News


Verizon tries again for Little League cell tower

Palo Alto ball field would get new lights in exchange for two antennas

The Palo Alto Little League is making a fourth attempt to welcome a cell tower at its ballpark on Middlefield Road, this time proposing to add the antennas to a 65-foot-tall light pole that would also illuminate the playing field.

The proposal, which has met with significant opposition in the past, will come before the city's Architectural Review Board in November, Palo Alto Little League President Mark Burton said.

The plan would add two light poles in the outfield and a back-up emergency generator. One pole would have two antennas. Together with a second, 60-foot pole, the lights would help illuminate the lot's back corner, which is currently dark and unusable at night, he said.

The league would reap $2,100 a month for five years from the arrangement, enough revenue to make improvements to the 60-year-old facility, he said.

Some neighbors who live across from the field oppose the plan, however. Verizon and the Little League are ignoring health studies that indicate the radiation poses a health risk, said Willy Lai and Jason Yotopoulos.

They also oppose additional lighting, which they said will shine light into neighboring homes.

The league first proposed an arrangement with AT&T to add a tower to the ballpark. But stiff neighborhood opposition caused AT&T to withdraw the proposal in 2010.

Verizon Wireless previously proposed a cell tower disguised as a tree, which would have been located at the front of the property, City Senior Planner Russ Reich said.

Neighbors opposed that project, and city staff rejected it. Verizon has now submitted a revision that makes considerable improvements, he said. The proposal ditches the fake tree and moves the backup generator to the rear of the property. Encased in a concrete wall, the generator would only run during power outages and during occasional testing, he said.

Verizon and the Little League held a public meeting Sept. 27 and about 20 people attended, Burton said. Half favored the towers, and half opposed them, he added.

Resident Ken Allen, president of the Adobe Meadow Neighborhood Association, said he supports the plan.

"As a person who is involved in emergency communications, we need a very robust infrastructure for communications. Better and more robust cell coverage is a part of this. AT&T and Verizon have very poor coverage in this part of town. There is a black hole," he said.

Verizon spokeswoman Heidi Flato said the company does have a significant gap in network coverage around East Meadow Drive and Middlefield. The tower would serve homes and motorists between U.S. Highway 101 and El Camino Real and Page Mill Road and Rengstorff Avenue. A search did not find alternative sites for the tower, she said.

The Adobe Meadow association has not taken a position or a vote on the tower out of respect for members with differing opinions, Allen said. But the association hosted a forum last year with Verizon's contractor, NSA Wireless, and the company followed residents' suggestions of moving the facilities away from Middlefield and getting rid of the ungainly faux tree, he said.

Allen called opponents' fears of excessive radiation unfounded. He personally commissioned an SRI electrical engineer to measure the signal emissions from two Palo Alto cellular poles, he said. The results showed that cell phones themselves put out as much as 25,000 times the signal strength of that emitted by the towers at ground level, he said.

The 2011 tests measured signals from a Sprint PCS tower at the fire station on Middlefield and East Meadow and a cell-tower tree in the Barron Park neighborhood. Several readings across the street from the Sprint pole — about 50 meters from the base of the tower and 52 meters from the antennas — showed a peak strength of about -30 to -34 dBm, a measurement used to define the power of radio, microwave and fiber-optic networks. Other measurements showed similar readings, including while driving near Jane Lathrop Stanford Middle School, according to the report, which Allen provided to the Weekly.

But readings of cellphones showed surprising results, he said. A Sprint PCS cellphone gave off readings 100 to 1,000 times higher than the signals from either of the two towers at ground level. The higher reading was when the 4G system was turned on. And readings from an iPhone were 25,000 times greater than signals from either of the two towers. The higher emissions might have been due to the greater distance from any AT&T tower, which causes the phone to put out more power to receive the signal, according to the report.

