News

Court halts construction of cell tower at Little League park

Palo Alto appeals Santa Clara County judge's decision over controversial project

Having failed to sway Palo Alto's boards, commissions and City Council members, opponents of a proposed cell tower at the Little League Ball Park on Middlefield Road are now taking their case to court.

In a complaint that was initially filed in March and amended earlier this week, critics of the cell equipment accuse the city of breaking a variety of state and local laws in approving the Verizon tower at the ballpark near the Mitchell Park Library. The equipment consists of a 65-foot-tall pole that would replace an existing 60-foot-tall pole and that would support three antennas.

While the court is still weighing the case, opponents scored one victory earlier this week when a Santa Clara Superior Court judge granted their request for a preliminary injunction -- an order that prohibits Verizon from performing any work on the site until the issue is resolved. On Monday night, the City Council voted in a closed session to immediately challenge the ruling in the Court of Appeal in the Sixth District.

Judge Carrie Zepeda's order puts a temporary halt to a project that the city approved on Dec. 15 after a series of long and heated public hearings and that Verizon began implementing in April. Issued on June 8, Zepeda's preliminary injunction orders Verizon to "immediately cease and desist from all further excavation, demolition, site preparation or other construction work or similar activities in any way relating to the Verizon cell tower project and from making any further physical change or alteration to the site of the Palo Alto Little League Ball Field (except for reasonable measures to secure the site during the pendency of this injunction, and except for emergency repairs)."

The court battle is the latest chapter in a saga that has pit neighbor against neighbor in the area around the south Palo Alto ballpark. Little League officials and a coalition of residents have rallied behind the Verizon proposal, arguing that improved cell reception is badly needed in the neighborhood. Other residents have argued, equally vehemently, that a ballpark near a residential area is an inappropriate location for cell equipment and claimed that the equipment would pose a health hazard, look unsightly and undermine the historical character of the ballpark.

So far, the challengers have not been able to persuade the city. The city's Historic Resources Board concluded that the ballpark does not in fact constitute a historically significant structure. The Architectural Review Board and Planning and Transportation Commission have each voted to support the Verizon proposal. The council, after hearing the opponents' appeal, issued its approval of the project last December.

Opponents have maintained in their comments and in the lawsuit that, all the hearings notwithstanding, the process has been deeply flawed. They pointed to the design changes that Verizon made in the proposed application and argued the city and the company had "failed to initiate new analysis, or to provide new public notices, or to conduct new public reviews to reflect the on-going, unannounced and unilateral changes." They also maintain in their June 9 filing that the Historic Resources Board acted "arbitrarily and erroneously" in determining that the ballpark is not a historic resource; that the architecture board "denied due process and fair hearings" by receiving additional communication from Verizon; and that the council, by denying the appeal on its consent calendar, failed to provide a fair and impartial public-hearing process.

During the many hearings on the topic, they have also claimed that the tower is too tall for the area. Charlene Liao, who signed a declaration in support of the injunction, argued in front of the Architectural Review Board last year that the light pole "would negatively impact public views from the new Mitchell Park Library and Community Center."

"It would set a dangerous precedent for the city and, as a result, we plead for you to hold it to a very high aesthetic bar," Liao said.

The project's supporters have countered that these arguments are based on fears, rather than facts. Kristen Foss, board president of Palo Alto Little League, told the council in December that the project's opponents had been trying to delay the project with a variety of strategies, from complaining about the lighting from the new pole to attempting to designate the ballpark a historical structure.

"They've been trying anything they can find to try to shut Little League down," Foss said at the council hearing.

Attorney David Lanferman, who is representing the opponents, wrote in the amended petition that the implementation of the project will "cause irreparable and permanent harm to the environment, to petitioners, to the community surrounding the site, and to the public at large."

Zepeda proved somewhat sympathetic to the opponents' concerns about the process, particularly the council's decision to approve the item on the consent calendar, which includes a list of other items that get approved without discussion. She also faulted staff reports for having "compulsory statements rather than factual analysis," which she called "troubling." And even though consent-calendar approvals are routine in Palo Alto, the judge thought in this case the decision not to hold a full council hearing bolstered the opponents' arguments about a "lack of transparency."

"So I feel that there's an abuse of discretion in not having an open hearing, that the process was flawed," Zepeda said, according to the court transcript.

