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Why Does T-Mobile Want Cell Towers at Our Schools?

The proposal being considered by the DeKalb County School Board is about a lot more than we think.

I would love to see a request for the full details of the cell tower proposal by T-Mobile that is being considered by the DeKalb County School Board. This proposal is about a lot more than we may think. 

The objections of health and property values are valid, yet may only concern the limited few around the schools affected. What we have not grasped is that this is going on right now all over the country, with T-Mobile just hearing "no" here and there and moving on quickly, then getting a "yes" and signing deals. Has anyone started putting the pieces together to question the significance of what they are doing and how it relates to the soon-to-be finalized merger with AT&T?

There must be some limits imposed on technology when there is concern about its safety. We certainly cannot expect corporations such as T-Mobile to be transparent about their true intentions. It is not up to them to protect children. Their job is to sell what they have been told to sell, especially in light of the fact that they know they will soon be part of a highly publicized, major merger that could potentially leave many of the T-Mobile folks without jobs. 

They are selling at all costs now. AT&T is looking to own the airwaves in terms of roaming and thus prevent any smaller companies from becoming true competitors. 

It is not the right time to be doing business with T-Mobile. They do not care about their name or reputation because it will be mute within six months. And, AT&T does not need additional coverage in our area. Their motivation is clearly to “hog up the airwaves” so that they can lease space to other smaller competitors in an effort to monopolize the industry. 

That will mean higher charges, less bargaining on corporate accounts, fewer deals, less mercy when it comes to every customer they have, including the residents in our community as well as the school system and county government. 

Read more about “AT&T, T-Mobile Merger Bad News for Consumers” here

Reactions to the surprise AT&T-T-mobile merger are pouring in, and, not surprisingly, most conclude this isn't a good thing for consumers:

The Bell telephone system - aka AT&T - was broken up in 1984 to increase competition, and the US telecommunications market was deregulated in 1996, again to increase competition. But this merger "effectively restores Ma Bell to her former girth yet allows the company to operate in a looser regulatory environment," writes David Lazarus in the Los Angeles Times. "Consumers might wonder if they've been played... Ma Bell is back," and the only thing left for federal regulators to do is instill "new rules that address the shortcomings of our failed experiment in deregulation."

Regardless of the impact on consumers, it's obvious why AT&T made this move, writes Ben Parr on Mashable. Its network is strained "to unacceptable levels," and even though the company is upgrading, "it takes years to get the approval to build new towers... so if you can’t build towers fast enough, what’s the next best way to get them? That’s right: You acquire them. Today’s acquisition is all about bolstering AT&T’s network and beginning the process of repairing its reputation."

We need full disclosure of the details of the proposal being considered by DeKalb County. There was supposed to have been a vote on this measure at the June 6 meeting, but it didn't happen. Stay tuned.

This is big and we deserve to know why our school system would be in talks with a company that will no longer exist in a few months. If they are talking with AT&T via T-mobile, that's a violation of the law (collusion, in my opinion). Our accreditation is already in jeopardy. We don't need more scandal especially if we ever hope to get a decent superintendent in here!

We should wait till school in back in session so parents can attend a true discussion of the pros and cons involved in the offer. We should wait until the AT&T / T-Mobile merger is in place so we can negotiate with the true contract owner. And, we really should wait until our own leadership is in place by way of a new, experienced superintendent. A decision this big should not be made when there is no clear leadership to stand behind it. 

I understand that our interim superintendent does not want to be considered for the job. Why, then, would she allow a vote this controversial to take place now? The first study involving children and cell phones is due for release in 2013. I can wait that long. 

T-Mobile, or AT&T, we know and we understand. And, we don't like it.  Can you hear me now?