Two years ago the Palo Alto City Council approved a Distributed Antenna System of small antennas — installed on existing utility poles throughout an area — for AT&T, and Yotopoulos and Lai said they don't understand why Verizon doesn't use a similar upgrade. Verizon could put its equipment on existing towers, he said.

But Flato said the company considered installing such a system four years ago, and it determined the system would not provide the network coverage needed.

Yotopoulos and Lai also expressed concern that the second light pole in the ballpark could later be used for a second cell tower.

"Adding a second light pole is getting a foot into the door for loading another light pole. It's a little insidious," Yotopoulos said.

Flato said the new lights are for the benefit of the Little League.

"Once the area is lit, there will be an area for an additional batting cage, a practice area, additional seating, a picnic area and team meetings. We have redesigned the site to address concerns expressed by nearby neighbors," she said.

Reich said Verizon's application will undergo review by the Architectural Review Board because of the controversy surrounding it. If the board recommends the proposal, a hearing with the city's planning director would decide its fate. The application would only come before the City Council if there is an appeal, he said.

This story previously stated that peak strength readings were 30 to 34 dBm. The story has been corrected.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by No Name
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Oct 4, 2013 at 1:17 pm

Everyone complains about Palo Alto being a "black hole" of cell phone reception, but no one wants a cell phone tower anywhere near their neighborhood.

Either stop complaining about lousy cell phone reception and drive to Mtn View to make calls, or accept the fact that more towers are needed.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by nsa
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 4, 2013 at 2:01 pm

The article says the NSA is installing these antennas? Really?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 4, 2013 at 3:58 pm

> Several readings across the street from the Sprint pole — about 50 meters from the base of the tower and 52 meters from the antennas — showed a peak strength of about 30 to 34 dBm

Either the SRI engineer needs to re-calibrate his measuring device or Ms Dremann needs a new editor. 30dBm is 1 watt! If the Sprint pole is putting this amount of power at 52 meters, there is no amount of time that anyone is safe in that RF field. Our poor firefighters at Station 4 directly under that antenna must be grave danger!

Surely, the numbers are -30dBm to -34 dBm? Doesn't anyone proof read Ms Dremann's stories?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Noballparkcelltower@gmail.com
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 5, 2013 at 10:52 am

Join us in opposing this cell tower. Email noballparkcelltower@gmail.com and we'll send you an email template with contacts to easily voice your opposition to the right individuals at Verizon, the Little League Ball Park Board, and the city of Palo Alto.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by parent
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 5, 2013 at 11:05 am

Sounds to me that the NIMBYs are opposed to lights for the baseball field, not radiation from the cell phone towers. Maybe they need to be negotiating directly with the little league, not the city.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by member
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Oct 5, 2013 at 11:55 am

Could we please have a link to the report supposedly commissioned by Ken Allen and conducted by an SRI employee? I wonder whether Ken just asked one of his neighbors who shared his personal opinion and who used to work at SRI to do the study to support his conclusion. Do we know if the study is peer-reviewed and published in a scientific journal?

There are plenty of scientific publications about the potential or documented health effects associated with being within 500 meters of cell tower. Here are a couple of the publications:

The Influence of Being Physically Near to a Cell Phone Transmission Mast on the Incidence of Cancer (Web Link);

Survey Study of People Living in the Vicinity of Cellular Phone Base Stations. Santini 2003, Electromagnetic Biology & Medicine, Vol 22: 41-9.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by JerryL
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Oct 5, 2013 at 12:15 pm

JerryL is a registered user.

The measurements indeed WERE -30 dBm. This is about a micro watt.
The article was off by a factor of 1 million. My note to Mr. Allen
and email to the author clearly had the minus sign (which got dropped
somewhere in the editing process, I guess).