Rick Jarvis, an attorney representing the city, countered that the hearings were completely consistent with the city's process and that the judge's order to halt construction is erroneous. He also noted that Palo Alto is scheduled to host the Little League All Star Tournament on June 27.

"Unless this court intervenes, those coming to see the Little League All Star tournament will be greeted by the eyesore of an unfinished construction site," the appeal states. "What should be a shining moment for Palo Alto will instead be a public embarrassment."

In addition, the judge's order will continue to "deprive Palo Alto residents of adequate wireless service and cause the substantial and wasteful costs inherent in halting a construction project that was in progress with a carefully calibrated schedule," the city argues. Because the cell tower will be very similar to the light pole being replaced, "The project's impact on the neighborhood will be negligible, but the benefit for residents will be huge."

Jarvis argues that the trial court had "misapprehended its role" in granting the injunction and "erred in concluding that petitioners had made an adequate showing of irreparable harm." He also argued that the trial court had "misjudged the balance of hardships."

"As against real parties' non-existent harm and non-existent chances of prevailing on merits, the Little League, Palo Alto residents, and Verizon Wireless will all suffer irreparable harm if this Court does not vacate or at least stay the trial court's preliminary injunction."

Related content:

Wireless facilities meet fuzzy reception in Palo Alto

Cell tower on verge of approval for Little League field

Comments

37 people like this
Posted by Bunyip
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 12, 2015 at 8:01 am

NIMBY's, is there anything worse to progress?

Sounds like the cell tower will also have a rent attached to it, offsetting costs of the ball park. If the council has approved it then move forward. Not 100% of people need to agree on everything. That's why a council of delegates are formed.


53 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 12, 2015 at 8:37 am

Just can't believe this. The neighbors are showing that they are the ones who are poor neighbors, not PALL.

When we get the nickname Shallow Alto, it is for this sort of reason.


54 people like this
Posted by KJ
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jun 12, 2015 at 8:57 am

If these Luddites actually knew how cell towers work, they would welcome more towers since additional towers reduce RF exposure for everyone (both phone users and residents).

The money that Little League is spending on legal bills is money that otherwise would have been spent improving the kids' baseball experience.

I hope these dimwit neighbors are proud of themselves.


17 people like this
Posted by John
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 12, 2015 at 10:03 am

Can Verizon sue for damages against the individuals who are pushing this court challenge? Verizon has the legal firepower to pursue it to the end.


27 people like this
Posted by YES on cell tower
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 12, 2015 at 10:03 am

We need the tower! I switched to Verizon from ATT and am paying double the price! There are more Verizon customers than NIMBY residents!


18 people like this
Posted by EMT tech
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 12, 2015 at 10:13 am

Please get this tower going! Pretty sad if emergency services need cell for voice or data. Verizon service is terrible in this area!


19 people like this
Posted by cell phones are dangerous
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jun 12, 2015 at 10:36 am

I just read that more than 25% of car crashes are caused by drivers using cell phones. Cell phones are dangerous, especially on Middlefield Road where drivers usually drive much faster than the 25mph speed limit despite all the kids walking near library, park, and shopping center. Thank you to these NIMBYs for making our streets safer.


9 people like this
Posted by YES on cell tower
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 12, 2015 at 11:05 am

@cell phones are dangerous: 101N almost always has car crashes these days, no doubt to cell phones, but cell phones are already in our culture and that's not going to change.

Unfortunately, Palo Alto is being invaded by commuters cutting through our city which accounts for much of the speeding.


36 people like this
Posted by JA3+
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 12, 2015 at 11:16 am

"If these Luddites actually knew how cell towers work, they would welcome more towers since additional towers reduce RF exposure for everyone (both phone users and residents)."

+1; spot on


10 people like this
Posted by bill1940
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jun 12, 2015 at 11:27 am

ha ha ! Beautiful decision. I'm tired of the interests of large companies and media freaks dominating the decisions of city councils. Yes, cell phone use by drivers is as dangerous as drunk driving, and yes, there's nothing more disturbing than someone talking on their cell phone during a little league baseball game. What they should establish is a media room (much like smoking rooms) for those who require a fix. This can provide WiFi services.


21 people like this
Posted by Midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 12, 2015 at 11:31 am

Rats! For years I have been telling people, including the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, to call me back on my land line. Or else I walk outside to have a conversation in the driveway. I have Verizon and have the worst cell phone reception in the world. Phone works fine a couple of miles away, say at Peet's in the Charleston Center. I was SO looking forward to not dreading the sound of my cell phone ringing at home.


