Fight Against SB 649 Continues

Logos from some of the 216 cities opposed to SB 649

Opposing telecom totalitarianism in Sacramento

Click here for What You Can Do to help defeat SB 649.

It was beautiful day in Sacramento last Wednesday, July 12 for the hearing on SB 649. But the people I joined in the Capital – people throughout California opposed to this bill, including 216 (of 400) cities and 34 of 58 counties, and at least 34 environmental or health organizations ended up dismayed and outraged.

The California Assembly Communications and Conveyance Committee passed the highly contentious bill that day.  This was also after SB 649 amazingly passed the Assembly Local Government Committee June 28, despite the huge and growing opposition from the Leagues of California cities and counties, not to mention those of us who know about the severe health and environmental effects.  See the Leagues press release: Local Leaders Express Disappointment as Assembly Committee Sides with Corporate Interests over Citizen Control: City, County Officials vow to continue fight against SB 649

The Bill will enable forced placement of powerful microwave radiation antennas called ‘small cells’ on utility poles, street lamps, traffic lights and street signs throughout California neighborhoods as well as noisy, electromagnetic-field emitting refrigerator-sized “associated power equipment” on sidewalks.

These are excerpts of some elected official’s, brain tumor victims and EMF safety groups testimonies in opposition who spoke at the July 12, 2017 hearing held by the Assembly Committee on Communications and Conveyance chaired by Miguel Santiago.

Coming Soon Soon to a Pole Near You

These antennas will emit biologically impacting radiation 24/7/365 and will be on the level of second stories of homes, apartments, office buildings and only a short distance from windows, balconies, parks, sidewalks, etc.

Senate Bill 649 would eliminate local permits for cellular equipment such as this across the state. (Kevin Mottus/California Brain Tumor Association)

The telecom industry wants to install 50,000 or more of these 4G/5G antennas and doesn’t want any interference from local authorities or residents.

Telecoms argue that since they will need to put these powerful RF emitting antennas every block they need a streamlined process that also minimizes license fees to the city.  These fees have provided much needed income to local areas for basic revenue, but now this hugely profitable industry will use much public property and pay very little.  Cities will be left with liability for their property but without the income formerly generated.

Cities are also concerned that they won’t be able to respond to legitimate residents’ concerns of health risks and reduced property values if the antennas are placed in front of or in back of homeowner’s property.

An estimated one to four million Californians already suffer from overexposure to existing levels of radiofrequency radiation, an environmentally induced illness called Electromagnetic Sensitivity.  Electromagnetic Sensitivity is a federally recognized disability since 2002.

Over 250 of such people filled out forms on the website of within just the three days before the hearing. If this bill continues to pass through the state legislature, and it has passed through the Senate already, there will be nowhere to escape in cities and they fear they will need to move from their homes.

Historic areas are exempt.  Coastal communities are governed under the California Coastal Commission so for this bill to go into effect in our coastal communities, telecoms will be required to go through the CCC process.

Firefighters negotiated a clause in the bill prohibiting installation of the antennas onto their firehouses because of their health concerns in return for dropping their opposition.

Children and fetuses, the sick and elderly are most vulnerable.  Yet strong, healthy firefighters want to avoid more of this radiation.  We think the firefighters deserve protection and we think we should all be protected.  Effects are cumulative and no one is immune.  Birds, bees, plants, trees, every creature is affected since we’re all electro-chemical.

Dr. Trevor Marshall testified against the bill explaining that people suffering from chronic illness are more sensitive to exposure to RF radiation and that it exacerbates their disease.

Current city council member and former Mayor of Nevada City, Reinette Senum, spoke against the bill as an elected official and as an early adopter of wireless technology; she had opened the first cellular phone store in Nevada County in 1990.

“I have learned enough about 4G/5G technology that I cannot support the expansion of these so-called “Small Cells” into residential zones….

“Governments and representatives, including Assembly Members and myself, have a responsibility to protect the quality of life of our constituents, protect public property in the public right-of-way, AND stop this corporate overreach,” declared Ms. Senum.



July 18, 2017 broadcast -Mary Beth Brangan, director of the Ecological Options Network, discusses 5G (the fifth generation of wireless technology) and California Senate Bill 649 limiting local control over the next generation of wireless technology and its implications for human and environmental health–and democracy.


