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Guest Opinion: 5G cell towers are coming to your neighborhood

Original post made on May 15, 2020

Palo Alto neighborhoods may about to experience a significant increase in the number of cell towers along their streets, which could threaten aesthetics, safety, noise levels and property valuations.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, May 15, 2020, 6:45 AM

Comments (84)

18 people like this
Posted by Millennial 5G FAN
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on May 15, 2020 at 8:59 am

This is progress as the 5G bandwidth will open up many opportunities for cell phone usage!

quote: "I think these could threaten aesthetics, safety, noise levels and property valuations."

^^^ (1) The cell phone towers are situated above normal eye level...just don't look upwards if aesthetics are an important issue. (2) Only the tin foil hat mentalities are concerned about cell phone 'radiation'...the cell towers will be significantly sdistanced & many folks use bluetooth to avoid any 'radiation' from their personal phones (in addition to hands-free operation). (3) Cell towers generate no more noise than a plane flying overhead (or automobile traffic). (4) Property values? Give me a break...your PA house is already overpriced & overinflated. Besides if this is a major concern, there is a possible 'gift'...less capital gains tax to pay when you eventually sell.

I suspect that this 5G issue is primarily a babyboomer concern (if at all) because many of them are obsessively concerned with various monetary & real estate investments/valuations, the preservation of eternal youth (a delusion of sorts), and NIMBY advocacies.

For some of them, it is time to join and/or acknowledge the new millennium as advances in technology waits for no one.

Hint: the 2000s are already 20 years old!


16 people like this
Posted by No-Problem-With-5G
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 15, 2020 at 9:14 am

Wonder how long it will take the Palo Alto Luddites to claim that the Coronavirus is linked to 5G towers like their friends in the UK:

Conspiracy theorists burn 5G towers claiming link to virus:
Web Link

LONDON (AP) — The CCTV footage from a Dutch business park shows a man in a black cap pouring the contents of a white container at the base of a cellular radio tower. Flames burst out as the man jogs back to his Toyota to flee into the evening.

It’s a scene that’s been repeated dozens of times in recent weeks in Europe, where conspiracy theories linking new 5G mobile networks and the coronavirus pandemic are fueling arson attacks on cell towers.
---

Progress always seems to have an uphill journey when it comes to places like Palo Alto.


23 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Evergreen Park
on May 15, 2020 at 9:14 am

This proposal doesn't go far enough. If the radio wavelengths used by 5G are potentially harmful, then we shouldn't just have piecemeal bans on this or that technology of the moment; let's solve the problem at its source and ban radio waves from Palo Alto altogether.

I live in an apartment building with over a dozen wifi access points in range; ban them all. Ban the smartphone I used to detect them. Ban the microwave oven that sometimes interferes with my connection to them. The Palo Alto Airport relies on this new and unproven technology to track planes; shut down the airport unless it can ensure our safety by relying solely on semaphore. But speaking of airspace, unfortunately our fair city does not have the legal authority to shut down those pesky satellites and unsightly radio towers that constantly bathe us in potentially deadly radiation. There is only one realistic solution: we need to build a dome over Palo Alto. The material needs to be something that blocks these radio toxins from entering but is lightweight and esthetically pleasing. How about tinfoil?


14 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Midtown
on May 15, 2020 at 10:02 am

We can't wait. There are so many trees in our neighborhood blocking the cell phone signals. 5G is supposed to do a much better job in areas like this.


27 people like this
Posted by Tin foil
a resident of Downtown North
on May 15, 2020 at 10:20 am

Physicians for Safe Technology is a group that is opposed to 5G.

Also read this
Web Link


15 people like this
Posted by Asher Waldfogel
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 15, 2020 at 10:36 am

NYTimes and others have reported that 5G worries are stoked by Russian propaganda Web Link

The one place I agree with the guest opinion is on sound levels: we should explore if we can require WCFs to emit no fan noise. It probably makes the equipment larger to dissipate heat; is that a tradeoff we're open to?


53 people like this
Posted by A PA resident
a resident of South of Midtown
on May 15, 2020 at 11:04 am

I want to challenge the crowd that supports these ugly, noisy, potentially dangerous, cell towers: Would you be willing to have one of these installed 20 feet away from your bedroom? Raise your hand....


19 people like this
Posted by Really
a resident of Evergreen Park
on May 15, 2020 at 11:06 am

"Just don't look upwards IF aesthetics is a concern". OMG - let's ruin the beauty of Palo Alto and just walk around with blinders on. It'll all be good.


14 people like this
Posted by pakin
a resident of Barron Park
on May 15, 2020 at 11:15 am

How does the council come up with 60 decibels?
If there are different types of WCFs with higher/lower noise levels,
why not mandate the quietest available to be used?


6 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 15, 2020 at 11:34 am

We have ugly wires all over Palo Alto. Some have ugly poles in their property. We all have microwaves, wifi, in our homes.

This is Silicon Valley. Home of low technology that ignores the engineering done by its residents.


21 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 15, 2020 at 11:36 am

Some of these units are definitely annoyingly noisy. If 45 dBA is available, mandate that as a maximum, but, honestly, they should be silent. These things should only be a few watts anyway-- why do they need fans and/or transformers. Fanless PCs that use a few watts are available with silent power supplies.


17 people like this
Posted by Conerned
a resident of another community
on May 15, 2020 at 12:07 pm

I am already very concerned about this technology. It should not be allowed. WiFi makes me sick to my stomach, gives me headaches, burns the skin. (One can research this on line) 5G will be much worse for those who suffer from these technologies. Watch out, folks. Mental illness, cancers, and much more are coming because of these. /And then it will be too late.


24 people like this
Posted by As usual, the telecom company trolls are sneering at everything the author says
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on May 15, 2020 at 12:27 pm

[Post removed.]


