closed to 30% than the 20% in 2009. With those sorts of numbers, cell phone access is most assuredly a "critical service".



 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 1, 2011 at 11:10 am

This isn't about liking or disliking cell phones. They're a reality now & for many, they have become a necessity. Nevertheless, Stuart's being puerile & we all know it. Typical sore loser!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 1, 2011 at 11:12 am

The other reason cell phones are useful in an emergency is the ICE (in case of emergency) feature. It all came about after the commuter train bombings in Madrid. Emergency personnel could find the phones of unconscious victims but had no idea who to call first from their contact list. Thus the ICE feature was introduced. It is useful in all sorts of accidents when someone is unconscious and paramedics need to get contact information/next of kin information quickly.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Triple El
on Apr 1, 2011 at 11:29 am

There was an antenna installed last year at the First Congregational Church, (corner of Louis and Embarcadero) - you don't even know its there.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Wha?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 1, 2011 at 11:42 am

What effect will this have on the budget? My bet is that the City didn't plan for this in any way, and the huge price they will have to pay to keep essential services going will come at a high price for all citizens.

The city should negotiate to try and get time to get a reasonable contract that they pay for. Good luck to us all.

Mr. Stuart is a coercionist at best, and the less the City has to do with him the better.

And cell phones are the way of the future people, wake up! I can text someone when I have no way to call them, making my cell phone the best tool in an emergency to contact family, law enforecment, etc. And my phone is always with me, my landline phone - not so much.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Carlito waysman
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 1, 2011 at 11:48 am

One teaching moment for the Palo Alto City government: don't spit up to the sky and stay put in the same place.

Kudos for Mr. Stuart. You have to fight fire with fire, enough of that nonsense of turning the other cheek over, specially with this City Government.
For those crying foul about Mr. Stuart actions and live nearby him, contact ATT and the planning Dept, and volunteer your own backyard as a cell tower site.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Just Me
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 1, 2011 at 11:52 am

I was involved in setting up the (free) internet access for the City of Palo Alto in the first place, back in the early 90s. In the early days we did it all for them, including running the various edge servers needed to connect the city's primitive HP Desk computers to the newfangled internet. They gradually developed the competence to take over the operation of most of it.

If it hadn't been given to them for free, the chances are good that "should our city connect to the internet?" would still be under debate in city council and resisted by staff and the planning commission. The administrative structure of our city is so ponderous and so less-than-competent that if this hadn't been given to them on a silver platter, City Hall would likely still not be on the internet.

Stephen Stuart was the original engineering designer of the Palo Alto Internet Exchange, referenced by several commenters. The fiber from PAIX to City Hall was installed completely outside the city's procurement process; otherwise it would never have happened. Right now that fiber is cross-connected to an ISC switch port inside PAIX. If one of the ISPs inside PAIX is willing to sell transit to the city, a fiber cross-connect is all that's needed. Besides a contract and payment, of course. And enough in-house competence to set it up and get it working.

The city's address block is not lost. It is what's called a "portable address block". It belongs to them, not to any transit provider. Any competent ISP can originate the city's address block so that essentially nothing needs to be changed inside the city IT department. It was originally acquired for the City of Palo Alto by Joe Peck, who was at the time one of Stephen's peers at the company that did all of this work. I note with a smile that in the 17 years since Joe Peck acquired this precious resource for the City of Palo Alto, nobody on the City staff has been sufficiently aware to transfer its registration appropriately; Joe is still listed as the tech contact.

I've been peripherally aware when the City IT department has asked Stephen for help with this or that over the last 15 years. Their questions haven't been very educated, and the calls have been (in my opinion) somewhat demanding, but Stephen always answered their questions, fixed their problem, and taught them what to do so that it wouldn't happen again. It's been an ongoing nuisance for him, and if I were him (I'm not), I'd be delighted to get those people off my back and give them an 800 number to call when they can't find the on/off switch on some piece of gear.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 1, 2011 at 12:29 pm

May I make a suggestion to everyone? The more you respond to this thread (as a negative) the more Mr. Stuart gets his jollies.

Let it die. New cell tower. New ISP for CPA.

Move on and let Mr. Stuart stew on his own. His 15 minutes are up.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 1, 2011 at 12:30 pm

To be clear - let the thread die.

