MESSAGE FROM ARTHUR FIRSTENBERG ABOUT CELL TOWER DEPLOYMENT RAMPAGE IN SANTA FE 

December 16, 2017

Dear Friends,

The news, both in the New Mexico state legislature and the City of Santa Fe, is incredible.

First the City: Mayor Javier Gonzales has declared a “bad cell phone reception” state of emergency permitting Verizon to begin putting cell towers and antennas anywhere on city property without application and without land use review, beginning tomorrow. The press release was issued this morning at 10:19 a.m.

He has declared a SIX MONTH state of emergency under the city’s Riot Control Ordinance! I kid you not. He has way overstepped his authority. The Riot Control Ordinance only allows him to set a curfew, prohibit firearms in public places, and prohibit the sale of alcohol. Our City Code does not exempt “temporary” wireless facilities from zoning review. I am in a state of shock. I am pasting the Mayor’s Proclamation of Emergency below this email. If he gets away with this, you can be sure the industry will try this elsewhere.

Now the State of New Mexico: The wireless industry has drafted an ordinance that will be introduced in the 2018 session titled “Network Nodes Deployment Act.” It is bolder than anything we’ve seen so far. It states that cell towers and antennas in the public rights-of-way that are less than 50 feet tall or 10 feet taller than the tallest existing utility pole within 500 feet, whichever is taller, are “not subject to zoning review and approval.” Period. 

The lawsuit against the City, which we had already been putting together will be filed at the end of this week. We intend to put RF radiation on trial and challenge the constitutionality of Section 704 of the Telecommunications Act. ["State of Emergency" letter from Mayor Gonzalez can be seen below] 

WE NEED DONATIONS TO PAY FOR THIS LAWSUIT. Please help if you can, by going to the donations page on our website: http://www.cellphonetaskforce.org/?page_id=196
(choose “Santa Fe Campaign” as the purpose of your donation).

Thank you!

Arthur Firstenberg

Santa Fe, NM 
 

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“Network Nodes Deployment Act”

“Wireless Consumer Advanced Infrastructure Investment Act”

 NM SB14 – Wireless Consumer Advanced Infrastructure

  •  AN ACT RELATING TO TELECOMMUNICATIONS; ENACTING THE WIRELESS CONSUMER ADVANCED INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT ACT; ESTABLISHING PROVISIONS FOR THE DEPLOYMENT OF CELLULAR NETWORK NODES IN PUBLIC RIGHTS OF WAY. 
    2/13/2018: [LD 9] Signed by the Governor - Chapter 69

 

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CITY OF SANTA FE
PROCLAMATION OF EMERGENCY

I, Javier M. Gonzales, Mayor of the City of Santa Fe, New Mexico, hereby determine that an emergency exists in the City resulting from insufficient telecommunications capacity in the City, which have caused or are causing danger, or injury or damage to persons and property within the City.

I hereby invoke all of the regulations necessary to preserve the peace and order in the City of Santa Fe, New Mexico that are set forth in Section 20-1.1 through 20-1.5 of the Santa Fe City Code of 1987.

I hereby declare that this Proclamation will become effective upon my signature and order the City Manager to disseminate the contents hereof to the public by appropriate news media and any other means at the Manager’s disposal.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT:

City Staff is authorized to work with Verizon Wireless to install temporary and/or mobile wireless telecommunications facilities on City property pending review and approval of fixed wireless facilities within the City; and

FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that the purpose of these temporary telecommunications facilities is to supplement the capacity of the cellular networks in the City so that emergency responders, like police, fire, and EMS will be able to better communicate with their departments, other agencies, and most importantly, the public.

This Proclamation of Emergency terminates automatically six months after it becomes effective unless sooner terminated by proclamation of the Mayor.

DONE at Santa Fe, New Mexico this 21st day of November 2017.

__________________________
JAVIER M. GONZALES, MAYOR
City of Santa Fe, New Mexico

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Downtown cell service relief on the way

By Tripp Stelnicki | The New Mexican Dec 11, 2017

Dominic Cruz, visiting from Denver, checks his phone from a bench Monday on the Santa Fe Plaza. Cruz’ service provider is Verizon and he has reported spotty service since his arrival to Santa Fe. ‘It could be the time of day or just literally where I’m standing but it’s a little weird and definitely not as consistent,’ Cruz said. Gabriela Campos/The New Mexican

Geoff Hunnicutt of Portland, Ore., uses his cellphone in August under the portal on Palace Avenue. Mayor Javier Gonzales proclaimed an ‘insufficient telecommunications capacity in the city’ had endangered the public and authorized city staff to install temporary telecommunications facilities on city property. New Mexican File Photo