25 people like this
Posted by Jean
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 12, 2015 at 11:39 am

I live in the area, we're surrounded by AT&T cell 'phone towers, one more isn't going to make any difference. Why didn't these neighbors stop AT&T from installing all their wireless equipment on the lamp posts. What have they got against Verizon or maybe they've got something against Little League which could use the money to maintains their facilities.


12 people like this
Posted by Eileen Wright
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 12, 2015 at 11:42 am

Verizon should crush those upstarts like so many bugs and show the other wannabe impudents what happens to people who get in its way.


26 people like this
Posted by Rational
a resident of Los Altos
on Jun 12, 2015 at 11:52 am

Odd as it may sound, federal law, which preempts state and local law, prohibits consideration of putative health impacts when reviewing a proposed cell tower site. If the judge cited health concerns as one of the reasons for enjoining construction, then her decision is infected with error. She also, unfortunately, does not seem to understand municipal law or, even, the standard for a preliminary injunction. Moreover, that she makes the following statement is unsettling: "'So I feel that there's an abuse of discretion in not having an open hearing, that the process was flawed,' Zepeda said, according to the court transcript." First, feelings should not enter into the decision. Second, she bandies about the term "hearing" in a way that shows that she does not understand the term. That term has special meaning in the municipal context. No "hearing" is required to approve a cell tower, just regular notice and a public vote. Any member of the public could have requested a chance to opine, it would have been pulled from the consent portion of the agenda, and the item would have had a more expanded public airing. Item 19 was the only agenda item for which a hearing was required that evening. In addition, the judge appears never to have seen a CEQA finding. The body voting must make certain findings and there is essentially a template so that all required factors are considered and nothing is missed in the written rendering of the decision. If the opponents want to use technical points then, on those points, the response should be technical. Finally, and to the substance, increasing the size of the pole by 1/12 will have a de minimis impact. What is the real goal of opponents? Is it to shut down a Little League Field that neighbors feel brings noise and traffic to a neighborhood? Did any of the opponents move to the vicinity of the "nuisance" after the field's placement?


10 people like this
Posted by Laughing
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 12, 2015 at 12:03 pm

This article, and the comments, just make me laugh. As usual, the intent is not to inform, it's to stir up controversy so that people who would normally be polite to each other can rip each other up.

These cell tower projects stir up a huge controversy in every residential neighborhood where they are proposed, and this one is no different. The only difference is the host property garners more sympathy. Verizon could locate a few blocks south, in a commercial location (it is a commercial use) and the Verizon customers would get their service.

This controversy is over a commercial tower on a residential property, and has nothing to do with Little League players.

As for the Ball Park, they've done just fine for over 60 years. Shortly after the (lame duck) council rushed through an approval on this tower in December, there was another article about the Ball Park's planned capital project, where they plan to raise $500,000 - $750,000. Web Link


4 people like this
Posted by AlexDeLarge
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 12, 2015 at 12:21 pm

Oy Vey...


4 people like this
Posted by Cell Out
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 12, 2015 at 1:05 pm

Yeah, that is going to be one ugly tower in an otherwise nice, unified and dedicated setting.

Not sure why Little League is in the business of building cell towers. Yeah, they could always use the money, but Little League has survived for years in Palo Alto without the money from cell tower rent and so do other Little Leagues across the country. If it is the money, there are other ways to raise it in a resource rich area like Palo Alto that don't permanently change the character of the ballpark. And note whoever speaks for Little League today, appreciate their good intentions, but it doesn't mean they speak for everyone involved in Little League, nor do they speak for every person who might lead Little League who comes after.

As far as the need for better cell service, totally understandable, but there has to be a better place to locate the cell antennas than the Little League ballpark. How about in the industrial commercial area of Palo Alto (ie by Loral). Since when does it make good planning sense to put naked cell towers directly in residential neighborhoods? But that would require Palo Alto city to be proactive and think about/zone these things vs. being opportunistic reacting to whatever private for profit (ie Verizon) interests think they can get past the City. Not something Palo Alto does well for its citizens - ie see office development as one other glaring example.


22 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 12, 2015 at 1:42 pm

Right beside the Ball Park is an electrical station. Whatever dangers come to the players from this are probably more than a cell tower. Whatever ugliness comes from a tower that is also a light post, are probably less ugly than the electrical station.


12 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 12, 2015 at 1:44 pm

> I just read that more than 25% of car crashes are caused by drivers using cell phones.