Welcome to the new cell tower and new ISP.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by To Crescent Park Dad
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 1, 2011 at 12:34 pm

Don't you think he may also read some of these posts & instead of getting his jollies he'll be frustrated that so many people don't support what he did?

Why all the suggestions that people host a cell tower in their backyard? The church isn't anyone's backyard. Does anyone truly have a cell tower in their backyard on the peninsula?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Local Observer
a resident of Los Altos
on Apr 1, 2011 at 12:55 pm

"Does anyone truly have a cell tower in their backyard on the peninsula? "

Interesting question. Is there any reason why it can't be done?

I'd be willing to host cellphone services on my existing 50' tower which presently hosts TV antennas, a microwave link, an NIST antenna, and most of my weather station sensors. Plus, I really could use the rental money. :-)

For anyone curious where all the AT&T and T-Mobile cell towers are located in the Bay Area, visit this site (SFOcellsites):

Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by hatecellphones
a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 1, 2011 at 1:56 pm

[Post removed due to possible copyright infringement]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 1, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Local Observer, why not, if you already have all that other stuff? I have to see the Ikea billboard & listen to feral people who are neighbors. I don't make $$ off of either, but you should if you can!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Robert Smith
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 1, 2011 at 3:04 pm

The issue has nothing to do with the nature of Mr. Stuart's complaints or with all of the good effort he may have expended in previous years.

The issue is the present actions toward the city. To wit:

1. If you want to stop doing business with someone that is fine. Good business practice would be to give the client a reasonable opportunity to find another service. While no contract apparently exists, the nature of the long-term relationship was such that good manners could have been assumed.
2. Mr. Stuart dropped service precipitously and in a publicly vindictive style. One cannot read the quotations without seeing a desire to damage and hurt. He and ISC went out of their way to do this in the most negative and public manner they could orchestrate.
3. The actions suggest that Mr. Stuart felt that he was buying influence with the city and was owed special consideration.
4. ISC has damaged its own reputation--perhaps beyond redemption--and may have endangered its 503(c)(3) status. It is not clear to me why the directors of an established non-profit would act to support the vindictiveness of one of its supporters/members.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 1, 2011 at 3:52 pm

I have every reason to believe that anyone in Mr. Stuart's shoes would have done the same thing, or close to the same thing. I am ready to bet that those who lambaste him here would not like to have a cell phone tower across the street from their house either and would fight it in every way they can.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Local Observer
a resident of Los Altos
on Apr 1, 2011 at 4:16 pm

Midtowner wrote "... anyone in Mr. Stuart's shoes would have done the same thing ..." and "would fight it in every way they can".

Why? Stuart's action seems a spiteful response due to his apparent ignorance of cellphone technology.

Though I'm now retired, the next-to-last company I worked for for the entirety of its long existence had its offices on the 10th (top) floor of the "Crossroads" complex at 101 and 92 in San Mateo. Every cellphone carrier had their antennas atop that building along with the local police stations, and another company, which developed cellphone equipment, had their own cellphone "tower" in their suite on the 9th floor. Thus we were sandwiched between multiple cellphone towers.

Absolutely no problems whatsoever, and we had great cellphone reception. :-)

There are only two issues I have with cellphones, and both pertain to GSM which is what's used by AT&T and T-Mobile.

1. a GSM handset can ramp up to 2.5 Watts transmitting in its attempts to reach a distant cell tower. There is sufficient anecdotal evidence that much power at one's head can be harmful. With plentiful (and close) cell towers the phone instruments don't need to use so much power (and battery life is greatly extended)

2. GSM interference. A basic flaw of GSM transmission is it turning the transmitter on and off 217 times a second (217 Hz). That operation interferes audio equipment, computer speakers, hearing aids and almost anything else up to 100 feet away. Reports in the New York Times have GSM phones turning-on the new electronic stoves and causing fires. I can post the URLs of those NYT articles if anyone's interested in reading more.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by OY!
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Apr 1, 2011 at 7:33 pm

Thanks to all for their valued and bizarre opinions now logged into cyberspace for eternity and lets see if any of us remember what if any comments made on this thread can be remembered in a months time. Or as Joe Dirt says "KABOOM". Happy April's Fool Day!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by glad
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 1, 2011 at 8:57 pm

I'm glad the tower is going up. The city will be fine. Probably even better off if they're done dealing with the vindictive nature of that guy.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Oh Please
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 1, 2011 at 10:17 pm

This guys is a typical Palo Alto cry baby. Give me a break. Cell service in town stinks because snobs like this guy protest towers.

