SB 649 is Bad for Your Community: Corporate Interests vs. Good Governance
The League, and over 215 cities, are OPPOSED to SB 649 (as amended June 20) related to the permitting of wireless and small cell telecommunications facilities. Mayors of six of California's largest cities have sent Sen. Hueso a letter opposing the measure.
This proposal represents a major shift in telecommunications policy and law by 1) requiring local governments to lease out the public’s property; 2) cap how much cities can lease this space out for, eliminate the ability for cities to negotiate public benefits; 3) the public’s input and full discretionary review in all communities of the state except for areas in coastal zones and historic districts, for the installation of “small cell” wireless equipment.
As amended, the bill is no longer limited to just “small cells.” SB 649 now applies broadly to all telecommunications providers and the equipment they use from “micro-wireless” to “small cell” to “macro-towers.” It’s clear from the direction of this bill, that the intent is not about 5G wireless deployment, but rather local deregulation of the entire telecommunications industry. This latest version places a new ban on city/county regulation of placement or operation of “communication facilities” within and outside the public right of way far beyond “small cells.” This new language would extend local preemption of regulation to any “provider authorized by state law to operate in the rights of way,” which can include communications facilities installed for services such as gas, electric, and water, leaving cities and counties with limited oversight only over “small cells.”
Despite the wireless industry’s claim that the equipment would be “small” in their attempt to justify this special permitting and price arrangement solely for their industry, the bill would allow for antennas as large as six cubic feet, equipment boxes totaling 35 cubic feet (larger than previous bill version of 21 cubic feet), with no size or quantity limitations for the following equipment: electric meters, pedestals, concealment elements, demarcation boxes, grounding equipment, power transfer switches, and cutoff switches.
In the Press
- Times Standard, Capitol tracker: Cities, counties oppose telecom bill, July 17, 2017
- East Bay Times Editorial, California should butt out of cities' deals with telecom companies, July 16, 2017
- UCLA Daily Bruin Editorial, SB 649 needs to be vetoed to preserve local government power, July 16, 2017
- CBS 13 (Sacramento), Cities, Counties Line Up Against Bill Removing Limits on Cell Transmitters, July 12, 2017
- KCAL 9 (Los Angeles), story on SB 649, July 12, 2017
- ABC 7 (San Francisco), story on SB 649, July 12, 2017
- KERO ABC (Bakersfield), story on SB 649, July 12, 2017
- KPIX CBS (San Francisco), story on SB 649, July 12, 2017
- Op-Ed, Rosemead City Council Member Sandra Armenta, San Bernardino Sun, Telecom bill would hurt California's poorer, inland cities, July 11, 2017
- KQED, Morning Edition story on SB 649, July 11, 2017
- KFI Radio, Coast to Coast AM story on SB 649, July 11, 2017
- KNX Radio, story on SB 649, July 10, 2017
- Public News Service, Hearing Wednesday on Spread of High-Power Cell Towers, July 10, 2017
- Pleasanton Weekly Editorial, Wireless facility bill will circumvent local control, July 10, 2017
- George Skelton, Los Angeles Times, AT&T and Verizon want free rein to put up new wireless transmitters in your neighborhood. Here's why that's a bad idea, July 10, 2017
- 48 Hills, Cell-phone companies try to ram through bill blocking local control of transmitters, July 10, 2017
- Sacramento Bee Editorial, Democratic legislators take bold stands, except when they don't, July 9, 2017
- San Jose Mercury News, Cities fight bill to streamline cell antenna installations, July 6, 2017
- Yolo County Supervisor Don Saylor represented the 180 cities and dozens of counties opposed to SB 649 on Southern California Public Radio's Air Talk with Larry Mantle, July 5, 2017
- Editorial, An audaious 5G power (pole) grab, Los Angeles Times, July 5, 2017
- League Executive Director Carolyn Coleman, CSAC Executive Director and RCRC Executive Director Greg Norton op-ed, Why wireless industry bill is a triple rip-off for Californians, Sacramento Bee, June 27, 2017
- San Francisco Chronicle Editorial Board, California lawmakers must reject telecoms' cell phone power grab, June 27, 2017
- San Diego Union Tribune, Proposed state law would shrink control cities have over cell tower installations, David Garrick, June 27, 2017
- Sacramento Bee op-ed, Why wireless industry is a triple rip-off for Californians, League of California Cities Executive Director Carolyn Coleman, California State Association of Counties Executive Director Matt Cate and Rural County Representatives of California Executive Director Greg Norton, June 27, 2017
- San Francisco Chronicle op-ed, Bill seeks to bypass city controls on where telecom equipment goes, San Francisco Supervisor Mark Farrell and San Francisco Public Utilities Commission General Manager Harlan L. Kelly Jr., June 26, 2017
Take Action and Call Your Assembly Member to Tell Them Why SB 649 is Bad For Your Community
SB 649 will be heard on Wednesday, June 28th at 1:30pm in Assembly Local Government Committee.
The bill will also be heard in Assembly Communications and Conveyance Committee. Although SB 649 is not yet calendared for this committee, it is eligible to be heard on the very same day at the same time, June 28 at 1:30 p.m.
- SB 649 ties the hands of local government by prohibiting discretionary review of “small cell” wireless antennas and related equipment, regardless of whether they will be collocated on existing structures or located on new "poles, structures, or non-pole structures," including those within the public right-of-way.
- SB 649 shuts out the public from the permitting process and preempts adopted local land use plans by mandating that “small cells” be allowed in all zones as a use by-right.
- SB 649 provides a de facto exemption to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) for the installation of such facilities and precludes consideration by the public of the aesthetic, nuisance impacts, and other environmental impacts of these facilities.
- SB 649 will cap lease agreements for use of public property at $250 (it was $850 under the prior version of the bill) annually per attachment rates for each “small cell.” In contrast, some cities have been able to negotiate leases for “small cells” upwards of $3,000, while others have negotiated “free” access to public property in exchange for a host of tangible public benefits. The cap lease agreement is problematic because these leases provide your local government with revenue that can goes back to public services in your community. The net effect with this cap lease agreement is that your local government could cutback services in your community.
|If you have an Assembly Member on either of these committees, please CALL OR TEXT your Assembly Member as soon as possible and urge their NO vote. Talking points are included in this alert.
|ASSEMBLY COMMUNICATIONS AND CONVEYANCE
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|Santiago, Miguel (Chair)
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