32 people like this
Posted by Chris Robell
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 15, 2020 at 12:37 pm

Here we go again. NO ONE can definitely say the 5G towers are safe. Ana Eshoo and Richard Blumenthal have put forth legislation to compel appropriate testing. Blumenthal, after listening to industry experts, concluded "we are flying blind". I don't know if it's safe and neither does Verizon et al. They only say there are no KNOWN risks.

So prudent avoidance seems wise in a way that STILL allows the technology to be deployed. It is not "yes" or "no" (no false dichotomies or sucker's choice needed). The cell towers can be placed AWAY from homes with appropriate setbacks and fans installed underground to prevent noise. It might be more expensive to put it underground, but that is not our problem to solve.

Finally, it would be nice to eventually have all utilities underground someday. I realize this isn't our biggest problem right now, but it is the direction we should strive for someday. Look at areas in Palo Alto that have this now (Midtown near Oregon Expwy) and throughout Atherton and Stanford faculty housing. Much more beautiful.

So don't need to pander to the cheapest, ugliest and potentially risky way that the telecom companies want us to do it.


15 people like this
Posted by Elon Musk's Radiation
a resident of Downtown North
on May 15, 2020 at 12:48 pm

First of all, for Palo Alto the 100 foot distance is vital.

Next, it is also important to speak about a related issue ...

According to ChildrensDefense.org, no evaluation from any national or international agency has been carried out to evaluate, reduce, prevent, or publicize the environmental impact of the satellites’ emissions.ChildrensDefense states, “The FCC has never assessed the impact of radiation emissions from 50,000 satellites or any other existing and potential adverse environmental effects. The likely reason is that the FCC interprets its obligations as only requiring assessment of terrestrial activities and devices due to legal language specifying that its focus on structures defined as a “pole, tower, base station, or other building”—with no explicit mention of satellites.” via Web Link


7 people like this
Posted by PA
a resident of Downtown North
on May 15, 2020 at 2:27 pm

5G is [portion removed] a health Hazard. See the Newslettercovering the dangers; it contains links to important videos.

1) Widman Video at SF City Hall
Web Link

2) Comprehensive Newsletter
[link removed because it doesn't work.]


37 people like this
Posted by JR
a resident of Palo Verde
on May 15, 2020 at 2:43 pm

Why are billion dollar corporations allowed to place their unsightly equipment on public property? If they want to place 5G equipment in the city then they should acquire the underlying property first. They should not be allowed to profit from abuse of public property.

While small businesses are suffering, we are giving handouts to billion dollar telecom companies. It’s sad.


15 people like this
Posted by Mandate 45
a resident of Community Center
on May 15, 2020 at 2:49 pm


“No-exception maximum 45-decibel noise levels from all WCFs.”

Thanks for the heads up 45 is about the noise at night in Palo Alto or 40.

60 would be very noticeable in a Palo Alto residential neighborhood, 60 is for a NYC not a small town.


7 people like this
Posted by No-Problem-With-5G
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 15, 2020 at 3:43 pm

A lot of people seem concerned about the safety of people living in the footprint of 5G.

So – what about other technologies?

For 2016 specifically, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data shows 37,461 people were killed in 34,436 motor vehicle crashes, an average of 102 per day
----

More than 67,300 Americans died from drug-involved overdose in 2018, including illicit drugs and prescription opioids. T Drug overdose deaths rose from 38,329 in 2010 to 70,237 in 2017; followed by a significant decrease in 2018 to 67,367 deaths. The bars are overlaid by lines showing the number of deaths by gender from 1999 to 2018 (Source: CDC WONDER).
----
How many Americans die in plane crashes?

Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Archives (B3A)
Year Deaths # of incidents
2014 1,328 122
2015 898 123
2016 629 102
2017 399 101
---

How many people have been killed by 5G?

So far—None (0)

So .. if being safe is an issue to so many Palo Altans opposing 5G—why aren’t these same people more concerned about the deaths from drugs, autos and planes?


3 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 15, 2020 at 4:10 pm

Posted by Mandate 45, a resident of Community Center

>> “No-exception maximum 45-decibel noise levels from all WCFs.”

>> Thanks for the heads up 45 is about the noise at night in Palo Alto or 40.

Although 45 dBA would be OK, I still don't know why these things aren't effectively silent. I'm in an indoor room right now and 25-30 dBA is the range (there are birds outside).

My cell phone is effectively silent (no fan of course). A small PC is silent (no fan). A small urban cell tower is supposed to be < 100W ERP, which is actually < 10W input. No reason the amp should need a fan or noisy power supply for that. Anybody know if/why these things can't be effectively silent?

(I guess that huge tree-tower over by the Arastradero underpass to I-280 is a "rural" tower but even that is supposed to be less than 500W ERP ~== 50W, still not that hot.)

Here is a link to an FCC info page: Web Link

That page talks about human exposure to RF, not noise. (Of course.)


36 people like this
Posted by Richard
a resident of Downtown North
on May 15, 2020 at 4:40 pm

We don't have to choose between good cell service and ugly, noisy, massive "small cell node" cell towers right next to our homes.

Telecom companies can easily locate most of their equipment underground, or, at the very least, top-mount very compact radios. It just costs them more. As for maintaining a 100 foot setback from cell towers to people's homes, it's easily accomplished. Again, it just means Verizon et al. need to spend a little more money siting and designing their equipment.

Is there some reason Palo Altans should sacrifice the quality of life in their neighborhoods for the benefit of telecom company shareholders?


40 people like this
Posted by Ryan C.
a resident of College Terrace
on May 15, 2020 at 5:04 pm

I think Richard has nailed it. Telecom companies like to pretend that the conflict over the siting and design of cell towers is between "Luddites" (their favorite insult) and hip millennials who "get" why 5G is so cool. It isn't. The conflict is between municipalities protecting the quality of life in their neighborhoods and telecom companies that want to install their equipment as cheaply and quickly as possible.




18 people like this
Posted by Marc
a resident of Midtown
on May 15, 2020 at 5:40 pm

There is a simple solution, let the celll phone companies buy homes scattered around Palo Alto and put the equipment on that property.