Also, these were measurements taken informally for a neighbor and not
official product of my employer and the caveats were omitted from the article.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by parent
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Oct 5, 2013 at 12:21 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by PALL Should Be Ashamed!
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Oct 5, 2013 at 2:57 pm

I agree with Member that Mr. Allen's statistics should be backed up with source citations, and not just offered as pro-tower propaganda. One important thing I would like to point out regarding the amount of RF a cell phone gives off versus a cell tower (and I am in no way validating Mr. Allen's comments) is that people use cell phones BY CHOICE and they are generally used in relatively short periods of time. Cell towers emit RF radiation to everyone in the area, 24x7, including our kids, whether or not they want cell coverage. It is outrageous that the Little League is forcing this exposure on the neighborhood, schools, park, and brand new library rather than raising the funds they want (and only they will benefit from). The income they will get from these cell towers is $2100/month. Per the Little League website they field 83 spring teams, plus fall and summer teams. If you do the math it comes to less than $20 per kid per year! Given the entire property was GIFTED to Little League (back in the early 50s, so their property taxes are practically nothing), it is just selfish that they want to impose this tower on the neighborhood that is so strongly against it.

Seems Palo Alto Little League feels quite entitled to be supported by everyone else's sacrifice. Come on PALL - be responsible!

There are more suitable locations and solutions for reasonable cell coverage.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Voice your opposition
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 5, 2013 at 3:06 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dave H
a resident of South of Midtown
on Oct 5, 2013 at 3:35 pm

Lai and Yotopoulos seem to have the common sense others are lacking. It doesn't take a rocket scientist (or RF engineer for that matter) to know that putting a cell tower in the middle of a bunch of kids is a bad idea.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kate
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 5, 2013 at 4:13 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 5, 2013 at 4:17 pm

Kate-- so the little league can count on you for the $2k a month-- given that it is such a measly amount. If you refuse , it would be despicable.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dave H
a resident of South of Midtown
on Oct 5, 2013 at 4:21 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kate
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 5, 2013 at 4:29 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 5, 2013 at 4:35 pm

Yes, let's close down this little league park. How dare the lights disturb the neighbors. And god forbid they put a cell phone tower in-- the deadly radiation will be toxic for all. Of course none of the ani- tower people use cellphones.
So, Kate, can the little league count on that $2k a month from you? You clearly have no clue as to what a little league budget is, but please provide us with a link to the overall annual budget you have found.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 5, 2013 at 4:49 pm

Maybe the anti- tower people should demand thatbthe city give the little league as much money as they give to the PACT. Then the LL would not need to get funding from Verizon. Of course the PACT is a city institution, while little league is not important to our city leaders.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kate
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 5, 2013 at 5:21 pm

The little league has almost $500k in assets and over $300k in revenue each year according to their 2011 financials. This puts them in a category where their budget isn't just larger than most California non-profits, but larger than most Palo Alto non-profits as well. This is about greed, plain and simple. You can click the "Web Link" or go to non-profit-organizations.findthebest.com/m/l/1716371/Little-League-Baseball-Inc/


 +   Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 5, 2013 at 5:56 pm

Palo Alto Little League is rare, among little leagues across the country, in that it owns its land and facilities. This means it needs to pay the maintenance bills at the Middlefield facility. It gets no financial support from the city coffers, not even irrigation water. Just basic things like keeping the parking lot paved, is a huge cost. Its budget is hardly out of order, and it does, indeed, need that extra $2k per month.

To call PALL greedy is absurd.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 5, 2013 at 6:19 pm

>Given the entire property was GIFTED to Little League (back in the early 50s...

The Palo Club bought the empty land then transferred the land to Palo Alto Little League, once it paid off the loan. It was not "gifted" to PALL...not even one penny.