There is absolutely no credible data to back up claims like this. Some studies have been done that used mathmatical models to come up with claims that cell phones are involved in crashes reasonably often--but there has never been any validation from actual accident reports.

Most accidents are caused by excessive speed on the part of the drivers, coupled with high alcohol content in the drivers' systems.


2 people like this
Posted by Scholar
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jun 12, 2015 at 2:56 pm

Someone is laughing all the way to the bank.


11 people like this
Posted by Roger
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jun 12, 2015 at 3:21 pm

Remember there is a tower there already, so I am confused.
Well I guess raising the height of the tower by 5 feet will spoil everyone's view, (not sure what the view is of, but ok.)
I am also assuming from the comments that not putting the new tower in will improve driving skills in out fair city.(Always a good thing.)
As for the health risks, wouldn't putting it 5 feet farther away, be a good thing.(just saying)
Personally I think the all the people involved in this suit should have their cell phone service taken away from them, not just by Verizon but by every service provider.(Or maybe just force them to wear tin foil hats.)
Wish I could add the Twilight Zone theme here.


18 people like this
Posted by mutti allen
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 12, 2015 at 4:14 pm

This is all being pushed by about 3 people. A survey (paper and online) of the whole neighborhood was overwhelmingly in favor of the new tower. There is already a 60 ft pole there! Changing it to 65 feet won't make any difference. These people don't like the Little League park. It's occasionally noisy, and makes more traffic in front of their houses -- but they live on Middlefield! It's too bad they found a lawyer willing to take their money and continue their useless fight.


14 people like this
Posted by Ricky
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jun 12, 2015 at 4:59 pm

Mutti allen-From previous articles, we know who the main force behind the opposition is. Their names can be found in local papers. I will not print them here since the editors will remove it.
I suggest we organize a protest in front of their home. They tried every ploy in the book to derail the antenna and hurt the little league. When that did not work they resort to frivolous lawsuits. Rational, above, does a good job in showing that this lawsuit is frivolous and the judge was clueless.


4 people like this
Posted by Play it Again
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01 pm

@mutti Allen said:

"These people don't like the Little League park."

Here's another example of someone trying to make this about kids and baseball instead of a commercial use of a residential property.

Mutti Allen, your post is full of statements, and only meant to vilify people with whom you disagree.

Try to stay on topic and truthful please.


2 people like this
Posted by Play it Again
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 12, 2015 at 5:04 pm

Should say: *erroneous statements


2 people like this
Posted by Real evidence?
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 12, 2015 at 5:06 pm

Play it again--so what was the result of the survey that Mutti Allen refers to.
And is there any REAL scientific evidence that cell phone towers emit deadly radiation?


2 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 12, 2015 at 7:53 pm

"Unless this court intervenes, those coming to see the Little League All Star tournament will be greeted by the eyesore of an unfinished construction site," the appeal states. "What should be a shining moment for Palo Alto will instead be a public embarrassment."

Its baseball for Pete's sake, put a soccer field here so the kids can play a sport where they actually get some exercise.


16 people like this
Posted by KJ
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jun 13, 2015 at 8:20 am

Cell Out wrote:
> there has to be a better place to locate the cell antennas than the Little League ballpark.
> How about in the industrial commercial area of Palo Alto (ie by Loral).
> Since when does it make good planning sense to put naked cell towers directly in residential neighborhoods?

[Portion removed.] People in residential neighborhoods use cell phones.

Cell towers are not like high-power broadcast towers that spew energy. Cell towers and cell phones adjust their output to only use enough power to talk to each other.

If a cell phone in Mitchell Park has to communicate with a tower way over on Fabian, then both the phone and tower increase power to maintain the link, dramatically increasing the RF exposure for the user and every resident between the phone and Fabian. If that cell phone can instead communicate with a nearby power, both the tower and phone decrease their power and RF levels everywhere are reduced.

Considering that cell phones are used in the neighborhood, the neighbors will receive RF exposure REGARDLESS of the Little League tower. The only question is whether the RF is low power from the Little League tower or high power from some distant tower.


20 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 13, 2015 at 9:07 am

Oh Good Grief! Just build the cell tower.


Like this comment
Posted by church properties
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 13, 2015 at 10:49 am

Posted by Cell Out
a resident of Crescent Park
21 hours ago
"Yeah, that is going to be one ugly tower in an otherwise nice, unified and dedicated setting.