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Cheryl Miller July 02, 2011 at 03:44 PM
Tucker Residents: This issue may be added to the July 11 school board vote in DeKalb County. For details "like" the Facebook page for "Get the Cell Out - Atlanta Chapter." To be added to the email update list, send an email request to sayno2celltowers@yahoo.com. The school board meeting begins at 6 p.m. and will be held at the Administrative and Instructional Complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain, Georgia.
Cheryl Miller July 02, 2011 at 03:45 PM
Brockett Petition is still at: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/Stop-Brockett-Cell-Towers/
The Scarlet Pimpernel July 03, 2011 at 12:01 AM
Were is the petition if we want the tower? Were is the petition if we want the tower? Do cellular phone towers cause cancer? Some people have expressed concern that living, working, or going to school near a cell phone tower might increase the risk of cancer or other health problems. At this time, there is very little evidence to support this idea. In theory, there are some important points that would argue against cellular phone towers being able to cause cancer. First, the energy level of radiofrequency (RF) waves is relatively low, especially when compared with the types of radiation that are known to increase cancer risk, such as gamma rays, x-rays, and ultraviolet (UV) light. The energy of RF waves given off by cell phone towers is not enough to break chemical bonds in DNA molecules, which is how these stronger forms of radiation may lead to cancer. A second issue has to do with wavelength. RF waves have long wavelengths, which can only be concentrated to about an inch or two in size. This makes it unlikely that the energy from RF waves could be concentrated enough to affect individual cells in the body.
The Scarlet Pimpernel July 03, 2011 at 12:01 AM
Third, even if RF waves were somehow able to affect cells in the body at higher doses, the level of RF waves present at ground level is very low -- well below the recommended limits. Levels of energy from RF waves near cell phone towers are not significantly different than the background levels of RF radiation in urban areas from other sources, such as radio and television broadcast stations. For these reasons, most scientists agree that cell phone antennas or towers are unlikely to cause cancer. http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/othercarcinogens/athome/cellular-phone-towers
Doctor DeKalb July 03, 2011 at 03:27 AM
Dude, what exactly would your petition say as far as what benefits you think would come from allowing a cell tower on school property? Because, there are a lot of reasons they should not be allowed. The health debate is ongoing and the statements you used have not been updated to reflect the recent big announcement that the WHO has changed its postion and has upgraded RF emissions to possibly carcinigenic. But, if we agree to make that a non-issue, I still don't think a corporate entity should have leased property at an elementary school for any purpose, especially if they have full access to the grounds and HAZMAT materials stored on site. And, don't worry about signing a petition for T-mobile/AT&T. If you sign your checks, that is all the help they need. They have a big PR and advertising department so you will not have to worry about them being unfairly represented. But, if what they were doing was so noble, why are they doing it in such an underhanded, sneaky way? No notification, no discussions, no public input, no advance notice. Most of these things go up in the middle of the night and the people putting them up or maintaining them often carry weapons. Sounds like a great new tennant for the neighborhood.
Neil July 04, 2011 at 03:38 AM
Hi Dude, Thanks for jumping into this argument with scientific reality. Unfortunately, you are arguing against people with a very specific political agenda that scientific reality will not be able to change. WHO has not changed any position in this matter. An agency of WHO, based on an unscientific study that is being challenged by just about every responsible agency in the western world, wants to put RF radiation from prolonged cell phone use (not from wireless base stations) in the same category as things like alcohol, coffee, and working the night shift. People like Cheryl Miller and Doctor DeKalb, out of inability to understand the literature, or worse, have chosen to misinterpreted that to suppor their case. They rely on the lack of adequate scientific background of the public to hoodwink them, and, unfortunately, they all-too-often succeed.
Brian July 04, 2011 at 07:29 AM