>Cell towers emit RF radiation to everyone in the area, 24x7, including our kids

Does this mean that the cell tower (flagpole) at the corner fire station should be dismantled?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 5, 2013 at 6:21 pm

So Kate, the assets are the ball park. John is correct about its financial state.
Can the LL count on you for a measly $2k a month so to will not need Verizon? Why do you consider the PALL greedy and it's attempts at funding despicable? Are you against what they stand for?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Tim
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Oct 5, 2013 at 6:32 pm

vYes John, please dismantle the cell tower flag pole at the fire station too. That's not too far from the park and neighboring schools as well. You'd be doing the community a service. If your neighbors don't mind, you can plant it in your own backyard. THANKS!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 5, 2013 at 6:39 pm

The anti- tower people are going about this the wrong way.if these cell towers are these deadly, dangerous structures that these people claim they are, they should demand thatbthe city council, immediately ban all cell phone towers from the city. In addition the possession and use of cell phones and microwaves should be outlawed as well. We might as well ban WiFi as well-- you cannot be too careful. After that we need to go after those electrical lines.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 5, 2013 at 7:01 pm

> Do they should demand thatbthe city council, immediately ban all cell phone towers from the city. In addition the possession and use of cell phones and microwaves should be outlawed as well. We might as well ban WiFi as well-- you cannot be too careful. After that we need to go after those electrical lines.

Don't forget fluoridated water.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Maria
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 5, 2013 at 7:05 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 5, 2013 at 7:18 pm

Marie-- I think that there is a complete misunderstanding as to the dangers of cell phone towers. These anti- tower people emerge anytime a cell tower is proposed for ANYWHERE in the city. Anyway, how far is far enough? And you do understand how cell phone tower coverage works?
There is no evidence of any danger from cell towers ( I mean real scientific evidence) . Yet, the anti-tower people roll out the same false arguments evry time. I also wonder how many of these people use cell phones.
Sorry, John, that I forgot the fluoridated water


 +   Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 5, 2013 at 7:23 pm

>they just wnat them placed in approrpriate places in our community, far from the children playing baseball or the children at the neighboring schools. Having 2 school aged children that are active in sports and attend PA's public schools, I think that's a sensible request

Maria, do you have cell phone reception in Crescent Park? I assume you do. So, where are the cell towers to service your needs? Are any of them near schools or sports fields?

Do you allow your children to drink or even bathe in Palo Alto's fluoridated water? Assuming that you do, have you considered the mysterious possibility that RF from cell towers might negate the toxic effects of our local water? Don't ask me to explain it, because I can't. I can't explain ghosts and UFOs either...it's just one of the many possibilities that is out there.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Member
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Oct 5, 2013 at 9:23 pm

Saturday 9:20 pm. The Little League Ball Park lights are beaming, with no one in sight. Couldn't they save the electrical bill for use in maintenance?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Yes An Issue
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 5, 2013 at 9:58 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Zhao
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 5, 2013 at 10:07 pm

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 +   Like this comment
Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 5, 2013 at 10:10 pm

Yes-- not sure what your point is,but....
The heated debate s coming from the anti- tower side , labeling the PALL as greedy
People are. Voicing their opinions, so what is your point?
I was being sarcastic about closing the park, given the reactions of the anti- tower crowd.
There is a question of whether the concerns are legitimate.
I am not labeling anyone.

So what is your point???


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ramesh
a resident of South of Midtown
on Oct 5, 2013 at 10:11 pm

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 +   Like this comment
Posted by Amanda
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 5, 2013 at 10:34 pm

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 +   Like this comment
Posted by Vlad
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 5, 2013 at 11:41 pm

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 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bill
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 5, 2013 at 11:51 pm

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 +   Like this comment
Posted by realtor assistant
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Oct 5, 2013 at 11:55 pm

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 +   Like this comment
Posted by NOBALLPARKCELLTOWER@GMAIL.COM
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 5, 2013 at 11:56 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Elaine
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 6, 2013 at 12:05 am

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 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jared
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 6, 2013 at 12:28 am

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 +   Like this comment
Posted by Shawn
a resident of Meadow Park
on Oct 6, 2013 at 12:35 am

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 +   Like this comment
Posted by Samantha
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 6, 2013 at 12:38 am

