2020 5G Backlash in Five US Communities.


Residents of the Palo Alto Bay Area have been fighting relentlessly to slow the rollout of wireless antennas in their neighborhoods.

The city finally released a new wireless ordinance that bans 5G cell towers within 600 feet of schools, but only 20 feet from residential areas, including homes for seniors.

It turns out Channing House, home to some of the most prominent retirees in Palo Alto, is also home to a 4G macro wireless cell tower on the roof, installed back in 2006.

Last spring, Chris Robell, whose parents live at the Channing House retirement home noticed a small 5G cell tower right next to Channing House.

Robell says an employee with AT&T, which owns the 5G installation, told him: “If you’re worried about the small cell node, you ought to be a lot more worried about the macro cell tower on the roof at Channing House.”

“I think it’s outrageous…” said Robell

Channing House CEO Rhonda Bekkedahl said Channing House makes about $36,000 dollars a year from leasing its roof to T-Mobile. 

Mary Robell, Chris Robell organized some other residents and led a petition to Channing House’s board asking to terminate the contract. “It’s a risk, and I don’t know why we need to take that risk for $36,000 a year,” But Bekkedahl said there’s no way out. Channing House is locked in for another 12 years, and only T-Mobile can break the contract. 

Responding to residents’ concerns, last year Channing House hired a consultant to test EMF emissions from the rooftop tower. The results came back way below the exposure limits deemed safe by the Federal Communications Commission.

But critics say those limits, set by the FCC in 1996, are outdated. “It’s just a giant experiment on the entire population and the planet,” said Joel Moskowitz, Director of the Center for Family and Community Health at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health.

Moskowitz says hundreds of peer-reviewed studies from 41 countries have found that exposure to radio frequency emissions from macro towers, like the one on top of Channing House, can have serious health impacts.

“Headaches, what people describe as brain fog, memory and confusion, skin conditions, heart palpitations, a whole range of symptoms have been associated with long term exposure to prior forms of cell phone radiation,” said Moskowitz.

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK. – News 9 Oklahoma City 3/3/2020:

The Oklahoma City Council is being asked to put the brakes on approving so many 5G cell towers.

City resident Saundra Traywick started the Facebook group Oklahomans for 5G Safety. The group islooking for a citywide moratorium on 5G towers until more information is available about 5G towers producing radiation that can cause cancer and other illnesses.

Traywick said the FCC has too much power in telling cities where the towers should be placed. “We could have thousands of towers up by this time next year. They could go up in front of your house, your child’s school, and there’s is nothing you can do.” 

HINSDALE, ILLINOIS. CBSN Chicago 1/13/2020:

In Hinsdale, cell companies are already putting wooden sticks in the ground where they intend to put up cellphone towers.

Paige Glendinning, Christine Trainer, and Fariha DiPasquale are all Hinsdale moms. They is on a mission to stop 5G from coming to town.

“This could be really bad,” DiPasquale said.

They said the 5G proposal does not just affect Hinsdale – Western Springs, Naperville, and Schaumburg would also be affected.

Wireless companies insist 5G is expected to be 100 times faster than current speeds. But in order for the bands to travel, more transmitters are needed in closer proximity, and thus, the signal will be carried on smaller towers that can fit on top of a light pole.

“We are not against technology,” Trainer said.

But the Stop 5G group questions just how safe all these smaller towers will be for those who walk and live nearby.

“But before we become sort of the canary that is subjected to all of this, we want to actually have that data on safety be proven,” DiPasquale said.

Many of the towers are expected to be near schools.

“And we know from other levels of technology far below the 5G levels that bone marrow of a child absorbs 10 times the radiation of an adult,” Glendinning said.

“We want people to be just educated on what 5G is, what the technology is, and what the rollout means for our communities, and what they can do about it,” Trainer said.


Parents at a Lakeside school are fighting to get a new cell removed.  

(Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

A new AT&T cell tower was recently installed across the street from Lakeview Elementary.

AT&T says it’s currently a 4G tower, with no timeline of turning it into a 5G tower.

But parents say they don’t want any cell tower so close to their child’s school, especially not one with 5G capabilities.

“This is 150 feet from where they eat lunch and play, it’s too close,” said parent Leah Santa Ruiz. She has two children enrolled at Lakeview.

“Our kids shouldn’t be guinea pigs for this technology,” said parent Philip Claessens. His son attends Lakeview. His daughter will attend it next year.  “We’re concerned about the unknown,” said Claessens. 

He started a Facebook page called “Take the Lakeview 5G tower down!

In August 2019, the county approved an ordinance banning cell phone towers within 300 feet of schools, daycares, hospitals, police or fire stations. However, it passed 4 months after the permit for this tower was already approved. 

A spokesperson for County Supervisor Dianne Jacob’s office told the group any further action will require the federal government. 

Supervisor Jacob released this statement to News 8:

“I’m hearing a lot of complaints from parents and others about this tower and I completely understand their concerns. The problem is that the Federal Communications Commission since 2018 has handcuffed our ability to regulate the placement of these towers. It’s another case of federal government overreach and the county and other local land-use authorities are fighting it in court. I encourage residents to join me in this battle and contact their federal representatives, and to urge them to restore land-use authority back to our communities.”

Spartanburg, South Carolina. WSPA.com 2/3/2020:

One week after an ordinance regulating the roll-out of 5G in Spartanburg was passed, a petition to prevent the roll-out of 5G in Spartanburg until further studies are done on the its health hazards challenges the city. 

“The wavelengths are much faster, much higher,” said Emily Brock. “It works as a mesh, a lower to the ground form of radiation output.” 

Brock has been at the forefront of advancing the petition for the past nine months. 

Based on her personal research, she believes the frequency emitted by 5G units is harmful to insects and wildlife.

Last week, the city passed an ordinance regulating how 5G units will be implemented in Spartanburg. 

It deals with aesthetics and placement. 

“We are working closely — or trying to work closely — with providers to make those as sleek, as unobtrusive, as stealth as possible,” said city attorney Bob Coler.

As for the petition, the city said there is little to be done to address residents’ concerns.

“Federal law regulates the telecommunications industry and it is abundantly clear to us that cities cannot prohibit the implementation of any telecommunication facility,” Coler said. 

One thought on “2020 5G Backlash in Five US Communities.

  1. Tom, I just received notice from my service, Consumer Cellular, that many cellphones, mine included, will be inoperable in a year or so when the system switches to 5G. So my year old phone will become landfill unless it is recyclable. Oh the joys of relentless capitalism!

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