Tony Stein and Cindy Franklin hold a protest banner on the steps of the California Department of Health in Sacramento, CA July7, 2017 EON photo by MB Brangan

Legislators & Telecoms Ignore the Peer-Reviewed Science

This dangerous legislation has never been heard in a committee authorized to oversee public or environmental health or toxic pollutants either in the Senate or in the Assembly.

Concerned people from various branches of the EMF Safety movement provided reams of credible, peer reviewed scientific studies; many impassioned injured Californians testified including people disabled by ‘smart’ meters, and brain tumor victims from cell phone radiation.  These people, some forced to testify via phone because of inability to tolerate the levels of radiation from wi-fi in the legislature hearing rooms, were totally ignored.  The discussion between legislators, the bill’s sponsor and the industry completely omitted any reference to possible adverse health, environmental and safety effects.

Meanwhile, on the same day as the hearing, on the south steps of the Capital building, there was a 30th anniversary extravaganza for the California Department of Public Health.

Musicians played while people flocked to the exhibits under tents.

Cell phone safety advocates Ellie Marks, Cindy Franklin and Toni Stein denounce the CA Department of Health’s refusal to release its own advisory report on radiation risks. They explain how the bill, SB 649, now moving through the legislature – and similar bills being pushed in states around the country – would eliminate any local authority over cell tower placement and result in toxic antennas lining every block leaving the public with no legal recourse.

The California Brain Tumor Association together with Consumers for Safe Cell Phones, organized a polite protest.  They wanted the state agency in charge of radiological and other health aspects, to publicly release a cell phone warning document that it had suppressed since 2014.

Ellie Marks, Founder of California Brain Tumor Association. EON photo: MB Brangan

Here is more on that story and media on suppressed document.

If this document, admitting potential health risk from RF microwave radiation, had been released with appropriate outreach (95% of the population has at least one cell phone) the telecoms would have had to admit the very real health and environmental risks of increasing the forced exposure of this same RF radiation through SB 649.

The same RF microwave radiation that you have at least choice over whether you choose to turn off your phone would now be irradiating you 24/7/365 from only tens of feet away.  Exposure is cumulative.   Standards are obsolete and again, pregnant women, children, the ill and the elderly are most vulnerable.

More on 5G health effects.

Read the American Association for Retired People (AARPSB 649 opposition letter.

For more info on the global issue of 5G, click here.  And here  


Get involved – spread the word!  We need everyone and all organizations to oppose this disastrous bill.

Speak to your legislators when they’re home for recess.  Tell them to vote NO on the SB 649 floor vote.

The Appropriations Committee hearing will most likely be August 23 or August 30.  Please call and express your opposition!


Appropriations Committee

• Room 319 — Ian C. Calderon (D-57)/ Dennieile Ritter, Legislative Director; 916-319-2057

• Room 2003 — Richard Bloom (D-50)/Annie Chou, Senior Legislative Aide; 916-319-2050

• Room 2114 — Lorena S. Gonzalez Fletcher (Chair D-80)/Jennifer Galehouse, Deputy Chief Consultant, Assembly Appropriations Committee; 916-319-2081

• Room 2137 — Laura Friedman (D-43)/Allison Ruff, Chief of Staff; 916-319-2043

• Room 2148 — Rob Bonta (D-18) 916-319-2018

• Room 2158 — James Gallagher (R-03)/Joe Zanze, Legislative Aide; 916-319-2003

• Room 2175 — Raul Bocanegra (D-39)/Brayden Borcherding, Legislative Aide; 916-319-2039

• Room 2117 – Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer, Sr. (916) 319-2059 no staff assigned- send position statements to the scheduler:

• Room 3141 — William P. Brough (R-73) 916-319-2073

• Room 3152 — Adam C. Gray (D-21)/ 916-319-2021

• Room 4015 — Eloise Gómez Reyes (D-47)/Matthew Hamlett, Legislative Director; 916-319-2047

• Room 4116 — Jay Obernolte (R-33)/ 916-319-2033

• Room 4117 — Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-13)/Maria Ramos, Legislative Assistant; 916-319-2013

• Room 4140 — Eduardo Garcia (D-56)/Vanessa Gonzalez, Legislative Assistant; 916-319-2056

• Room 4144 — Vince Fong (R-34)/Elias Garcia, Legislative Director; 916-319-2034

• Room 5016 — Ed Chau (D-49)/Edmundo Cuevas, Chief of Staff; 916-319-2049

• Room 6027 — Frank Bigelow (Vice Chair, R-05)/Katie Masingale, Chief of Staff; 916-319-2005