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 +   Like this comment
Posted by Upset with PALL
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Oct 6, 2013 at 12:42 am

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 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jessica
a resident of South of Midtown
on Oct 6, 2013 at 12:59 am

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Brian
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 6, 2013 at 1:11 am

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by kenneth
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Oct 6, 2013 at 1:18 am

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Tamintino
a resident of Menlo Park
on Oct 6, 2013 at 1:48 am

Cell Towers are bad for ones health. $2,000 is not worth the medical bills and pain and suffering.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 6, 2013 at 9:03 am

>Cell Towers are bad for ones health

The proper study, which has not been done, is to install two cell towers in a town, with similar neighborhood characteristics. Make sure that a political fight occurs over both of them. Once installed, only one of the towers will be activated, but no will know this, except for the designers of the study. After 2-3 years, determine if there are more health complaints for the active tower vs. the inactive tower. My bet is that the complaints will be about equal, due to the psychosomatic effects, such as have been demonstrated by some in this thread.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kazu
a resident of University South
on Oct 6, 2013 at 12:07 pm

"Cell Towers are bad for ones health. $2,000 is not worth the medical bills and pain and suffering."

Just wear a tinfoil hat and all will be well.

Seriously folks, it beggars belief that supposedly educated and intelligent people would believe such nonsense. Cell phone towers are all around us. If they posed any sort of a health risk, people would be dropping like flies. Paranoia and superstition are poor substitutes for logic and critical thinking.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 6, 2013 at 12:18 pm

>This is all very distasteful... I'm dropping Verizon and taking my son to play ball elsewhere!

Elaine, I don't know the age of your son, but he might have something to say about your dictate that he is not allowed to play in little league, with his friends. Exactly where will you take him to play ball? Have you checked out the RF ambient levels at any of those parks? Momma grizzlies need to take a step back, before they charge.

BTW, I already responded to the issue of PALL budget issues (above). Please check it out.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kazu
a resident of University South
on Oct 6, 2013 at 12:39 pm

"About the safety of cell phones, I'll just remind everyone about what they said about the health and safety of smoking 30 years ago.

THEY INSISTED SMOKING WAS SAFE AND WE ALL KNOW WHERE THAT ENDED UP!!!

Who would have thought about whether or not even SECOND-HAND SMOKE was dangerous!?!????"

Then don't smoke. What do cigarettes have to do with cell phones or cellular towers? What does covering up the dangers of smoking 50 years ago have to do mobile phone safety today? There is no logical connection. You might as well claim that because an asteroid strike wiped out the dinosaurs, cell towers will wipe out humanity. Again, no logical connection.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 6, 2013 at 1:14 pm

I tend to believe that "they" were afraid of radio waves, tv waves and even electric light in the home, when they all first came about.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bill
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 6, 2013 at 1:17 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


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Posted by Bill
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 6, 2013 at 1:25 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 6, 2013 at 1:58 pm

>The worst off are the children around there that wouldn't know any better until they develop leukemia 20 years later

There is, of course, no evidence for your alarmist claim. However, since the existing cell tower, at the fire station, is only about 130 meters away (in the 'danger zone', according to other alarmists), then make sure that your own kids don't bother playing little league baseball. Best to check out other youth activities around town, too...many of them are within the danger zones from cell towers.

Above all, make sure your kids are not vaccinated...why take a chance with possible autism? Let's not forget riding bicycles...very dangerous for kids on our public streets.