Not sure why Little League is in the business of building cell towers. Yeah, they could always use the money, but Little League has survived for years in Palo Alto without the money from cell tower rent and so do other Little Leagues across the country. "

If I'm not mistaken, a TON of churches have cell towers on their property and enjoy receiving rent from these. The Catholic Church is hardly a poor institution.
why's the difference -


5 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jun 13, 2015 at 10:55 am

There's a new cell phone tower behind Starbucks @ Colorado & Middlefield. Apparently, coffee drinkers don't care about cell phone radiation (or are already inundated by enough radiation from all the electronic gadgets that they are always showing off at Starbucks). There's a big apartment building next door and apparently they don't care either.

The primary reason that people oppose cell phone towers is that they are ugly. Health effects are just a smokescreen. Since the Starbucks cell phone tower is built in a parking lot, I'm guessing that people thought the cell phone tower wouldn't make it any uglier.


4 people like this
Posted by Ben
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jun 13, 2015 at 11:47 am

The little league park thinks they are hatching a stream of cash for ever more from that proposed cell tower. There will be a stream of cash, of some sort, but once Verizon drops anchor, as a utility, the ball park will in effect loose control of that patch of land, access to it almost certainly defined by verizon, and verizon may gobble up more land in the future to accommodate expansion, as a utility may need to do. Once verizon is there, there will be nothing the little league park can do to dislodge them. good luck with that deal.


Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 13, 2015 at 11:58 am

Ben,

My understanding is that Palo Alto Little League has a ten year contract with Verizon, with an option to extend for another ten years. In other words, PALL controls the contract(s). Do you have other information?


Like this comment
Posted by Laughing
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 13, 2015 at 2:52 pm

When the 10 years is up, and the next group of parents doesn't want the cell tower anymore, who's going to pay to remove it and all of the equipment, equipment buildings, and cabling that have become a permanent fixture in the "park?"

Won't be Verizon.


28 people like this
Posted by CeCi Kettendorf
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 14, 2015 at 8:21 am

The cell tower must be placed where planned so that the many households without reception will be within reach of the signal; placing it further away, as suggested, will mean those of us in the dead zone will still not have service.
The survey referred to was circulated by the AMNA online and door to door, to the three hundred households within AMNA, although far more households will benefit from the tower. The survey was overwhelmingly in favor.
I am a Stanford critical care nurse. Most hospital emergency admissions are summoned by cell phone, a safety advantage not afforded those of us in south Palo Alto who are in the dead zone. My 87 year old neighbor summoned help when she fell in her yard only because of her cell phone; had she been inside her home where the service fails, she would have lay there for hours or days with tragic end.
I have been extremely upset that my name and my neighbors' names have been included on the petition against the tower. All we ever signed was an informational sign-in sheet six years ago. That petition is a cut and paste of bogus signatures or that of persons who do not really live in south Palo Alto. Shame on the City for allowing the submission of a fraudulent document into our public record.
Six years of exhaustive scrutiny, hearings, modifications, input from all experts and all stakeholders is enough. The eight legitimate stakeholders in opposition should not be able to stymie the greater need of the 650 households, six schools, one elder care facility, seven churches, one public shopping center, five playing fields, the new library center and two parks which would benefit by the safety of reliable cell phone access to medical care.


17 people like this
Posted by Eichler all Over Again
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 14, 2015 at 8:54 am

This is the Eichler Swim and Tennis Club all over again.

When two neighbors complained, (petitions saying that kids at Palo Verde would get brain cancer...not kidding here...) ATT pulled the permit for installing a single tower at the club on a small footprint and matching the existing trees.

One or two neighbors made it their quest from GOD to stop the tower. The tower would have resulted in the Club getting small rent payments and would have sped the reconstruction/renovation of the club. It was a win win.

Instead of having one tower, ATT installed a swarm of "micro cells" on utility poles all over south Palo Alto. The "mini cells" are those brown buckets on top of utility poles that hum like crazy.

So...lets recap...a very few very passionate anti-cell advocates, using scare tactics without sound scientific basis have delayed a useful public utility.

Don't be surprised if Verizon installs 50 small mini-cells all over the neighborhood to take the place of the one useful tower.

The City got it right here. The Court got it wrong...and once all the lawyers get done the decision will be overturned. The only real question here is can Verizon wait until the ruling is overturned or will it just throw in the towel and install a swarm of micro cells.


