Dozens of new wireless facilities proposed for Palo Alto | May 20, 2011 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - May 20, 2011

Dozens of new wireless facilities proposed for Palo Alto

City seeks to improve wireless coverage while protecting neighborhood aesthetics

by Gennady Sheyner

Ready or not, dozens of new wireless-communications facilities will soon be on the way to Palo Alto.

This story contains 803 words.

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Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner can be emailed at


Posted by Mark, a resident of University South
on May 17, 2011 at 12:34 am

Personally, it worries me that there are areas in Palo Alto where if I make a 9-1-1 call on my phone, the cell reception could be so bad that my call gets dropped. I'm not sure if this concern is justified, but this is a life-safety concern.

Posted by Concerned Parent and Resident, a resident of Midtown
on May 17, 2011 at 7:55 am

I think the key is responsible placement of cell towers. Placing them near our most vulnerable populations who have no say in the matter should be our greatest concern. That is why I'm opposed placing cell towers near schools. Children are most vulnerable to the potential harm of radiation from cell towers, and they have no say as to whether or not these are placed near schools (where they go to every day for years on end). I think the best place to locate these cell towers are in industrial areas. Also keep in mind that cell towers can be tweaked to extend coverage range.

Posted by svatoid, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on May 17, 2011 at 8:26 am

svatoid is a registered user.

"Placing them near our most vulnerable populations who have no say in the matter should be our greatest concern."
Why? What are these populations vulnerable to?

"Children are most vulnerable to the potential harm of radiation from cell towers,"
Please provide proof for your claim. This is another example of a cheap scare tactic.
As many people will tell you and the scientific evidence shows there is no evidence of harm from cell towers. Many people will say that there is more harm from holding a cell phone to your ear (if there is any harm at all).
Do you use a cell phone?
What about radiation from wifi or electrical wiring?

These claims by NIMBYIsts and know-nothings are ridiculous. we just went through a whole soap opera over this orchestrated by a husband and wife team who promptly packed up and left town. They provided no proof whatsoever for their claims. Of course, this was no problem for our city council and architectual review board who had no problem kowtowing to them.

Posted by Read, a resident of Palo Verde
on May 17, 2011 at 9:33 am

Web Link

Please read before making a conclusion about the "dangerous" levels of radio frequency.

Posted by It's-In-The-Air, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 17, 2011 at 9:56 am

From reading this article, there does not seem to be any specific direction on the part of the Council to Staff to expedite cell phone tower applications. As usual, a lot of talk, but nothing concrete in the words.

One of the things that would be interesting is to have a coverage map created by the various vendors, and made available on the City's web-site. This coverage map would provide information about signal strength, and radiation densities, at locations around the city. Also, it might be interesting to also include the average upload/download speeds, by carrier, on this map. These numbers might vary, depending on a number of factors, but the bigger the numbers, the better for the cell phone user.

Some interesting data from the various consultants. However, no data about the number of cell phone users who live/work in Palo Alto, or the number of calls a day that are made, or the number of dropped calls that occur every day. Dropped call data is recorded by the carriers, so this sort of information is available, on a per-tower basis. Interesting, that none of our august City Council members didn't ask questions about just how good/bad the current cell service is. No doubt that might be embarrassing to some carriers, but if they want more towers, then there has to be a reason.

Let's hope that the towers are approved, and the community can move on to more important matters.

Posted by From Evergreen, a resident of Evergreen Park
on May 17, 2011 at 11:17 am

If young people are so "vulnerable" to mobile phone towers "radiation" how can it be I see so many of them, including those that look to be middle school age and even younger, using cell phones that appear to be their own, presumably provided to them and paid for by their parents?

Posted by huh, a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 17, 2011 at 11:23 am

It amazes me that we supposedly have one of the most highly-educated populations of any city in the US, and yet the unscientific rantings of the neo-aluminum-foil-hat crowd are allowed to derail progress. I think all that higher education must teach people how to get their way by being obstructionist.

The only possibly persuasive argument I have heard against residential location of cell towers is their emission of noise. Any factual accounts of the intensity and range of the noise?

Posted by Annie Noid, a resident of Palo Verde
on May 17, 2011 at 11:38 am


This makes TOTAL SENSE. It explains why my cat refuses to come when called. The cell tower radiation has cooked her brain and she can no longer make the logical choice of returning into the house when her name is called.