This thread has degenerated into the paranoid abyss, as most discussions of radiation do. I suggest that all those with such fears shut off their computer screens, and make sure their kids don't ever get in front of one. Otherwise, just let the kids play ball and use their cell phones.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Donald
a resident of South of Midtown
on Oct 6, 2013 at 5:10 pm

In the absence of extensive epidemiological data or a proven mechanism, there is no way to formulate a strategy of "prudent avoidance". A former head of Stanford EH&S pointed out that there may be windows of field level that are dangerous, with fields higher and lower being harmless (and there are hypothetical mechanisms that could behave this way). In that case, lowering your exposure could drop you from a harmless level to a harmful level. Most studies are retrospective and attempt to estimate what the actual exposure was, with very little accuracy and many uncontrolled variables. Even if you believe them they provide no guidance for creating a strategy of avoidance.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Oct 6, 2013 at 5:25 pm

@Bill

If you're worried that kids will develop leukemia in 20 years, how do you explain the kids who have already grown up being exposed to cell phone signals for 20+ years don't have higher rates of leukemia or anything like it?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by PALL Should Be Ashamed
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Oct 6, 2013 at 5:27 pm

John: "Palo Alto Little League is rare,... in that it owns its land and facilities. This means it needs to pay the maintenance bills .... It gets no financial support from the city coffers, not even irrigation water. Just basic things like keeping the parking lot paved, is a huge cost...."

Ha ha!! You do realize that no other sport in Palo Alto owns it's own land (which was a GIFT) and that other sports are also not subsidized by the city, right? All of the other sports have to live within their budget, raise fees or have fund raisers as needed. All other sports have to RENT space to play, and guess what, THERE ISN'T ENOUGH SPACE so there is over-crowding and limited field time! Not a problem PALL has.

As a property owner I also have to pay to irrigate my own yard and pave my own driveway - It goes with property ownership! I can't put in a cell tower though, or 60' light poles, or a loudspeaker to play music that is heard for blocks around. I also can't put buildings with generators right on my property line, as their plan proposes.

Palo Alto Little League is indeed unique - they are more fortunate than any other sports league around! Do you know why they want more lights? So they can build a lighted T-Ball field - that is their justification for needing more lights at the back corner. Really - T-ballers need lights now? And, won't that increase their electric and water bills even more? If the PALL board was RESPONSIBLE and appreciated what they have and have been given, and maintained it instead of demanding more, more, more, they would be just fine.

If the parents of Little Leaguers want all of those wonderful amenities, they can vote on fee increases or volunteer for fundraisers. But if the argument is that PALL can't afford to maintain that beautiful piece of property then they should do what the rest of us property owners would be forced to do: sell it and find something they can afford or rent something, just like all the other sports leagues.

Throwing up an industrial cell tower that negatively impacts the neighborhood is, indeed, just selfish and callous.

And by the way, that piece of property is worth MILLIONS, so the $500K in assets is either something else or only the "taxed" value is being used in their financials. No other sports league has that kind of operating budget, or OPTIONS!

Only in Palo Alto could such a fortunate organization feel so entitled, even at the expense of the community.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 6, 2013 at 5:45 pm

I am really shocked at the negative attitude towards PALL.

My family has been involved with PALL over the years and although we don't have anyone involved now, I still tend to think that the Ballpark is a Palo Alto asset that we should be helping rather than hindering.

Do you realize that we have lost a bowling alley and other children friendly activities in this area and yet more and more families are moving here? What will the kids do when there are so many kids and not enough field space to give them an opportunity to do sport in their own neighborhoods.

And, if in the unlikely event (but suggested by some in the above comments) that PALL should go somewhere else and sell the land because it is worth so much, what would we get? I will tell you. We would get condos and townhomes with lots more people with children and nothing for them to do.

I strongly suggest that we support PALL for all the good they do for our children. We need more kid friendly groups in Palo Alto and we need more facilities for our kids to get exercise in the open air.

With all the protests for cell towers around town, we now have mini towers on many utility poles around town. If Verizon don't get this, what will they do instead? I expect they will put mini towers on even more utility poles, perhaps outside the homes of those neighbors who are protesting about PALL.


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Posted by John
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 6, 2013 at 6:21 pm

Ashamed, you need to get your facts straight. PALL was not a gift, its loan was paid off over 50 years ago. The moms did fundraising and materials donations, and the dads did the tractor work and physical work. It was a real Norman Rockwell type of story. Something to be proud of as a city.

