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Local Control Freaks - You Need to Read This!

There is something brewing in our state capital right now and it is the antithesis of everything you have been saying you want.

Listen to what your neighbors in Briarcliff Heights have to say:  http://www.myfoxatlanta.com/video?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=9436017
Listen to what your neighbors in Briarcliff Heights have to say: http://www.myfoxatlanta.com/video?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=9436017
It seems like everyone who's anyone is talking about "local control" in Central DeKalb County these days, from city advocates and political candidates to charter school reformists and even park preservationists.  If you are one of those who has been thinking about the benefits of true "local control," you should know that there is something brewing in our state capital right now and it is the antithesis of everything you have been saying you want.

The telecom companies and their friends in the corporate-funded "ALEC" (The American Legislative Exchange Council) are up to their old tricks in the Georgia legislature.  This time they are actually pushing forth a bill AGAIN, that was already defeated in committee last year for very good reasons.  

House Bill 176 was renamed from ‘Advanced Broadband Collocation Act’ to ‘Mobile Broadband Infrastructure Leads to Development (BILD) Act’.  It mirrors similar bills being pushed forth by ALEC members in other parts of the U.S. 

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Don Parsons (R) - Marietta, actually allows taller, larger, cell towers with less local government control.  Do you want a 200' tower right next to you without any opportunity for a local government hearing?  Would you like a huge structure to be built in your front yard, without any advanced notice?  Do you care if someone else decides whether on not your property value should deteriorate by 20%? 

You can see what your neighbors in the Briarcliff Heights neighborhood think about being left out of the loop when the former school board decided to peg their community for a 150 foot tower with no notice.  Watch this recent report from FOX News about how they are STILL having to fight this bad decision, even though it has been 2 1/2 YEARS!

And if you are still not convinced, read what these reasons to oppose HB 176 by Georgia Planning Association.   Here’s a similar list from Georgia Municipal Association.

In addition to removing local control, the bill also makes it more difficult to determine who should be responsible for the removal of a cell tower when it is no longer in use.  Again, this change to current law could be bad for communities, bringing more blight to some areas that would not have the tax base to support the removal of such structures on their own.

In 2012, 62% of the voters in Dekalb County said they did not approve of the siting of cell towers on public school grounds.  That referendum was intended to advise those representing us about how we feel about the placement of these structures so close to where we live and where small children attend school.  

So, why aren't they listening?  And why would cell towers be treated any differently than other large, industrial structures that a private, for-profit company wants to place somewhere that it isn't zoned for? Our schools are for educating children, not providing tax shelter for big businesses.

Here is what the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia had to say:  
"HB 176 passed a House Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications Sub-Committee last week.  Representatives from ACCG, Cobb County, Gwinnett County, GMA and several cities expressed concerns on the impact this legislation will have on local cell tower siting ordinances.

"This bill significantly preempts local governments
in reviewing and approving applications for both the modification of existing cell towers and structures (collocation) and the construction of new cell towers and structures local communities."

Please take a moment to thank those who voted against this bill so far this session: Representatives Dr. Karla Drenner (D - 85), Michelle Henson (D - 86), Scott Holcomb (D - 81), and Mary Margaret Oliver (D - 82). We should also remind those that did vote for it, all other representatives, that they voted against local control, for cell towers at schools, and against the wishes of DeKalb citizens.

What can you do?
If you are concerned about the rights to local control that your state representatives and senators could be ready to take away, please reach out by email or phone call to the DeKalb Senators about the coming of this bill. They have not yet had an opportunity to vote on it, so we still have time to voice concerns.  You could remind them that the FCC specifically mentions the rights of the local government in the Telecommunications Act of 1996. 

Here are the email addresses for your DeKalb Senators who have yet to vote on this bill: 

*  Senator Steve Henson - District 41 (D) - henson718@bellsouth.net
*  Senator Jason Carter - District 42 (D) - jason.carter@senate.ga.gov
*  Senator Gloria S. Butler - District 55 (D) - gloria.butler@senate.ga.gov
*  Senator Emmanuel Jones - District 10 (D) - emanj@mindspring.com
*  Senator Fran Millar - District 40 (R) - fran.millar@senate.ga.gov
*  Senator Ronald Ramsey, District 43 - ronald.ramsey@senate.ga.gov
*  Senator Gayle Davenport, District 44 - gail.davenport@senate.ga.gov

Thank you for reading about this issue.  If you have not educated yourself on the subject of RF radiation or the struggle to keep the cell tower money from funding school corruption in DeKalb, please visit our website:  www.GETtheCELLoutATL.org.  

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.

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