 Mayor Javier Gonzales proclaimed an ‘insufficient telecommunications capacity in the city’ had endangered the public and authorized city staff to install temporary telecommunications facilities on city property. New Mexican File Photo

 Dominic Cruz, visiting from Denver, checks his phone from a bench Monday on the Santa Fe Plaza. Cruz’ service provider is Verizon and he has reported spotty service since his arrival to Santa Fe. ‘It could be the time of day or just literally where I’m standing but it’s a little weird and definitely not as consistent,’ Cruz said. Gabriela Campos/The New Mexican

 Paul Hillman, pedicab driver, takes a call while on a break Monday at the Santa Fe Plaza. Hillman currently uses Verizon and has reported having consistenty good service in Santa Fe. Gabriela Campos/The New Mexican 

Scarce or unbearably slow cellular service has for months been a nuisance to Santa Fe residents, visitors and businesses.

Now it’s a public safety emergency.

Mayor Javier Gonzales proclaimed an “insufficient telecommunications capacity in the city” had endangered the public and authorized city staff to install temporary telecommunications facilities on city property.

Cell service in Santa Fe “has been terrible,” Gonzales said in a statement Monday. “Once it began impacting our police, fire and emergency medical responders, it became more than a frustration, it became a threat of danger to the public safety.”

The temporary facilities will “supplement the capacity of the cellular networks in the city” so emergency services can better communicate within their departments, with other agencies and the public, according to Gonzales’ emergency proclamation of Nov. 21, which will be in effect for up to six months.

Fire Chief Erik Litzenberg said he did not know of any specific instances of a resident being unable to reach emergency services but described inconsistent cell reception as cause for concern nonetheless.

“Anybody who uses a cellphone, if you drive around Santa Fe, you’ve probably experienced service loss,” Litzenberg said. “I would hope everybody calling 911 has the ability to do so when they need to do so. That, to me, is the biggest urgency.”

Litzenberg said connectivity issues had inconvenienced the fire department. The data terminal through which the department receives response information, for instance, initiates reports inefficiently when network connection is poor, Litzenberg added, though he was quick to note those issues had not compromised public safety.

Deputy Chiefs Andrew Padilla and Mario Salbidrez of the Santa Fe Police Department in a joint statement echoed Litzenberg’s concern about poor signal strength inhibiting a 911 caller. The department uses Verizon Wireless service for mobile laptops; sergeants, detectives and command staff have Verizon-serviced cellphones.

“But day-to-day service and emergency responses have not been interrupted yet,” Padilla and Salbidrez said.

City staff were instructed to work with Verizon on the new facilities in Gonzales’ proclamation. The license agreement between the city and Verizon was signed late last week.

City spokesman Matt Ross cited the Thanksgiving holiday and other pressing city news, including the recent cascade of ranked-choice voting developments, in explaining the time lapse in releasing information about the Nov. 21 emergency proclamation.

The new antennae will begin to be installed within the next few days, Ross said.

An August review conducted by The New Mexican determined Verizon had the weakest data service in the downtown area among the top cell carriers. Verizon was stronger in residential areas, while Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile had weaker service there. A similar “speed test” conducted downtown Monday showed Verizon data service remained poor.

 

 

Verizon spokeswoman Jeannine Brew said Verizon’s agreement with the city would give the telecommunication giant permission to install seven “temporary sites” on city property and would help the company “more quickly get permanent sites on air.”

 

“In addition to first responders, residents will greatly benefit from the additional capacity,” Brew said in a statement.

Verizon will pay the city $50,400 to place its equipment on city facilities.

Brew did not directly answer a question about why Verizon data service in Santa Fe had been problematic. In August, she told The New Mexican Verizon was “working diligently to add new sites and technologies” to improve service; she did not directly answer a question Monday seeking specific updates.

The added structures are likely to inflame the bloc of Santa Feans who maintain that radio frequencies present a grave health risk.

Dozens of people vociferously opposed a recently approved tweak to the city code that will streamline the permitting process for new telecommunication facilities. The City Council greenlighted the ordinance unanimously in late August despite residents’ impassioned testimony that the change would flood the city with cell towers emitting what they believe to be harmful radiation.

The ordinance is expected to ease an expansion of broadband coverage by removing hurdles for service providers who want to install new equipment or alter existing facilities. City officials have called expanded telecommunication services critical to economic development.

Contact Tripp Stelnicki at 505-428-7626 or tstelnicki@sfnewmexican.com.

http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/downtown-cell-service-relief-on-the-way/article_e79bbaf5-6ef5-57bc-ae3d-5783ba93b204.html

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