/marc


30 people like this
Posted by Midtown Dad
a resident of Midtown
on May 15, 2020 at 7:13 pm

No one can guarantee that 5G is safe so I shouldn’t be forced to be part of some experiment when a I never gave my consent. We must push for a minimum 200 foot setback from residences and 1600 feet setback from schools like our neighboring city of Los Altos.


27 people like this
Posted by KCPA
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 15, 2020 at 7:48 pm

There is a middle ground here and it doesn't have to be only 20 feet from someone's bedroom. Twenty feet is only 3-4 feet longer than the average car. How can that be an acceptable distance for a cell tower from a home? Palo Alto isn't allowing towers within 500-1000 feet from a school, so why would they allow it to be only 20 feet from a child's home where s/he spends majority of their time? It's ridiculous.

As an example, there is currently a telephone pole that is 20 feet away from my 2 boys' second story bedroom window. Mrs. Alison Cormack has been to my house herself and can attest to how close and inappropriate it is for 2 young children (ages 4 and 1) to grow up in a house where there will be potentially harmful and noisy cell boxes installed directly outside their bedroom windows. They will be sleeping in these rooms for the next 15-18 years of their lives. Aside from potentially harmful EMF exposure, these cell towers do make a consistent humming noise. In the summer, a lot of families have to open the window to stay cool and will not be able to "avoid the noise" made by these towers. Please do not make their home unhealthy and noisy for our children and our families. Let's please be reasonable and make our children's quality of life and health a first priority! And if you disagree, then I challenge you to raise your hand to volunteer to have a 5G cell box installed next to your bedroom. [Portion removed.]


15 people like this
Posted by Jimmy Dawson
a resident of Midtown
on May 15, 2020 at 10:58 pm

[Post removed.]

So the same people that were against 3G, LTE and WiFi are now complaining about 5G, while they work from home during Covid-19 and connect to the Internet to support their income using one of the aforementioned wireless protocols.

Delivery of DoorDash, UberEats, Amazon, PurpleTie and on and on relies on a wireless infrastructure.


So go ahead and put a foil hat over Palo Alto, but when you’re walking down the street using a Thomas Guide for orientation, and you can’t find Circuit City or BlockBuster, don’t come on here and whine.


28 people like this
Posted by Katie
a resident of Barron Park
on May 16, 2020 at 12:48 am

The people who are making fun of others for their concerns do not understand the scientific evidence and are ignoring well-researched opinions from many respected organizations. These organizations have no financial incentive to raise alarms about wireless exposures (unlike the wireless providers who have everything to gain by pretending the concerns do not exist). Look at these links:

CA Department of Public Health - provides guidelines for safer cell phone use: Web Link

Environmental Working Group - they have their own guidelines and are petitioning the FCC to listen to the science and establish better exposure limits: Web Link

American Academy of Pediatrics - has their own warnings for kids: Web Link


30 people like this
Posted by Katie
a resident of Barron Park
on May 16, 2020 at 12:48 am

These are just a few examples illustrating real concerns, not to mention the US government NIH study that found that cellular frequencies cause cancer in rats (Web Link). In a drug trial, such a finding would discontinue further development of that drug.

The wireless industry is not regulated by any health agency and the Chicago Tribune found that many phones sold on the market actually exceeded the legal limit of radiation allowed by the FCC:
Web Link

The City of Berkeley requires radiation warnings posted on all cell phones sold: Web Link

Let's use common sense, also known as the precautionary principle, to protect our children. Our PAUSD school board voted unanimously to uphold the precautionary principle and request 1500 ft setbacks of cell towers from schools - the unknown risks to our kids are too great. No one is saying to ban wireless all together - it's just that there are safer alternatives with wiser design and placement of cell towers, and education to teach people about safer use of wireless devices and alternatives like ethernet and fiber lines. Putting in hundreds of additional towers in Palo Alto 20 ft from people's bedrooms so that others can stream videos while driving in their cars seems unwise until safety studies can be conducted and new health standards can be put in place.


19 people like this
Posted by Alex
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 16, 2020 at 10:40 am

I see that many comments here look as a coordinated attack – similar talking points, attacking personal views of the people that care the city’s well being. And instead of providing scientific evidence that supposedly should show threat from 5G isn’t real, they link to some newspaper articles that again make fun of people rather than providing any scientific findings. It’s not science, it’s just bad journalism.

Let’s keep it simple, post here links to the research that shows that kids who live with 100ft from the cell towers don’t have long term health effects, like 5-10 years span, And especially right now when we all locked in our houses, means we’ll 24/7 with 100ft of that towers. I don’t know how can anybody could think it’s a good idea. Unless they get financial gains from the arrangement.


22 people like this
Posted by Taylor
a resident of Professorville
on May 16, 2020 at 3:07 pm

After a lot of work by City Council, the Architectural Review Board and residents, Palo Alto now has a pretty good policy for the design and siting of cell towers—pretty good, that is, except for the crazy provision that allows a telecom company to install a cell tower as close as twenty feet to a home. As someone else pointed out, that's about the length of a good sized car. How can that make sense? Let’s get some real “ social distancing” between families and these noisy high voltage eyesores.


11 people like this
Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 16, 2020 at 3:08 pm

[Portion removed.]

You would think that as educated as we are in Palo Alto, we would be better than those crazies in the UK burning down 5G towers thinking they cause COVID-19.

I guess Russian and Chinese trolls can hit Palo Alto Online too.

(Small hint - just because you read it on the internet doesn't make it true. And linking to cherry picked studies doesn't prove the science either. But you are supposed to be educated to know that already, right?)

"There is a simple solution, let the celll phone companies buy homes scattered around Palo Alto and put the equipment on that property. "

Hey, good idea. Works for Stanford in College Terrace.