2 people like this
Posted by Larry
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 14, 2015 at 9:57 am

There is already what looks like a cell tower in the parking lot behind the Achievekids facility, about 600 feet away from the proposed PALL tower. It is adjacent to the Mitchell Park tennis courts, about 300 feet north of the new Magical Bridge playground. Does anyone know if it is indeed a cell tower and if it is active? Maybe that would be a more appropriate spot for the new tower.


2 people like this
Posted by Newcomer
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 14, 2015 at 10:24 am

>The survey referred to was circulated by the AMNA online and door to door

The leaders of Adobe-Meadow association, unlike most neighborhood associations, have been characterized as being business oriented. So the enthusiastic support of Verizon is not exactly surprising. when was survey done?
I'd be curious about the question that was asked. If the question was Are you in favor of saving lives and making life easier for old people, of course people said yes.


19 people like this
Posted by CeCi Kettendorf
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 14, 2015 at 12:59 pm

To Newcomer:
The survey which was circulated did not ask only a single question. It was four pages in length and asked many questions, none with a business slant. Numerous members reviewed it and approved it before circulation. If you are interested in seeing the survey, give me your address and I will deliver a copy to you. You may contact any of the officers of AMNA to review the survey. I can notify the webmaster that you are interested. If you have been in the neighborhood for a while, you received a hand delivered survey.
The survey did not include, as you query, a question about "saving lives and making life easier for old people." However, you have neighbors in AMNA of all ages who are hopeful of having reliable access to the protection of emergency medical services and of having the capability of communication with family and government officials in the event of a disaster.
I am sad that you are scornful of "making life easier for old people." My hope for you is that you are fortunate enough in life to reach the status of elderly. As a nurse, I can tell you it is gift denied to many.

















2 people like this
Posted by Kazu
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 14, 2015 at 3:06 pm

@Play it Again wrote:

"Mutti Allen, your post is full of statements, and only meant to vilify people with whom you disagree.

Try to stay on topic and truthful please."

There is so much irony in that statement it is starting to rust.


Like this comment
Posted by Be Kind PA
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Jun 14, 2015 at 11:35 pm

Be Kind PA is a registered user.

I am breaking up my comments since otherwise my post would be ridiculously long. This way people can more easily read what they are interested in.

@Ceci Kettendorf:

Your 87 year-old neighbor would be far safer carrying a wireless handset on her landline in her pocket, and be assured of MUCH greater security, especially in the case of a large-scale disaster like an earthquake, where cellular connections are far more likely to fail than landlines. Also, if she had an emergency and could not speak, her landline would be immediately traceable by 911 operators while her cell phone would only be traceable to the nearest cell tower (300 yard proximity). Have you told her that?

Look it up - even cell carriers will tell you to NOT eliminate your landline.


Like this comment
Posted by Be Kind PA
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Jun 14, 2015 at 11:42 pm

Be Kind PA is a registered user.

@Ceci Kettendorf:

>> I am a Stanford critical care nurse. Most hospital emergency admissions are summoned by cell phone...

Since you are one of the Adobe-Meadow "insiders," I have to ask: Are you the person who answers the phone at the hospital and records whether emergency calls come from cell phones or land lines? Actually, wouldn't emergency calls go to 911, not to the hospital?

How do you know that "most hospital emergency admissions are summoned by cell phone?" Please exclude emergency responder cell phones, as they have a dedicated network that does not rely on public cell towers (where bandwidth is shared with people streaming movies to their devices - you really want to complete with that for emergency services?)

I wouldn't ask, except you have put yourself out here as an expert.


Like this comment
Posted by Be Kind PA
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Jun 14, 2015 at 11:45 pm

Be Kind PA is a registered user.

@Eichler all over again:

I think your description of the Eichler cell tower controversy is very one-sided (to put it politely), but yes, the Eichler cell tower was also very controversial in the neighborhood (and within the Eichler Club membership), as are all cell towers in residential areas. Maybe it's the real estate disclosure requirement, in addition to the commercial ugliness in a residential neighborhood?


10 people like this
Posted by Slow Down
a resident of Community Center
on Jun 15, 2015 at 12:49 am

Slow Down is a registered user.

@Be Kind PA - Methods varies by carrier and phone, but all cellphone 911 calls will transmit your location information, not the tower location. With a relatively new phone and Verizon, a 911 call will use GPS to send your location.


2 people like this
Posted by Be Kind PA
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Jun 15, 2015 at 1:11 am

Be Kind PA is a registered user.