"The Dude:" Nice going with the research. The ACS has a sterling reputation and has a history taking on big corporations including the tobacco industry. Some people on this board would prefer that we accept the research from papers such as the one produced by Karen Rodgers. Yes, that paper is readable, probably because it contains a lot of rhetoric and not much science. It includes advice from Dr. George Carlo, noted for his involvement in the Biopro Multi-Level-Marketing scheme. While Dr. Carlo later *refudiated* Biopro, but one must still ask why a scientist would so readily accept the specious claims of an MLM. * Yes -- I mean "refudiate!"
Brian July 04, 2011 at 07:38 AM
Just to be clear -- Dr. Carlo did not say "redudiate" -- I'm using that word
Brian July 04, 2011 at 07:59 AM
I did some calculations that I think might apply to this tower. I'll show the work so it can be reviewed by an RF engineer. The power density of this tower can be calculated as follows: Pd = (Pt / (4 * pi * D^2)) * G Pd = Power density Pt = Total transmitted power D = Distance from the antenna G = Gain of the antenna in the direction of the measurement. This equation measures the power per unit area. It divides the transmitted power by the surface area of a sphere at a given distance. Since the surface area is proportianal to the square of the distance, the power density falls proportianate to the square of the distance.
Brian July 04, 2011 at 08:12 AM
Here are the values: 1) Height of the tower - 150' according to Dr. Dekalb. 2) Distance of the tower from the school - 150' (guess). 3) Distance at ground level - 212' from pythagorean theorem. 4) Gain of the antennae towards the school - 10db - This means the power is concentrated 10 times as it would be if it passed uniformly through the imaginary sphere's surface. 5) Power - 100 Watts -- just a guess. The power density is approximately 2 microwatts per cm-sq. The power may be attenuated by a factor of 10 inside the school so we have approximately 0.2 microwatts / cm-sq.
Brian July 04, 2011 at 01:59 PM
The amount of radiation a child gets in the classroom from the tower is roughly equivalent to the amount he/she gets sitting 20' away from someone on a cell phone at 1W. The 10db gain that I added is probably highter than reality. Given that the nearest tower is .5 miles away, the gain is probably at its maximum 600'-1000' away, not 150'. If the gain were only 3db, you would get 1/5th the power in the classroom, the amount you would get sitting 45' from someone on a 1W phone.
Brian July 04, 2011 at 05:57 PM
Here is another hard calculation to inspire some critical thinking to counter the weak and/or alarmist studies that others present: The Interphone study with its **disputed** report of increased cancer incidence among the **highest** (e.g not ALL) users is the basis for much of the alarmism regarding cell towers. This increase is reported cause the particular cancer rate to jump from 6.5 /100000 to 9/100000. That's 2.5 incidents per 100,000 difference. Let's go worst case -- the increase applies to the entire USA populace and not just the highest users. Some simple division: (300 million / 100,000) * 2.5/100000/yr = 7500 cases in the USA per year. This disputed, worst case estimate is tragic no doubt. Let's compare this disputed, worst case calculation that to another well-measured statistic - vehicular accidents -- 37000 in 2008. Of those, 5300 were non-occupant deaths (passive). Can you imagine some pedestrian bringing this statistic to town hall demanding a halt to driving because of passive automobile deaths? No rigorous study shows any link between cell towers and cancer or any other harm. So for the torch and pitchfork crew assembling for the July 11 meeting, what other conveniences of civilization would you like to tear down?
Cheryl Miller July 06, 2011 at 06:18 PM
No, but I could imagine laws in place that required shoulder harness seat belts, required people to wear seatbelts, required safety testing of infant car seats, required air bags, required car seats to face backwards and be placed in the backseat, added teather harnesses and height/weight requirements, required booster seats, required speed limits, required turn signals, required traffic lights, stop signs, driver's education, a driver's license, an eye exam, emissions inspections and made it illegal to text while driving plus an entire department of law enforcement dedicated to looking for any violations. And, no parent is required by law to subject their child to drive around all day every day with a careless driver who shows no respect for the other around him, is only concerned about themselves, thinks they are above the law and has announced that he is skipping town in a few months.
Neil July 06, 2011 at 06:31 PM
Good base station coverage educes net radiation exposure. This has been repeatedly explained.
Neil July 06, 2011 at 06:32 PM
Typo corrected Good base station coverage reduces net radiation exposure. This has been repeatedly explained
Brian July 06, 2011 at 09:24 PM