PALL does a good job maintaining its site, and it is a real resource for kids and parents. Not to mention the general benefit for the police and parents who park there, while doing their various duties. If the PALL parking lot was not available, the Mitchell Park library would be even more behind than it is now.

PALL is not in it for profit, so no way it will sell that property.

This is becoming the theatre of the absurd.

You should be ashamed.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by PALL Should Be Ashamed!
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 7, 2013 at 1:03 pm

PALL Should Be Ashamed! is a registered user.

@Resident: The negative attitude toward PALL is based on their attitude toward the parents and neighbors that are opposed to this intrusion - they couldn't care less about what anyone else thinks and have said so repeatedly. That's not very neighborly, and is why the neighbors and parents have gotten so upset at them.

Sorry if my point was lost - I am not advocating that PALL sell the ball field or be shut down - I am objecting to John "crying poor" on behalf of PALL. They are a very wealthy sports league that has more than enough resources to support their own program without intruding on the neighbors and parents who do not want a cell tower in their residential neighborhood. PALL wants the money to add more amenities, not water the lawn.

Anyone can donate to PALL If they so choose, but putting up a cell tower that is ugly, potentially dangerous (see studies below) and will lower property values in the area is not fair. That FORCES others to pay for the sole benefit of Little League families. I bet you would have the same issue if you were going to be negatively impacted for someone else's sole benefit - PALL is no charity case.

How about we get a bond on the ballot - every homeowner in Palo Alto can be taxed to support PALL since it is a city-wide kids resource. Most people would be in an uproar, yet that would be much more fair that what is being proposed here.

PALL can support their own program without a cell tower. This is a step from which there will be no turning back. There will be nothing to stop them from adding more once there is a "status quo" in the eyes of the city and Architecture Review Board. Once Verizon has their foot in the door and an easement on the property they will be able to add more. AT&T is already being cc'd on communications by the NSA Wireless, the company that is managing this project.

This is not even good for PALL in the longterm but they are not thinking strategically - only a short-sighted view of what they think will get them a new T-Ball field and covered bleachers now. When technology changes and cell towers are no longer the technology of the day, who will pay to remove them?

Example of property value impact: Web Link

Health studies:
Other countries have more stringent RF safety levels:
• Researchers in Germany monitored 1,000 inhabitants living close to a cell tower. The results show that the proportion of newly developing cancer was significantly higher from among those patients who had lived during the past ten years at a distance of up to 400 meters from the cellular transmission site. After five years of exposure, the relative risk of getting cancer had trebled for the residents of the area in proximity of the installation compared to the inhabitants outside the area. The study, The Influence of Being Physically Near to a Cell Phone Transmission Mast on the Incidence of Cancer, is available as a PDF. There are additional studies that have been published, all by scientists in other countries showing a relationship between health and exposure to RF. Recent studies show health issues with exposure to to RF (radio frequency) cell towers. These are published studies:
• Epidemiological Evidence for a Health Risk from Mobile Phone Base Stations
International Journal of Occupational & Evironmental Health: 2010 16:263-267
Eight of the 10 studies reported increased prevalence of adverse neurobehavioral symptoms or cancer in populations living at distances < 500 meters from base stations. None of the studies reported expo- sure above accepted international guidelines, suggesting that current guidelines may be inadequate in protecting the health of human populations.
• (France – 2003) People living within 300 meters of cell antennas reported the following disorders: "fatigue, sleep disturbances, headaches, feeling of discomfort, difficulty concentrating, depression, memory loss, visual disruptions, irritability, hearing disruptions, skin problems, cardiovascular disorders, and dizziness." (Survey Study of People Living in the Vicinity of Cellular Phone Base Stations. Santini 2003, Electromagnetic Biology & Medicine, Vol. 22 (1): 41-49.)
• Spain (2003): "Exposed individuals lived within 50 and 150 meters of the base station…experienced more headaches, sleep disturbances, irritability, difficulty concentrating, discomfort, dizziness, appetite loss and nausea."
• (Ibid., citing: The Microwave Syndrome: A Preliminary Study in Spain. [Navarro, E.A., J. Segura, M. Portoles, C. G-P de Mateo. 2003. Electromagnetic Biology & Medicine, Vol. 22 (2): 161-169.])