33 people like this
Posted by Old Palo Alto Resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 16, 2020 at 4:32 pm

I'm scheduled to have one of these installed at the end of my short driveway in Old Palo Alto. These are ugly, noisy, and potentially harmful. For those who think that I am a Luddite or am wearing a tinfoil hat, please provide your address to the council and allow the tower outside of your home. These are noisy. I have young children and don't want this right outside their window. Let's do the right thing and keep the towers a minimum of 100 feet from homes. It's what other cities are doing. It's the right thing to do. We all want the best service. But, the Telecoms work for US; not the other way around. They can work with siting and place the noisy fans underground. Don't accept the cheapest, most expedient thing for the Telecoms. Let's do this thing right.


Like this comment
Posted by PA
a resident of Downtown North
on May 16, 2020 at 4:53 pm

SF Newsletter regarding Dangers of 5G antennas

Web Link


6 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 16, 2020 at 4:56 pm

Posted by Old Palo Alto Resident, a resident of Old Palo Alto

>> I'm scheduled to have one of these installed at the end of my short driveway in Old Palo Alto. These are ugly, noisy, and potentially harmful.

Some of them are actually quite very ugly and noisy. Others very unobtrusive. How does someone find out what "they" (who?) have scheduled for installation?


19 people like this
Posted by RKD
a resident of Midtown
on May 16, 2020 at 5:13 pm

A note to Me 2, Jimmie Dawson, Tin Foil, Millennial and several others: I believe it was Rousseau who said “Insults are the arguments employed by those who are in the wrong.”

I’d like to add my voice to those of all of you who are calling for sensible siting and design requirements for cell towers, requirements that recognize that we all want good cell service, but recognize as well that we all care about the quality of life in our community. A 20 foot setback for cell towers from homes? That’s indefensible. (And I notice that Me 2 et al. don’t even try to defend it.)


27 people like this
Posted by Concerned Mom
a resident of College Terrace
on May 16, 2020 at 5:22 pm

I'm going to write to our City Council. The fact that Palo Alto may be about to license cell towers as close as 20 feet from my home and emitting noise as loud as a busy restaurant is not what I want. I am the mother of two children living in a small house on a small lot and having a 5G cell tower this close to my home worries me about its effects on my children and my husband and me. I also resent the fact that the noise from the cell towers at 60 decibels would make eating out and playing in our yard less fun because of the constant noise.Big companies should not be able to victimize hard working home owners.And if our School board has asked for these cell towers to be 1500 feet from our schools,that's what we should demand too.


10 people like this
Posted by Resident of Old Palo Alto
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 16, 2020 at 6:10 pm

Anon—
I know that “they” are scheduled to install a cell tower at the end of my driveway because a notice was affixed to the telephone pole there.


1 person likes this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on May 16, 2020 at 6:11 pm

Is 60 decibels any noisier than the neighbor's air conditioner?


3 people like this
Posted by Tin foil
a resident of Downtown North
on May 16, 2020 at 6:38 pm

RKD- perhaps you should read my post again. I mentioned a fact about the group the assisted with this piece and I posted a link to an article about 5G.no insults at all.
Did Rousseau mention anything about people who do not read carefully?


Like this comment
Posted by David
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 16, 2020 at 7:42 pm

[Post removed.]


5 people like this
Posted by mandate 45
a resident of Community Center
on May 16, 2020 at 7:57 pm

musical

"Is 60 decibels any noisier than the neighbor's air conditioner?"

You should know better, hardly any neighbors in Palo Alto have air conditioners. This isn't a Las Vegas strip. And if "the neighbor" has an air conditioner, it's probably recent models which are in the 50's. And they won't be using the AC year around. So that already is much less noise.

FYI 70 dB is super loud
60 dB is less annoying but still like one of those airplanes buzzing around
50 dB is quieter (like a conversation indoors)

Which do you prefer running on your block at night when ambient is 40 or less?

Once you go 10 dB above ambient it's bad.

Mandat3 45



16 people like this
Posted by RKD
a resident of Midtown
on May 16, 2020 at 8:59 pm

Dear Tin Foil,

Am I mistaken that your choice of “Tin Foil“ as a nom de Weekly was intended as an insult to residents with whom you disagree?

As for your characterization of Physicians For Safe Technology as “anti-5G”, are you suggesting that an organization that takes a position contrary to that of Verizon et al—i.e., to that of the folks SELLING 5G—is somehow definitionally suspect?

I would ask you, respectfully, to consider the source of your information.

RKD




8 people like this
Posted by Millennial 5G FAN
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on May 17, 2020 at 10:39 am

In lieu of progressive 5G enhancements, I imagine some of the more concerned folks could consider going back to using the 10 meter bandwidth via CB radios as many did in the 1970s.

Instead of cellphones, people could simply carry around walkie-talkies & install two-way radios in their SUVs with those long antennas.

In lieu of seasonal 'skip conditions', long distance communications might pose a problem but it would be far safer than relying on anything related to 5G.

The personal sacrifices would include...no texting, gaming, and/or social media outlets with a CB radio BUT there would also be no need for any additional safety measures or unfounded precautions.

Lastly...with the absence of any new 5G cell towers, Palo Alto would remain the beautiful and aesthetic city that it is today (with all of its recent development).


12 people like this
Posted by Hacky 5G Antenna Solutions
a resident of Barron Park
on May 17, 2020 at 11:56 am

5G certainly has its benefits - but folks like "Millennial 5G FAN" that support 5G only considers the benefits but not the infrastructure cost that's layered on top of current wireless technologies. It is true that 5G has not been tested and there are real gaps in FEC's guidance on what's considered safe, and we're lagging severely behind european countries. But my qualm is that the current proposals by telecoms are really a hack - they're just slapping the antenna & the heat intolerant batteries/loud heat dissipation fans/etc on anywhere that's "cheap" and "fast". Thus, telephone poles that is already heavily ladened with power lines, and has proven to be the cause in recent fires when the fans fail.

There are real elegant solutions that doesn't decrease the value of our living space by being a bandaid solution that is unsafe. Under grounding the unsafe & loud equipment is a more expensive solution for telecoms but a solution that we, residences that care about where we live, prefer. But instead of finding appropriate solutions to fit the needs of the neighbors, they are ramming a hacked solution down our throats.