@Slow Down,

I think you are incorrect. Standard 911 operators are not tied into GPS locators, and there is no variance by cellular carrier or cellular phone model from a 911 perspective. 911 operators only access the phone system, not GPS locators, to my knowledge. Landlines provide exact addresses via the registered and dedicated locations, cell phones can only provide the address of the nearest tower which supported the phone call. This is well documented, but if you have more recent sources please share.

Please ensure you are not misleading people into believing their cell phones represent more safety than they actually do.


14 people like this
Posted by rick
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 15, 2015 at 5:07 am

rick is a registered user.

@Be Kind, the nearest tower location was Phase 1 of "E911" (enhanced 911). We're supposed to be well into Phase 2 by now, which reports a better location by triangulating between towers or using the phone's GPS. But still only something like 1000-foot accuracy is required 95% of the time. Verizon's website has a FAQ page that says they can do 50 to 150 meters, depending on terrain, weather, and other environmental factors. Here's an exercise for GPS aficionados: check how long it takes to acquire your location on a street lined with one-story buildings. Then try between some 50-footers with no set-back. Fortunately the wireless carriers have figured out how to fingerprint a built-up area and determine a caller's location based on all the weird reflections, in theory. As for calls placed from indoors, Verizon says they are still working on it.


18 people like this
Posted by connie kettendorf
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 16, 2015 at 3:57 pm

connie kettendorf is a registered user.

To Be Kind PA: You asked of me, "How do you know 'most hospital emergency admissions are summoned by cell phones?'"
I know for two reasons: 1) It is documented that the majority of emergency calls now originate with cell phones. 60% cell phone/ 40% landline. The information is freely available.
2) I take report from first responders or the receiving team of nurses and doctors. In hand off, we relay the who, what, where and when of the initial call which summoned help. It is important to establish the time line of events, especially if the emergency is an MI or stroke, since the time of the event may determine care. We need to know if the caller called immediately or ran or drove for help. Yes, landlines are used for home emergencies but many emergencies, especially traumas, happen away from home. The details of the emergency call are also recorded in the electronic patient chart, so I can read days later the event which brought the patient to my care. The callers are interviewed when they arrive at the bedside so we know for certain we have accurate information. Yes,Sir,I do know when a cell phone was used. I stand by what I said.
Cell phones are a priceless tool for us in another way! When a patient is incapacitated, we use the emergency contacts in his cell phone to notify family of the patient's admission, to identify the patient if he is a John Doe, and to ask for medical history. What a gift a cell phone is in an emergency! .....truly life saving!
Please know that some emergency calls are made directly to the hospital or the Emergency Department, not 911. Children and teens often will call their parents rather than 911, using their cell phones to do so; many elderly call their adult children rather than calling 911. ( My neighbor called me, not 911.) So a number of emergency calls are relays.
You said that I must be an AMNA insider. Well, I became involved in this when I was shown my signature on a petition submitted into the public record, a petition against the tower. I never signed a petition of any sort. I signed an informational sheet over five years ago. The opponents slapped my name, my husband's and neighbors' names onto their bogus document. I ponder the ethics of the latter......


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Posted by Be Kind PA
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Jun 16, 2015 at 9:29 pm

Be Kind PA is a registered user.

CeCi/Connie:

Thanks for clearing that up. Note that the number of calls that come from cell phones doesn't mean they couldn't just as easily come from landlines. Meaning, your anecdotal experience is not the same as valid, unbiased research.

Regarding your comment, "Well, I became involved in this when I was shown my signature on a petition submitted into the public record, a petition against the tower," who showed it to you? Is it public record somewhere?

I have nothing to do with the lawsuit, so I'm interested to know where I can find this information.

Thank you!


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Posted by connie kettendorf
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 17, 2015 at 4:48 pm

connie kettendorf is a registered user.

@BE KIND PA:

The data pertaining to cell phone use vs. landline use has been collected across the country when reviewing emergency calls. It is easily mined on the internet. Cell phones are used 60% of the time to call for medical aid.

I don't consider my experience to be merely anecdotal. It is universal to critical care providers.

If you would like to see the petition submitted to the Palo Alto Council Members, it is in the packet pertaining to the Cell Tower hearings. I obtained a copy after it was pointed out to me that my signature was on it. I am sure someone at Town Hall can help you, or you can pull it up on the internet.
Hope this helps!


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