As for his Internet, who cares. The City will have Internet and no one will miss a beat. It might even be better if we didnt have internet for a while.

Get over it. this guys can move to another city, maybe another planet.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 1, 2011 at 11:25 pm

Unlike most of you, I think Mr. Stuart's response is perfectly reasonable. The City of Palo Alto routinely takes arbitrary and capricious actions. There is no reason why Mr. Stuart or ISC should be providing free service to the city of Palo Alto. If the city of Palo Alto wants to retain a /19 block of static addresses, they should pay for it and have the necessary competency to manage it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Tit for Tat
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 1, 2011 at 11:27 pm

I am surprised that people are finding fault with Stuarts actions.

Vindictiveness is as American as it gets. Looking at our justice system how on earth can you say American are Vindictive.

Let not paint Stuart as the bad guy here. He did not get what he wanted - he refuses to provide the free service.

Vindictive - sure why not - what's the problem?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by just the same
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 2, 2011 at 7:26 am

"he refuses to provide the free service"

Does Stuart provide it or ISC?

"There is no reason why Mr. Stuart or ISC should be providing free service "

Looking up the 990 of ISC, that is what they do as a 501(c)(3) provide free internet service.

Unfortuantely it would appear that they provide and take away that service as it benefits the individuals participating in ISC. If true, this would be a violation of the 501(c)(3) tax exempt rules,

How does a cell tower near a participant in the charity interfere with the charity's mission? I can see Mr Stuart refusing to continue his free consulting that is outside the scope of the charity. But I dont get how he drives the charity to drop connectivity, the 2009 990 does not list him as an officer or even an employee.

So how exactly is it that Mr Stuart is the person that decides for ISC that Palo Alto is no longer eligible based on a cell tower placed near his home? Anyone got that piece of the puzzle and want to share?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Tit for Tat
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 2, 2011 at 8:35 am

We are throwing the book at Stuart. Palo Alto has too many lawyers around. Wait and watch:

Stuart will not follow through on his actions. Since we have thrown the IRS at him.

This community needs self evaluation. We are WAY TOO vindictive.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sandy
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 2, 2011 at 9:12 am

The city should never have accepted the offer of free internet service, but Mr. Stuart is being unreasonable in demanding that the city do what he wants. I would welcome the opportunity to have a cell phone tower in my back yard in order to increase my income to the point that I, as an elder, could actually continue to live in the home where I've been for sixty-plus years without constant financial struggle (not every Palo Altan has a huge income; some of us pre-date Silicon Valley). Also, we are not appreciating the fact that many (if not most) of the children at St. Albert's school are there on scholarship; they have parents who want to give their children the best (as do all of us), and the education these children receive at Catholic school is usually a whole lot better than what they would get at their neighborhood school. Remember, the Church has to pay the school's teachers and custodians (and internet providers), and whatever rent AT&T is paying goes to a good cause.


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Posted by Bob
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 2, 2011 at 11:18 am

I don't get it: there's lots of land in Woodside, Portola Valley, Los Altos Hills (and zoning laws that encourage big plots). If you don't want stuff in your backyard, get a yard that's big enough that the stuff you don't want is far enough away so that it doesn't bother you (instead of doing a tear-down in a tighly-packed neighborhood on a high-traffic street).


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Posted by High price to pay
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 2, 2011 at 11:24 am

I understand the desire of parents to give their children the best education possible. But the price they pay is that the child will be indoctrinated with terrible values, terrible guilt, belief in ghosts and in false history.
Many of us spend years overcoming the brainwashing. It's a high price to pay and I am not in favor of subsidizing an institution that does so much harm.


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Posted by JED NEWS
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 2, 2011 at 1:10 pm

>>>> I hope this guy takes his marbles and leaves town. Palo Alto should not enter into agreements with individuals which give these individuals leverage over the city.