In addition, the locations telecom choose for antennas are not contextualized to the neighborhood, they're only looking at it from a cost / coverage perspective. For something so intrusive and potentially blanketing a neighborhood, the fact they're not voluntarily considering a 100ft setback from homes is demonstrating a lack of respect for residences and neighborhood needs. The corporate solutions architects are only looking at a 2D map from their offices (or homes).


14 people like this
Posted by Hacky 5G Antenna Solutions
a resident of Barron Park
on May 17, 2020 at 11:59 am

5G certainly has its benefits - but folks like "Millennial 5G FAN" that support 5G only considers the benefits but not the infrastructure cost that's layered on top of current wireless technologies. My qualm is that the current proposals by telecoms are really a hack - they're just slapping the antenna & the heat intolerant batteries/loud heat dissipation fans/etc on anywhere that's "cheap" and "fast". Thus, telephone poles that is already heavily ladened with power lines, and has proven to be the cause in recent fires when the fans fail.

There are real elegant solutions that doesn't decrease the value of our living space by being a bandaid solution that is unsafe. Under grounding the unsafe & loud equipment is a more expensive solution for telecoms but a solution that we, residences that care about where we live, prefer. But instead of finding appropriate solutions to fit the needs of the neighbors, they are ramming a hacked solution down our throats.

In addition, the locations telecom choose for antennas are not contextualized to the neighborhood, they're only looking at it from a cost / coverage perspective. For something so intrusive and potentially blanketing a neighborhood, the fact they're not voluntarily considering a 100ft setback from homes is demonstrating a lack of respect for residences and neighborhood needs. The corporate solutions architects are only looking at a 2D map from their offices (or homes).


17 people like this
Posted by Common sense
a resident of Mountain View
on May 17, 2020 at 12:05 pm

Reading this op-ed recalled 20 years of similar claims. Present and accounted for are:

• Undoubtable sincerity.

• Unawareness of vast population of other (non-cellphone-related) radio and microwave services -- often more intense -- in the infrastructure of metropolitan living for 70+ years.

• No quantitative reasoning or perception. No awareness of how the proposed services compare in intensity to numerous established, uncontroversial precedents. No awareness of intensity-distance relationships (to say nothing of Maxwell's Equations).

• Misleading deployment of their signature buzzword "radiation" -- promoting or even reflecting a confusion with notorious, but unrelated, ionizing (e.g. nuclear) "radiation;" and though the same writer never chooses the same word for sunlight, say.

Adding to this, some of the comments above:

• Claiming that anyone arguing real physics or otherwise questioning the article's thinking must be some industry "troll." (Talk about rationalizing! Talk about "insults!")

• Pointing eagerly to the inevitable websites that can be found supporting any conclusion, however wrong.

• Moral narcissism ("I'm concerned about this technology, [therefore] It should not be allowed.") Impulses to ban things [because] you don't understand come close to the literal genesis of the word "Luddite."

15 years ago in my town, people lined up to protest Google's downtown Wi-Fi initiative, with identical rhetoric and lack of insight. Shown hard evidence that, if radio signals were a real health threat, other examples commanded far higher priority, they uniformly ignored it / didn't understand / didn't want to understand.

People who buy into these wireless-service anxiety movements may someday finally realize that terms like Luddite and "tinfoil hat" aren't "insults" from "telecom trolls," but reasoned assessments of an attitude of entitlement to strong opinions divorced from any responsibility to understand the subject judged.


1 person likes this
Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 17, 2020 at 12:08 pm

RKD, are you really concerned about the health impact or making the usual Residentialist complaints about design? Let's be honest here.

As for Physicians for Safe Technology, anyone reading their site critically can find their "data" is anecdotal. I love the fact that they cite a survey done by a "French-speaking magazine" in Switzerland as proof for health issues from 5G.

That's hilarious. As if being a French-speaking makes it more credible. It's the usual PR/comms tactic of adding useless details to make it feel more real.

It's just a pretty blog aggregation of articles that just agree with what they advocate. And there's no consistency. There's no primary scientific data to be found on that site. Just a sea of confirmation bias.

It's about as scientific as Daily Kos or Drudge Report.

But of course, the advisors have MDs and Ph.Ds. Science!


13 people like this
Posted by mandate 45
a resident of Community Center
on May 17, 2020 at 2:23 pm

to all concerned with science

At least on the noise issue, noise measurements are science

when you have an environment with average noise at 45, 40 or below (Palo Alto neighborhoods are far below 45 at night) why would you want to put anything going at 60?

Marin and Los Altos either do math and science better or Palo Alto is unaware of noise levels at night. Daytime is different, but these things will be bothering when it's quiet and that's the level you have to look at to understand annoyance.

Mandate 45


20 people like this
Posted by Justin
a resident of Evergreen Park
on May 17, 2020 at 6:01 pm

As others have pointed out, all the residents, ARB and City Council of Palo Alto are doing is insisting that the siting and design of cell towers installed here comply with the City’s aesthetic, safety and other standards. Locating a cell tower 20 feet from a home doesn’t do that. Let’s have good cell service In our city, but let’s also keep those cell towers as unobtrusive as possible, and at least 100 feet from any home.


26 people like this
Posted by Old PA Resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 17, 2020 at 7:09 pm

Along with the other non-trolls, I would never want a noisy ugly piece of technology a mere 20 feet from my home, which in my case means right outside the master bedroom window. Asking for realistic limitations on what the monster companies that don't have to live with this is more than reasonable. Please City Council members, take heed at what the residents want. Please ignore the trolls.


17 people like this
Posted by civil servant
a resident of Midtown
on May 17, 2020 at 7:24 pm

As a prior member of the ARB, I completely agree w/ Richard of downtown North => "We don't have to choose between good cell service and ugly, noisy, massive "small cell node" cell towers right next to our homes."