To the editor: It appears that you deleted some of Cheryl's comments that attacked either Neil or me with statements such as "misleading" or "flat out lies." I am speaking for myself and not for Neil. As an editor, you are doing your readers a disservice. I am not offended by these remarks and they should be part of the debate. If someone wishes to call me a liar, say that I "mislead," or that I don't care about children or do not respect women, let them say so. If they want to accuse me of industry cronyism that's fine as well. I can choose to respond to these remarks if I wish. Everything should be tolerated except racial epithets and threats. Is advertising professional services, e.g. legal representation, permissible? Please let Cheryl voice her opinion.
Cheryl Miller July 06, 2011 at 11:35 PM
No base station and cell phone in the off position reduces exposure even more.
Kevin Madigan (Editor) July 07, 2011 at 12:31 AM
I have deleted nothing of Cheryl Miller's.
Brian July 07, 2011 at 03:21 AM
Well two of her posts are missing. I received this by email: Also, flat out lies (which I am sure will be recanted as jokes) - there is no listing of alchohol or "working the late shift" as potential cancer causing agents. Don't insult us, please. If you were so sure of yourselves, your intentions would be to educate not intimidate. I find it hard to believe that you are blogging out of concern for our health... more towers = less radiation from your phone. That may be true, but my response is that I don't need the phone or the tower. Take them both away. If you were so intelligent, your industry would be able to face the questions of a community, not try to sneak in the back door and make deals in secret meetings."
Kevin Madigan (Editor) July 07, 2011 at 01:29 PM
Personal remarks to the editor should be made via email.
Brian July 07, 2011 at 11:09 PM
The Empire State building in Manhattan has several stations that transmitting with hundreds of Kilowatts (e.g. WCBS TV can transmit 350KW). This exceeds the power of any cellular tower by a factor of more than a thousand, if not several thousand. The transmitter has been active for decades. There is a residential building, 325 Fifth Ave, across the street and one block south, some 300' from the ESB with its extremely powerful antennae. Several other luxury residences are nearby. If any of the fearmongering about the health effects of radiation from base stations were true, these residential buildings would be morgues. Everyone working near the ESB would be suffering from fatigue, nausea and dizziness before developing cancer. One could only imagine the affliction of those working on the top floors of the ESB. Instead, it is one of the most vibrant areas of Manhattan, there are no adverse health effects and condos in 325 Fifth Ave, with terraces facing the ESB antennae, sell for two million dollars. It should be obvious to everyone that the anti-wireless fearmongerers are promoting a "science" that is utterly divorced from reality.
Cheryl Miller July 08, 2011 at 12:13 AM
You should move there.
Cheryl Miller July 11, 2011 at 07:32 PM
Vote is tonight at 6 p.m. News coverage today: http://www.wsbtv.com/news/28507682/detail.html And, petition is located at: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/Stop-Brockett-Cell-Towers/
David S July 11, 2011 at 07:35 PM
Unfortunately, to some, perception is reality.
David S July 11, 2011 at 07:41 PM
Sure is nice to have all those folks in Wisconsin, Florida, California, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Idaho, New Mexico, United Kingdom and even Sri Lanka looking out for us here in little old DeKalb County.
Cheryl Miller July 11, 2011 at 08:22 PM
Family members have a right to voice their opinion about the children they love just as much as the people who have commented in these blogs from other states have the right to chime in and object.
Brian July 11, 2011 at 11:51 PM
The media in Hempstead allied itself with the junk science clan. Looks like the same thing is going on here. The fact that every fearmongering argument has been thoroughly trashed makes no difference to the press nor to the fearmongerers who are not the least bit interested in the truth wireless technology and health. Getting media attention is the goal, not the well being of the community nor its children.
Brian July 12, 2011 at 02:06 AM
Exactly what is meant by object? People "chimed in" on both sides according to your latest article.
Cheryl Miller July 12, 2011 at 08:41 PM
I am not responding to Brian, but just letting everyone know that the school board decided to take three schools off the list and approved nine to receive towers. Brockett was one of the three. Medlock and Meadowview were the other two.
Cheryl Miller July 31, 2011 at 12:17 AM
If anyone in DeKalb County is concerned about cell towers being placed at their local school, please email sayno2celltowers@yahoo.com for more information.

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