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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Guardian Cell-Phone Antennas Approved; Opponents Vow Appeal

Posted By on Thu, Mar 25, 2010 at 6:33 PM

click to enlarge Veteran Bayview-Hunters Point activist Espanola Jackson speaks out against the Guardian project
  • Veteran Bayview-Hunters Point activist Espanola Jackson speaks out against the Guardian project

Foes Assert Project is Un-American, Will Hurt Children...

The San Francisco Planning Commission today unanimously approved San Francisco Bay Guardian Publisher Bruce Brugmann's application to rent the rooftop of his newspaper offices to T-Mobile for cellular antennas over the opposition of dozens of his neighbors.

The approval came despite staunch opposition to the project from multiple members of the public, who successfully lobbied to have it removed from the commission's "consent agenda" -- which is typically reserved for routine, uncontroversial projects -- so they could voice their dissent in a full hearing. After the commission's vote, neighborhood activists said they would appeal the decision.

"I ask you to help protect our children," Leslie de Taillandier, who fears for the safety of her 11-year-old in a city replete with cell-phone towers, told commissioners. "Please, do not give the permit to allow another cellular antenna on top of the Bay Guardian." Other protesters included Bayview-Hunters Point mainstay Espanola Jackson and anti-cellular activist-about-town Sudi Scull, who

wears a special hat to protect herself from electromagnetic radiation.

click to enlarge Yvonne Gavre (left), a neighbor of the Guardian, has led the charge against Brugmann's cellular project
  • Yvonne Gavre (left), a neighbor of the Guardian, has led the charge against Brugmann's cellular project
Steven Krolik, who also spoke out against the project, said proponents of cell-phone towers are enemies of the United States. "It is un-American and unconstitutional not to address the harmful effects of radio frequencies," Krolik said. "The domestic enemies of our Constitution are here, and not out there."

click to enlarge Sudi Scull, who urged planning commissioners to reject the Guardian project, wears a special hat to guard against radio waves
  • Sudi Scull, who urged planning commissioners to reject the Guardian project, wears a special hat to guard against radio waves
Yvonne Gavre, who lives near the Guardian building in Potrero Hill, said she and other neighbors plan to appeal the project. Of the 15 such appeals that have been filed with the Board of Supervisors since 2001, all but three have been successful and resulted in a decision against the wireless carrier, according to Doug Loranger of the San Francisco Neighborhood Antenna-Free Union (SNAFU). Gavre said today that she has collected 55 signatures in five days from residents and business owners in Potrero Hill on a petition opposing the Guardian antennas.

Planner Diego Sanchez said his office has been deluged with "dozens and dozens of calls and e-mails from members of the public" who oppose the project since Monday. Village Voice Media Executive Editor Michael Lacey -- head of SF Weekly's parent company -- sent a letter to Guardian neighbors and other city residents late last week informing them of the project and the upcoming commission meeting. The letter noted the Guardian's past reporting on potential health problems resulting from cell-phone antenna exposure.

Brugmann and his employees have sharply criticized SF Weekly's coverage of their controversial cell-phone project. In a comment responding to a blog post about the petition against the antennas earlier this week, Guardian City Editor Steven T. Jones assailed Your Correspondent as an "errand boy" engaged in "laughably contrived, deceptively presented, and transparently self-serving attacks" on his newspaper.

Please, Steve. Think of the children.

Photos   |   Frank Gaglione

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Peter Jamison

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