Specifically => "Telecom companies can easily locate most of their equipment underground, or, at the very least, top-mount very compact radios. It just costs them more. As for maintaining a 100 foot setback from cell towers to people's homes, it's easily accomplished. Again, it just means Verizon et al. need to spend a little more money siting and designing their equipment."

T.H.E.Y. (all telecom companies capable of installing 5G) are capable of going underground, going small, going quiet. It's just a cost/benefit question. And given that the fed gov shimmied the responsibility to the municipalities, it's on us to help the telecoms understand what their install cost structure needs to look like to install here.


Like this comment
Posted by I'll try again
a resident of Downtown North
on May 17, 2020 at 7:31 pm

Updated IEEE Report.

I'll try to send this AGAIN. Please send the Important Science article.

Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by PA
a resident of Downtown North
on May 17, 2020 at 7:36 pm

Important IEEE Science Update

Web Link


14 people like this
Posted by Tiger Dad
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 17, 2020 at 8:06 pm

There’s nothing about putting cell towers as close as 20 feet to people’s homes that is going to improve service. Keep them at least 15 social distances away.


17 people like this
Posted by cieboy
a resident of Barron Park
on May 17, 2020 at 10:50 pm

I agree with Civil Servant, midtown and Richard, downtown North. A 100 foot setback for cell towers from residences at the very minimum and no noisy fans.


15 people like this
Posted by Professorville Dad
a resident of Professorville
on May 17, 2020 at 11:43 pm

First off, I fully support making cell phone antennas as quiet and unobtrusive as possible, and making cell phone companies pay for them.

That said, we need more policy driven by science and not appeals to fear.

ThIs opinion piece states that there’s no way to know how far apart 5G towers should be, so we should space them however far she feels is a good idea.

That’s frankly pretty uneducated— it’s easy to model how cell phone signal at a given frequency degrades through different media and we should let the science guide the placement of the antennas, not whatever her and her friend feel like is best.

She also cites a bunch of fear mongering from people that run groups opposed to cell towers— the truth is that mainstream scientists known for many years that there is no physical way that WiFi or Cell phone signals can affect biology outside of very mild surface heating. In the worst case this heating effect is much smaller than the effect of walking into the sunlight on your sidewalk.

Even if there were a damaging effect— which there isn’t— in general people are getting 100x cell phone signal exposure from phones themselves, as opposed to towers. And further, the more towers that get built, the lower power they need to use, which should be the better outcome if somehow cellphone signal were harmful.

In sum, there’s just no cause for concern here, and the people that claim there’s evidence otherwise have been misinformed or are fringe people motivated to a specific conclusion.

Regardless of how little these resident think there’s no value in improving internet connectivity, there are many more residents I know that appreciate what connectivity has done for Palo Alto.

As it is we have so few options for good connectivity— we’re basically beholden to Comcast as there are no good alternatives. 5G changes that equation, offering another high-speed, high-bandwidth alternative in and around our homes.

Support better internet connectivity. It’s an important need in the world, especially in these challenging times.


5 people like this
Posted by John M
a resident of Professorville
on May 17, 2020 at 11:59 pm

I understand that 5G antennas need to be spaced more closely to provide good coverage, as the 5G signal doesn't carry as well.

Many of our setbacks in residential areas are set to be 20'.

To give us good signal in residential neighborhoods, we obviously need these antennas dispersed in residential neighborhoods.

Isn't asking to keep the antennas further than 20' from homes largely banning them from residential neighborhoods?

Wouldn't it be more productive to call for more effort around clever ways to hide the antennas?


3 people like this
Posted by Millennial 5G FAN
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on May 18, 2020 at 9:10 am

All things considered, Palo Alto HOMEOWNERS who have 5G cell phone towers situated on their residential properties should be monetarily remunerated in some manner by the cell phone carriers or the City of Palo Alto.

Renters need not be compensated and any rebate discussions relative to the 5G towers can be worked out between them & the landlord/property manager OR they can simply MOVE OUT as there are plenty of other potential renters given the PA housing shortages.

Unsubstantiated health concerns & MONEY should quell any issues relative to the emergence of progressive technologies that will serve and enhance the ENTIRE Palo Alto community.

The detractors can easily go back to using tin cans attached with string.




12 people like this
Posted by mandate 45
a resident of Community Center
on May 18, 2020 at 9:49 am

"In sum, there’s just no cause for concern here, and the people that claim there’s evidence otherwise have been misinformed or are fringe people motivated to a specific conclusion."

There is evidence that noise can be harmful to health. Sensitivity to sound will vary but there is no question that a +10dB difference above ambient is a big difference, and +20 dB is not insignificant.

A permanent noise source +20 dB above ambient is a legitimate concern. Taking away someone's enjoyment of a property could/shoud probably also be legally challenged.


4 people like this
Posted by Millennial 5G FAN
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on May 18, 2020 at 10:23 am

> "when you have an environment with average noise at 45, 40 or below (Palo Alto neighborhoods are far below 45 at night) why would you want to put anything going at 60?"

>> "60 would be very noticeable in a Palo Alto residential neighborhood,"

^^^ Seriously? 60db is equivalent to the level of human conversation or an appliance (i.e. air conditioner).

Take note...
Web Link

FYI/FWIW...when my girlfriend is reprimanding me (usually for something trivial) her db level far exceeds that of a proposed cell phone tower.


10 people like this
Posted by mandate 45
a resident of Community Center
on May 18, 2020 at 11:14 am

Millenial 5G fan,

“FYI/FWIW...when my girlfriend is reprimanding me (usually for something trivial) her db level far exceeds that of a proposed cell phone tower.“

Why do you need to make excuses for gain at someone’s long term expense? Good companies invest in making quiet equipment. Money better spent than on lobbysts to get free rides.

60 is not quiet conversation- that would be below 50 but the bother depends on the ambient noise. When the ambient noise is at 40, a +20 dB is a very significant deviation from people’s expectations for a quiet environment.

Any suburb- not just Marin and Los Altos know this. How did Palo Alto came up with 60? evidently not understanding its own neighborhoods.