Since cats have thin skulls...the cell tower radiation damages her brain resulting high cat stupidity.

I'll certainly be able to prevent additional damage by making her wear the beautiful aluminum foil shielding hat and coat I knitted last summer when they were threatening to put up a new cell tower at Eichler Swim and Tennis Club.

Thank you so much for keeping me informed.

Posted by Jason C, a resident of Downtown North
on May 17, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Web Link

Web Link

Web Link

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on May 17, 2011 at 12:33 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

svatoid, for once you got it right. Stout fellow!

Posted by Douglas Moran, a resident of Barron Park
on May 17, 2011 at 2:47 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

I watched the webcast of the session and was dismayed by the poor quality of advice the Council was getting. The consultant came across as a paper-shuffler with no feel for the technology or the issues (Example, his understanding of a femtocell seemed to be little more than "it's really small"). _Part_ of it may have been that he was jet-lagged or sleep-deprived, and he may have been doing the presentation with little prep.

The presentation by Joint Venture Silicon Valley was embarrassing, feeling like a quickly slapped together compendium of slogans and the like. However, some of the speakers during public comment were also from JVSV and came across as being better choices to have made the presentation.

I hope that Council and Staff were still able to concentrate by the time that public comment rolled around because several of the speakers made good points about some of the nonsense that had come before. One in particular was that it was wrong to regard cellular communications as inherently superior to other distribution scheme--that what is important is the content and how effectively it is carried. If I had been there, I would have added that ensuring that people waiting for a restaurant table could play Angry Birds, rather than talking to each other, is not a compelling need.

At least one member of Council seems infected by the notion that our ranking for cellular usage against other countries is important, ignoring that those "better" countries were forced to resort to cellular because install landlines was too expensive, either to create (developing countries) or to expand (built-out countries such as in Europe).

Posted by Anne Noid, a resident of Palo Verde
on May 17, 2011 at 4:54 pm

@ Jason C

What wonderful research you have uncovered. Well...that really does settle it. Cell phones not only fry cat brains (my cat is definitely has a fried brain due to cell phone radiation), but also kill honey bees.

At least there could be no reason to believe that a bunch of scientists standing around jabbering on cell phones near a bee hive could possibly stress bees out. Bees are way to smart for that.

Web Link

Posted by Kelly, a resident of Midtown
on May 17, 2011 at 6:23 pm

Why not just put up a big antenna on City Hall? Allow all the cell phone providers to rent a piece of it.

Posted by Canary in the Coal Mine, a resident of Downtown North
on May 17, 2011 at 6:26 pm

"To date, medical studies in this country and abroad overwhelmingly suggest that RF emissions are not a health risk."

This is the industry position, not a fact. Radio frequency emission limits in this country are based on the amount the microwaves cause physical heating of sample tissue. These obsolete "standards" do not take into account how microwave emissions effect the subtle energy signaling mechanisms used between cells of living beings. Please read The Bioinitiative Report Web Link

Or watch the recent video, Full Signal: Web Link

Mercola has some good information as well: Web Link

Posted by Resident, a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 18, 2011 at 12:04 pm

One issue which was not discussed on Monday night by Council but was raised when AT&T sponsored a meeting in the Cubberley Theater about six weeks ago.

The problem is noise. The proposed 80 antennas to be placed on top of Utility Poles and street light fixtures have a box about one-third the way up the pole. This box has a fan inside which emits a constant humming sound. If you live near one of these poles the constant humming sound may be really annoying. If you sleep with your window open you may hear it all night.

Posted by Ron T, a resident of Midtown
on May 18, 2011 at 9:34 pm

Very informative presentations. Thank you Planning Department staff and City Council for taking the initiative to hold this work shop and stimulate discussion on this important topic.

Posted by It's-In-The-Air, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 19, 2011 at 10:41 am

> constant humming sound may be really annoying. If you sleep with
> your window open you may hear it all night.

Will this noise be as load as Caltrain's whistles and bells blaring up to midnight, and starting again around 5AM? Or what about the noise from the Palo Alto airport? This is on-going most of the day?

And how loud is this noise? Anyone ask for the results of an audio measurement of the device? And did anyone ask about insulation to reduce the noise from these devices?

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