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Posted by JerryL
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Oct 7, 2013 at 1:48 pm

JerryL is a registered user.

This really is getting absurd. PALL & Verizon have bent over backwards to respond to the earlier complaints/recommendations of neighbors. The cell antennas have been moved farther away from Middlefield Road and, by combining them with the light tower, the appearance complaints and criticism of the color of the "fake tree" have been pretty well addressed. Now, it seems to me, about a half dozen members of our neighborhood, are showing that they won't be satisfied by any mitigation measures. Those against the PALL are a tiny fraction of the neighbors (based on the meeting I was at) and even a fraction of neighbors living across from the park (based on conversations with one such neighbor).


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Posted by WallyS
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Oct 7, 2013 at 2:24 pm

WallyS is a registered user.

"Not an issue:" Since turn-about is fair play, can we count on you cover the 20-25% loss in our property values when this tower goes in? Apparently, you think your property values will not suffer, so it's only fair you shoulder the financial burden for this tower that you are arguing so hard for.

John, Kazu: Can you please point to one study that definitively rules out any health risks associated with cell towers? I've seen many studies that do show increased health problems, including the multiplication of cancer incidence, but from you folks I've seen only sarcasm and hearsay. THAT is what is causing the degeneration of the argument. Just as Ken Allen does repeatedly by labeling people who disagree with him as "not rational" and our concerns as "unfounded."

Will you personally guarantee that cell phone towers are safe and no buyer will walk away because of the ugly thing out the window? Because the government won't make that guarantee, the city won't, Verizon won't, and I'm betting PALL won't either. The government's last official stance on the safety of cell towers was in the Telecommunications Act of 1996. 1996!

Talk is cheap – let's see these pro-tower people put some skin in the game, like those of us who are against it have.


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Posted by muttiallen
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Oct 7, 2013 at 5:42 pm

muttiallen is a registered user.

The neighbors are objecting to the tower as a health hazard, not to the light pole. It won't be any uglier than the other light poles. It won't make their property values go down. The big flag pole on East Meadow (Sprint) and the fake 'tree' behind Achieve School (T-Mobile) are already here and most of the neighbors are glad. There are about 3 or 4 people making all the fuss. Let's just build the thing! It's a win-win. Money and more lights for Little League. Better cell service for the rest of us.


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Posted by PALL Should Be Ashamed!
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 7, 2013 at 6:36 pm

PALL Should Be Ashamed! is a registered user.

[Portion removed.] I'm going to recommend a DAS system and that the antennas be placed next to the home of all the people complaining about coverage - all they have to do is sign up. Easy solution. Win-win!

[Portion removed.]


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Posted by neighboramn
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Oct 7, 2013 at 10:08 pm

neighboramn is a registered user.

@muttiallen, Yes the neighbors are objecting the cell tower for many reasons, including health concern, lowering property value, and esthetics, among others. Yes, we are also objecting to the installation of two additional light poles.

There is no demonstrated need for installing two additional light poles with lighting fixtures surrounding the Little League Park. Even with their existing lighting fixtures, the Little League has not managed them well. They wasted a lot of energy, caused light pollution and hurted the good will of its neighbors, because these lights remain on sometimes over long nights, outside of baseball seasons, under pouring rains in winters, and with no players in sight. If the Palo Alto Little League Inc. wants to have new light poles, they should submit their own application and subject to separate reviewing process, instead of having them bundled together with the COMMERCIAL Cell Tower proposal.


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