19 people like this
Posted by Richard
a resident of Downtown North
on May 18, 2020 at 1:09 pm

To answer John M.’s first question: No, requiring that cell towers be located significantly further than 20 feet from homes would not be an effective ban on cell towers in residential neighborhoods. There are over 6,000 wood utility poles in Palo Alto, plus, of course, a large number of street lamps (cell towers are also mounted on street lamps)). And even by the most conservative measures, at least 1,000 of these poles are located in residential areas and much further than 20 feet from residences. So how many poles do the telecom companies want to use? According to them, about 150 (that’s how many cell tower applications are pending in Palo Alto). 150 applications with 1,000 poles to choose among? It’s hard to see how a telecom company could complain.

And to answer John’s second question: Aesthetically, the antenna is the least of it. What telecom companies want to do is install hundreds of pounds of ugly, buzzing radio equipment on the sides of wood utility poles. That’s because this is what is easiest and cheapest for them. Your jaw would drop if you heard, as I have, the reasons Verizon, for example, which is a 280 Billion/year-in-annual-revenue company, gives for why Palo Alto shouldn’t require that its radios be located underground (e.g., “ We prefer to use 100 foot cables and that’s not long enough to allow undergrounding.”).

And finally, a comment on what Professorville Dad had to say: I suggest that you contact the “many” residents you know who “appreciate what connectivity has done for Palo Alto,” and ask them if they would be willing to join you in volunteering to have a cell tower installed 20 feet from their homes. (A telecom company can install a pole anywhere, and pop a cell tower on it, so don’t let that be a consideration.) Then please get back to us and let us know how many takers you have (with names, please).


17 people like this
Posted by Justin
a resident of Evergreen Park
on May 18, 2020 at 3:24 pm

I want to mention this because no one else has: The telecom industry has not acted responsibly here. Two very different examples of what I mean are: 1) They corrupted a public official, paying to send our now former IT Director—whose job included overseeing cell tower applications—all over the world to promote smart, i.e. wireless-dense, cities. (When the California Fair Political Practices Commission announced they were investigating Director Reichental, he resigned within days.); and 2) They have not been measuring the radiation produced by their cell towers, even though this is a condition of their permits from the city.


7 people like this
Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 18, 2020 at 3:47 pm

We can't even underground our utilities, and you're expecting something less dangerous than high voltage electricity to be put underground? Odd. Smells like Residentialism again.

And, ironically, the closer the cell phone access point (these small radios are not "towers") are to the phones, the *less* power required to transmit. The further you are away from a cell phone tower the MORE power your phone has to emit to interact with the network.

So if you really believe this nonsense about cell phone radiation, you should want a cell phone antenna on your doorstep. Not too far away that your iPhone has to strain to connect (and blast more radiation in your head) to a tower that's too distant.


11 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 18, 2020 at 7:30 pm

Posted by Me 2, a resident of Old Palo Alto

>> Smells like Residentialism again.

"There you go again."

==

"Residentialism", noun, 1) Recognition of the rights of residents in a city, 2) A political movement to increase political recognition of the rights of the residents of a city.

"Liberal", adj, 1. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) relating to or having social and political views that favour progress and reform
2. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) relating to or having policies or views advocating individual freedom

"Liberal", noun, (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) a person who has liberal ideas or opinions

==

As it happens, I advocate individual freedom, and, the recognition of the rights of the residents of a city.


8 people like this
Posted by no 5G, thanks
a resident of Midtown
on May 19, 2020 at 3:06 pm

Millennial says
"...when my girlfriend is reprimanding me (usually for something trivial) her db level far exceeds that of a proposed cell phone tower."

I'm with her.
It is hard to live with a self-important, self-centered individual.


6 people like this
Posted by Millennial 5G FAN
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on May 20, 2020 at 9:05 am

>> "It is hard to live with a self-important, self-centered individual."

^^^ Agreed. But this domestic scenario has become commonplace among the upwardly mobile... even in Palo Alto!

With 5G many of us will now have even more latitude to avoid various unpleasantries (i.e. nagging) by seeking refuge in the enhanced capabilities of the expanded 5G network.

And with Bluetooth in one ear, you can pretend to be listening to the bickering while addressing far more important issues.

Consider the advantages before condemning technological advances.


2 people like this
Posted by That Guy
a resident of Mayfield
on May 20, 2020 at 1:03 pm

This person has no understanding of Radio Technology and should not be given the time of day. Do some actual research and get off of youtube!


3 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 20, 2020 at 2:13 pm

Apparently there are some installations that are quite unobtrusive, but, more expansive. To see what the installations look like that people are complaining about, google "images small-cell 5G pole-mounted installations". And, they hum and have fan noise, too.

The only ones that don't look obtrusive are the streetlight-integrated versions intended for "historic districts". Maybe we can declare all of Palo Alto a "historic district"?


7 people like this
Posted by John
a resident of Professorville
on May 20, 2020 at 2:38 pm

Surprised that the 5G haters haven't found a way to somehow link this to Stanford and Casti. And more bike lanes.

C'mon my NIMBY people! We need more unfounded concerns and hysteria in our lives!


3 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 21, 2020 at 9:41 am

Posted by John, a resident of Professorville

>> C'mon my NIMBY people! We need more unfounded concerns and hysteria in our lives!

Go look at one of these installations in person first before you assert that concerns are unfounded. Some of them are ugly, bulky, and noisy. But, they don't have to be, if properly sited and constructed.


2 people like this
Posted by wavesailor
a resident of another community
on May 21, 2020 at 12:23 pm

This contributor does not understand that 5G uses two major frequency ranges (< 6GHz microwaves currently used by 3G/4G and millimeter wave high frequencies in the 24-40GHz range). The two frequency ranges have vastly different access range and extremely different infrastructure deployment requirements for equipment. Not discussing this and lumping it all together just paints more fake news and bad branding on safe standard 5G < 6GHz and no different than current 3G/4G infrastructure. Splat... poor editorial.


