We had one thousand page views over the last week (1006 to be exact), a new record for this site. There have been 27 views in the last hour it took to compose this post alone. Thanks to all who took a look and a special thanks those who took the time to contact us.
The reason for our blog
We started this blog back in May without much fanfare. Our intent was to document our findings regarding Crown Castle’s proposed AT&T small cell deployment in Palos Verdes, California. As you can see from this photo simulation, Crown Castle’s “small cells” aren’t all that small, particularly if they want to locate it in your front yard.
Crown Castle photo simulation of a proposed streetlight cell tower site in a residential neighborhood (Via Rivera) in Rancho Palos Verdes.
As we dug into it, we were truly astonished by the quantity of misleading site documentation, highly questionable technical claims, and false legal claims of entitlement. Even more surprising to us was that these tactics were seemingly accepted, no one questioned it, this was just how the game was played. It sort of reminded us of when you take your car to the body shop and the guy asks you if need a a real estimate or one for the insurance company (wink, wink).
We find this behavior highly offensive. Consider that Crown Castle and the others claim an entitlement to place highly intrusive cell towers in residential neighborhoods right next to people’s homes. No one wants a commercial telecommunication facility right next to their house. They are ugly, often noisy, and have a significant negative impact on neighboring home values. Would you buy a home with an obvious cell tower several dozen feet away? For most families their home is their biggest investment. Yet these good folks are just supposed to suck it up and accept it so that these companies can hit their return on investment targets.
When it happens people feel helpless and with good reason. It’s a David vs. Goliath situation, as a multi-billion dollar corporation has invaded their quiet little street allegedly justified by a bunch lofty legalese and technical mumbo-jumbo. Even worse, the governing municipality whose primary obligation is to serve residents, often responds with “there is nothing we can do about it”. It’s not true of course, but no one in City Hall wants a lawsuit on their watch. City staff may not be consciously thinking about it, but who would they rather have mad at them; a few residents or a sue-happy corporation?
Regarding the technical issues, well these guys are the experts and if they say it then it must be true, right? Actually, no. The level of false technical claims we’ve found and documented is truly staggering. These “errors” could conceivably result from carelessness and incompetence rather than deception, though they do always seem to be to the cell tower applicant’s advantage. It certainly doesn’t seem to be random. If it is, these guys should head to Vegas as they’re on a hot streak.
What we aim to accomplish
We first started this blog after finding there was nothing on the internet like it. The problems we were finding in Palos Verdes were systemic and we had a hard time believing they were isolated to our community. Our goals were four-fold:
- Maintain an accessible repository for relevant information and documentation regarding Crown Castle’s AT&T deployment
- Inform Palos Verdes residents regarding the discrepancies we’ve uncovered, of our municipal rights to regulate these sites, and what residents can do about it
- Provide a resource for those in other communities who may be in a similar situation
- Document discrepancies in the event of future legal action
With regards to the last point, we’ve only put up a sampling of what we’ve found as it’s probably best not to show all one’s cards. But here’s the thing, if a multi-billion dollar corporation is going to demand an entitlement to place a highly intrusive cell site right next to someone’s home, they better make sure every freaking “i” is dotted and “t” is crossed. As anyone who follows these cases closely knows, this type of carelessness is the stuff that loses lawsuits. Instead the submitted documentation is laughable. Let’s just say the level of “carelessness” we’ve found is truly astounding.
Thanks to all that have visited the site. We got a bunch of new emails via our contact page this week and are working to get back to everyone. Please bookmark us and check back regularly as we usually put up new posts once a week or so.
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