This should be clear to all.
- Especially those in govenment.
- - Sadly government ethics and arms length transactions seem to be absent at all levels of goverment.


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Posted by henry
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 2, 2011 at 7:18 pm

The church is getting thousands of dollars per month from AT&T for the cell tower. The church is not a good neighbor. It is selling its soul to AT&T for cash. All the school children from EPA will be exposed to higher radiation level without a say in the matter. AT&T cell service is not essential to the citizen of Palo Alto. Those who want iPhones can get excellent service from another carrier.


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Posted by Local Observer
a resident of Los Altos
on Apr 2, 2011 at 7:36 pm

So, Henry, you'd rather the church get thousands of dollars per month from Verizon and for the school children from EPA to become exposed to Verizon's higher radiation than AT&T's, right?

Do you own stock in Verizon? Did you even bother reading the original article at Palo Alto Online at Web Link ? Are you aware that not everyone uses or even wants an iPhone? I'm still using the cellphone I purchased in 2004 because it serves my purposes well, and as a retired person on a limited budget I see no need to buy a new phone every year.

And, before you ask, I've been using cellphones since 1992 with an account from Cellular One which, over the years, has now become AT&T and I've been very pleased with the service. And I've only had 3 cellphone instruments since 1992 beginning with a Motorola Micro TAC Lite, then a Nokia 6162i, and presently a Motorola RAZR V3.


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Posted by not nimby
a resident of Portola Valley
on Apr 2, 2011 at 7:52 pm

Study after study has shown there to be no foundation for the claims of a health risk from these towers, yet a few litigious people can prevent an entire community from having reliable access to cell phone use.

It's not just in Palo Alto that quasi science is being used to prevent towers. In Portola Valley/Westridge a handful of "nimby" types are preventing AT&T from installing a tower that would enable the rest of us to have good cell phone access.

The cost of fighting numerous law suits objecting to a tower because of its alleged, though unfounded, harmful effects is likely to force AT&T to drop its plans.

I wish those self-righteous tin-pot dictators would study the real facts and science instead of imposing their not-in-my-back-yard wishes on the rest of us.

How can a country such as Japan have extensive cell phone use without harmful side effects if, indeed, the towers are harmful?

I'm willing to bet that most of those who are suing AT&T have cell phones themselves and don't give a darn that their signals are coming from one of those "wicked" towers in someone else's back yard.


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Posted by Eric
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 3, 2011 at 1:27 pm

I hope the City doesn't take AT & T up on their offer of help. AT & T want to place 80 antennas on utility and light poles throughout the City, as per their public meeting at Cubberley a couple of weeks ago. Some residents are objecting to this as a hugely invasive use of City property.

If the City goes ahead and accepts AT & T's offer of help they will be indebted to AT & T and the City will then have to give them access to 80 utility and light poles.

What Stephen Stuart has done may very well backfire on the rest of the City, because we will then be obligated to AT & T.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 3, 2011 at 2:57 pm

Er, doesn't AT &T already have access to utility poles? Or who is it that keeks coming into my yard to climb the pole and trim the trees? Or is it just Comcast who also have access to the pole in my yard?

I wish we could get rid of all the poles and lines in town.


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Posted by Local Net Guy
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Apr 3, 2011 at 10:36 pm

I live down the road from this incident and after reading through the comments I've come to two conclusions:

1. Stuart appears to have done a very good thing for the city for 17 years, but there seems to be more to the story either in terms of a lack of respect for what he did, in someone blowing him off, or perhaps as some commenters have suggested perhaps he is a jerk who decided to exact some revenge on the city by giving them two weeks to re-route their network through another ISP. It seems there is more to this story.

2. AT&T is trying to put in a number of antennas around the city - the one referenced in this story, and then another in the Palo Alto little league field. I suspect these are not the only two. I read of a proposal recently to install a DAS - distributed antenna system throughout the city which would provide lower power, but denser service - it's similar to the systems installed in most major airports. The current antennas are not part of that DAS system. PAO - I would be interesting to get some holistic insight into the plans of AT&T and Verizon to provide coverage in the city.


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Posted by Ian
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 3, 2011 at 11:48 pm

Why might living close to a cell phone mast cause ill health?

You might walk into it.

Get real, folks. All you're doing with this hysteria is making the lawyers rich.


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