4 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on May 21, 2020 at 5:34 pm

"Ban the microwave oven that sometimes interferes with my connection to them."

For personal safety, any microwave oven interfering with other devices is leaking and should be replaced immediately.

Otherwise, stop using cell phones. No customers, no 4G or 5G towers. Conversely, no towers, no cells. It's that simple (and that improbable)


Like this comment
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on May 21, 2020 at 5:40 pm

"This person has no understanding of Radio Technology and should not be given the time of day."

Au contraire, this author has a much better than average understanding of the radio technology. Certainly far better than anything you have demonstrated.


6 people like this
Posted by Taylor
a resident of Professorville
on May 21, 2020 at 5:52 pm

Seriously, John from Professorville, hurling the NIMBY insult at your neighbors who don’t want a cell tower a pickup truck’s length from their kids’ bedroom windows?

Friend, you live here, too. So just step right up and tell us your full name, and we’ll put you on the “Yes, please install a cell tower next to my house” list for Verizon and AT&T.


4 people like this
Posted by Pathetic PA
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 21, 2020 at 7:25 pm

It is sad testimony to the debilitating influence of society's ever expanding obsession with technology that pathetic, monomaniacal individuals (if they are to be considered authentic personalities and not simply telecom industry social engineers) such as those berating anyone who has the psychological fortitude to object to the surrender of their right to peaceful enjoyment of their residential enclaves are treated with the least modicum of polite consideration. How can anyone with the least fragment of healthy human spirit and love for nature, in good conscience, casually discard the soothing serenity and pacific comfort of quiet tree-lined boulevards nuanced with delightful birdsong in exchange for the constant 60dB drone of 5G cooling fans? With so little love for nature and the natural world, I see little hope for the future of this planet's ecosystem. House Bill 530 and Senate Bill 2012 may help if they can get out of committee.


9 people like this
Posted by Millennial 5G FAN
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on May 22, 2020 at 8:30 am

In maintaining an open perspective, those Palo Alto residents opposed to 5G enhancements should:

(1) Create a petition & present their concerns to the Palo Alto City Council in an effort to curtail this development.

(2) If unsuccessful, hire an attorney & file a class action suit against both the city & cell phone carriers.

(3) Stick with their 3G/4G cellphones (including flip-phones) while adamantly refusing to upgrade when the opportunity presents itself.

(4) Sell their overvalued/overpriced PA homes to a willing outside buyer and

(5) Consider relocating to a safer area where cell phone reception is poor or non-existent


2 people like this
Posted by Sally-Ann Rudd
a resident of Downtown North
on May 22, 2020 at 11:10 am

Didn't the City go through a protracted negotiation with Crown Castle so that we WOULDN'T be getting unsightly boxes perched on poles? I thought they were all undergrounded.
Web Link
I am usually front center of the residentialist lobby, but in this case, there is only one corner of my house that gets any cell coverage on my AT&T phone, so I'm all in favor of an upgrade in service.
Please give a civil correction if I'm wrong about this.


4 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on May 22, 2020 at 2:42 pm

"I am usually front center of the residentialist lobby, but in this case, there is only one corner of my house that gets any cell coverage on my AT&T phone, so I'm all in favor of an upgrade in service."

May I politely and civilly suggest a solution which I have used quite satisfactorily for many years? My AT&T landline gives me reliable high quality service in all areas of my midsized house. No towers, no dropped calls, no fans, nothing but service that keeps going and going and going. Why not give it a try?


9 people like this
Posted by Ryan C.
a resident of College Terrace
on May 22, 2020 at 5:46 pm

Hello Sally Ann Rudd,

The cell towers you're referencing in Downtown North are no longer in the works, because Crown Castle/Verizon failed to meet the very generous permitting deadlines established by the City. And while the Architectural Review Board had indeed recommended that Crown Castle/Verizon underground the ancillary equipment for these cell towers, Crown Castle/Verizon's lawyers spent a year fighting the recommendation rather than agree to spend a little extra money to make their installations acceptable to residents.

This is about money. It's about money the telecom industry doesn't want to spend to comply with the aesthetic and safety standards of the municipalities in which they want to locate their cell towers. If someone wants to build an office building here, they have to comply with Palo Alto's municipal code, right? Well, the same is true for telecom companies. But they think they can bully their way out of having to do it.

You say you want better cell service sooner, rather than later? Then please let your cell carrier know that you'd like them to stop their war against municipalities. Please ask that they--instead of spending millions of dollars on lawyers' fees to fight Palo Alto's very reasonable requirements --that they spend their money on miniaturizing, concealing and improving the safety of their equipment.





2 people like this
Posted by Rick
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 23, 2020 at 7:51 am

I have room for two of those towers in my backyard. How do I sign up to get some?


4 people like this
Posted by Millennial 5G FAN
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on May 23, 2020 at 9:57 am

For the overly concerned and in lieu of wearing of 'tin hats', there is a comprehensive line of clothing products/attire available online to protect you from 5G emissions.

Web Link

Baseball caps, headbands, brain protectors and even hooded sweatshirts.

Best to err (or look like a doofus) on the side of precaution...right?


4 people like this
Posted by Travis
a resident of Community Center
on May 26, 2020 at 4:18 pm

Hey Rick from Adobe-Meadows,

Just tell us what your last name is, and we'll make sure Verizon, AT&T and the City of Palo Alto know you want those two cell towers next to your house!

And thanks for the offer. Most people don't want anything to do with living near these ugly,noisy, high-voltage installations once they know what's really involved.


Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 26, 2020 at 5:53 pm

Posted by Millennial 5G FAN, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive

>> For the overly concerned and in lieu of wearing of 'tin hats', there is a comprehensive line of clothing products/attire available online to protect you from 5G emissions.

I'm not sure how RF-shielded clothing is going to protect houses from the noise and visual blight of the boxes attached to the poles mounted in front. And, it is totally unnecessary -- Verizon knows perfectly well how to avoid it.


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