Op-Ed by Jenny Miller
Perhaps you have been already convinced by reading articles on this site about the devastating effects of the ongoing rollout of massive numbers of 4G/5G so-called small cells (short for cell towers) throughout cities in the U.S. If you’re not up to speed about why you should be extremely, extremely alarmed, you can read my previous article on the subject (“The 5G Juggernaut, Coming Soon to a Utility Pole Outside Your Home”).
This article explains how you can be effective in convincing legislators to oppose the ubiquitous 5G streamlining bills. My advice is based on my past experience as a lobbyist representing a statewide human rights organization, when on more than one occasion, a tiny group of us were able to win extraordinary victories against bills being strongly pushed by powerful corporate interests. I also was very involved in the 2017 successful campaign to defeat California 5G bill.
Mindset is important. If your mindset is “The government is totally against us, we live in a corporatocracy and I just need to register my outrage, but I know we’re not going to win,” your lobbying efforts are unlikely to succeed. If your mindset is “Legislators definitely don’t share my values, but maybe I can trick them into supporting us, by greatly watering down what I believe into a more palatable ‘mainstream’ message,” No, this is not going to convince them to take the action you’re hoping for. Or “What if I come up with an assertion that is so powerful that the person I’m talking to will be absolutely overwhelmed, and whether or not I provide them with supporting arguments and documentation is not really important?”–Uh, no.
There is no question that anti-5G lobbyists are up against huge forces that have almost unlimited funds to bribe legislators with donations, and pay full time lobbyists to perpetuate their propaganda.
In my opinion, there is only one way to win when the odds are so stacked against us, and that is to connect with the person that you’re communicating with as a fellow human being, a fellow/sister human who cares as deeply as you do about the health and well-being of their children, family, and friends, and who has a strong interest in the future of California, and does not want the state destroyed by catastrophic wildfires which could result from this massive, unregulated cell tower rollout.
Ask yourself, “What argument is going to overcome all the years of telecom propaganda they’ve been programmed with?” Maybe explaining that their child could get a brain tumor– or they might not even be able to have children– as a result of the ever-increasing close proximity radiation that this legislation would create. Or perhaps giving them documented information about the extreme fire risks posed by locating these very powerful small cell towers everywhere. I explained some of these fire risks in this article.
It’s important to do your homework, so you are familiar with what the bill you are lobbying about says, and can provide backup documentation for your assertions. It should go without saying that you need to adhere to the truth 100% of the time. The truth about the planned rollout of thousands of 5G cell towers directly outside our homes is so horrendous that we don’t have to slant the information to get a desired effect.
Activists may have read somewhere that they should be certain to avoid mentioning health impacts, or even ANY harmful impacts caused by close-proximity cell towers, when talking to legislators. There is a huge amount of scientific evidence showing extremely harmful health impacts of living near a cell tower and or being exposed to wireless radiation–cancer clusters, strokes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, etc. That is one of most effective arguments you can use, since small cells will increase the level of radiation exponentially.
Because this dictum has gone out so widely to anti 5G activists, that any mention of health should be strenuously avoided, I reached out to several of the top anti-5G attorneys regarding this issue. They all said there is no reason for activists to censor themselves about detrimental heath impacts of cell towers when contacting state legislators.
As one of these attorneys explained it, according to federal law, the only time you cannot talk publicly about health and environmental impacts is before a local governing body that is deciding whether or not a particular cell tower is going to be placed. (You can feel free to say whatever you want when speaking to city council members privately.) If the telecom applicant can show in court that the denial of their permit was based on health concerns, the telecom wins the right to put in their tower.
Please don’t confuse that nuanced issue of local zoning procedure with what kind of issues you can and should bring up when lobbying state legislators.
Aside from the federal law which restricts local siting decisions based on health, there are other federal laws and court decisions that require governments to ensure the safety of communities from harmful effects of cell tower radiation, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Fair Housing Act, which do not allow laws or regulations that deny access by EMF-disabled people to their own homes or services in their community. There is a DC Court of Appeals decision (Keetoowah Tribes vs FCC) that said national environmental laws also must be considered in the siting of all small cells.
As a people’s lobbyist, you are not required to be able to debate the finer points of all these laws, regulations, and court decisions. Even though all the attorneys consulted agreed that none of these laws represent a gag order for lobbyists, for strategic reasons, it’s always a good idea to bring up other issues, in addition to health and environmental impacts, when opposing 5G legislation.
You will be on very strong ground legally if you base your discussion of health impacts on how these bills violate the ADA, that is, the rights of people who have electro-sensitivity (sometimes abbreviated to ES). However, I believe it’s a mistake to make the whole issue of health impacts solely related to people who are already disabled by this condition. Many legislators probably don’t believe that such a thing exists, and even if they believe it does, that is a very small segment of the population, compared to the huge number who are being deprived of adequate high-speed internet access–the problem these bills claim to fix.
Cell tower health impacts affect everyone. The health impacts are not just the numerous discomforts experienced by those who are EMF sensitive–such as severe head pain and pressure, heart pain and palpitations, sleep disturbances, dizziness, ear pressure or ringing, brain fog, burning skin, constant nose bleeds, etc. The health impacts the legislators need to know about, in addition to the symptoms of EMF sensitivity, are the ones documented in peer-reviewed journals, showing serious diseases like cancer resulting from wireless radiation.
Luckily, Environmental Health Trust has done an exhaustive job of collecting all the documentation about health impacts, and many other issues related to stopping 5G, which you can find here.
The health effects of cell tower radiation was probably the winning argument that was used in 2017, when opponents of the CA 5G bill kept bringing up the fact that firefighters were exempted in the bill from having a cell tower near their station, resulting from their fierce objections due to their past experiences of major neurological deterioration as a result of such towers. If firefighters are protected, what about children, the elderly, and all the rest of us?
You may have been told legislators have short attention spans, so you need to make your message very short and catchy. They are not going to read a long letter with a lot of research attached. Not true. They might not read every long letter, especially if it’s filled with rambling thoughts and unsupported assertions, but if your letter is well organized and accurately addresses what the bill says, their aides will look it over, since it’s their job to know all the facts related to the bill. Some even appreciate that you are helping them do their job.
It’s also fine to focus on one or two key points, as long as you can back up your arguments with some form of documentation, and can explain how they relate to the bill.
As far as choosing which issues to focus on, don’t limit yourself to a neutral and non-controversial arguments. You are trying to transform the legislator’s entire worldview about the supposed miraculous benefits of saturating our lives with wireless radiation. A neutral message like “someone’s property values could go down” is not likely to convince them.
To sum up, while I’m not saying that large numbers of people calling legislators’ offices with scripted “talking points” is never of benefit, in my experience. the only truly effective way to win the legislator or aide’s support is to get them to understand the deeper reasons this bill will be devastating to so many people. It actually only takes one citizen-lobbyist to have that kind of conversation.
Your underlying message should be: Don’t vote against this bill because we’re asking you to. Vote against it because you care about the well-being and safety of your family and community, and about the people of California, and will do whatever is necessary to protect them from the catastrophic impacts of this technology that is running amok.
A previous, and much longer, version of this article appears here.
Image credit: Indybay.org
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