|October 19, 2012||The Scary Truth Behind the Charter School Amendment||3 comments|
|August 23, 2012||When Pointing a Finger, Some Politicians Better Make Sure They Aren't Facing a Mirror||1 comments|
|July 07, 2012||We Need a Moratoria on Cell Tower Construction||no comments|
|June 13, 2012||Don't "Cell" Out Our Children! Vote NO to Cell Towers on July 31!||no comments|
I may not live in South Dekalb, but I have plenty of friends who do. I have lived in this county since 1999 and have worked as a physical therapist in just about every neighborhood, clinic, hospital or other facility you can name. As a contract employee, I can be assigned to one part of town for several months, or for just a week or two. And, with home health growing quickly in popularity, it is not uncommon for you to see physical and occupational therapists, RNs and other healthcare professionals on a regular basis coming into and out of every neighborhood. We treat people of every size, shape, color, ethic background, economic status, political party and religious belief that can possibly be out there.
When I say that you know me, I mean it. You likely know me, have met me, or else you know someone who does. I have treated your family members, neighbors, buesiness associates and friends. Every patient I see is a human being that I have tried to help during a time when they are injured, sick or suffering in some way. And, I work to the best of my ability to get them back on their feet so they can get back to their lives and to doing the things they love.
So, when someone tells me that I do not understand a particular community, I take offense to that. It has been my job to understand and I have been told that I am good at what I do. So, perhaps it is not me who has a problem with understanding. Perhaps others do not understand me and why I would choose to speak out on an issue such as the cell towers planned for public schools in DeKalb, especially when my child's school was already removed from the list exactly one year ago this week.
Why would I still be mad about this issue? Why do I tell everyone I come in contact with about it? I'll tell you why... because it is wrong and it should not happen in this county, at our schools, to our children - any of our children. And there is not a person on the school board, or in the county office who will convince me otherwise because I know how the events went down because I lived it. There was deception from the beginning as those in charge decided to downplay and hide what they were doing. They held meetings they did not want anyone to attend and later spoke about how the fact that no one attended must mean that we were all okay with what they were doing.
We have not been able to find out how this subject even surfaced as a means for additional school system revenue, but it was not due to it being a good thing for the children or a way to improve our graduation rates, I can tell you that much. I have never met a parent who wants a cell phone tower at their child's school or a homeowner who wants one to go up near their home. No one in favor of cell phone towers in residential communities bothered to show up during the three hours of testimonies that were given during the cell tower hearings. But there were a lot of of people who were opposed to the idea.
And, after the hearings, that were set up by Karla Drenner (D - Avondale Estates), there was little or nothing more to be said by the folks who were present to support a proposed ban on the towers. Where did they all go? Why are they not speaking up right now to warn you about the cell tower referendum question that will be on your ballot July 31?
Our group, Get the Cell Out, has been the only one speaking up that has absolutely nothing to gain. We have been speaking out about what information we learned and what responses we received from the politicians and other officials we contacted. We have urged everyone in DeKalb to work together in protest on this issue as it is the only way we can truly protect our neighborhoods and children from the dangers of cell phone towers on their school grounds, both the known and unknown dangers.
We have proudly worked with Unhappy Taxpayer and Voter to bring forth the truth behind the towers so that the people could stand up for their own rights as parents, taxpayers, homeowners and concerned citizens. And we have written and called the CEO, the Director of Public Works, the Director of Planning and Sustainability and others to ask that any permits for construction be routed through the county commissioners as that would be the proper process. But, we have received only a few vauge replies.
Most recently we asked the county commissioners to place a moratoria on all cell tower construction for the next 6 months so that we do not see construction begin without proper permits or under unrealistic deadlines that would require them to be completed before school begins in early August. But, a moratoria on cell towers will likely happen only if your county commissioners hear from you on this subject, too.
We can only do so much. Our goal has been to share the information as we have learned it ourselves. But, if you have a cell tower slated for your child's school or your neighborhood, the last stages of this fight will have to be left up to you. We estimate July 12 as the cutoff date for T-mobile to back out without penalty. After that, construction is likely to begin Aug. 1 and end before school starts.
If you feel your rights are being violated, please contact a lawyer in zoning, environmental, civil rights or FHA to deermine your next steps. You may also refer to our website for more details: www.GETtheCELLoutATL.org, "Like" us on Facebook and sign the countywide petition: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/GTCO-ATL.
Ths is not legal advice. This is just friendly advice from someone that you know, whether you know it or not.
Don't forget to vote NO on the cell tower referendum ballot question on July 31. And, research your options for school board representative as they decide the future of our county by the decisions they make about the education of our children today!
Many people have asked me about the short speech I gave at the DeKalb Board of Education meeting in November of 2011 during the public comments portion of the meeting. So, I'm reprinting it here as a reminder to everyone that the school board elections are right around the corner.
If you do not know whether or not a candidate or incumbant would vote in favor or against a cell tower at your child's school or next to your home, I suggest you find out before deciding whether or not that person should be able to represent you.
My wife and I have been speaking out against cell towers on school grounds since one was proposed for our child's school last year. After it was removed from consideration, we remained involved because we felt it was not right for these towers to be placed at any school in any part of our county.
Unfortunately, efforts made to ban the towers completely left us with a "non-binding advisory referendum" on the upcoming ballot. While they call it an "advisory" referendum, you know that means it will likely be used to determine which areas of DeKalb will be the best places for them to try putting up the next round of towers once the first 8 go up. (Smoke Rise, Briarlake, ML King High, Princeton, Narvie J. Harris, Margaret Harris, Jolly, Flat Rock.)
There will be a question on the July 31 ballot about this issue. It will ask you if the DeKalb School system should "place or operate telecommunications towers" at any public or charter school. WE hope you will agree that putting children at risk from a health and safety standpoint should never be an option, no atter how deserate the county is for money. You are urged to vote NO!
Please vote NO to "telecommunications towers" at any public school and warn others aabout the importance of showing up to vote July 31, or your school or neighborhood might be next!*****************************
PUBLIC COMMENT MADE DURING NOVEMBER 2011 BOE PUBLIC MEETING:
I would be cordial and greet you here tonight, but I know you guys don’t want to hear from me, but here it goes again. It makes me sick that I even have to come up here and talk about cell towers. As a father, it makes me sick to tell my daughter that her life would be at risk, whether you guys believe it or not.
You guys seem to think that it doesn’t show any risk factors. But, I’m also a physical therapist and I work in a bone marrow unit and I work with leukemia patients every day. Come in to my work if you don’t think something like this exists. Picture one of your loved ones sitting in that bed. They can’t do anything, frail and weak. They didn’t ask for it. But, for some reason you guys think it is okay to expose children to this? I don’t get it.
I was also a boxer. I have been in hundreds of fights. And every time I think of what you guys have done, it feels like someone sucker punched me from behind. And. I feel that way every day I have to think about this.
I got in my truck the day we found out. I got in my truck and went to my neighbors with pen and paper and got signatures. I said, “Did anybody tell you that this was going on?” Not a single person knew. Not a single one. And we came and we told you guys that and you said, “Oh we haven’t seen any factors that we would think it would be dangerous.
B.S. There is a dirty little secret and we are going to uncover it. You are not going to get away with it. I promise you that. Again, it makes me sick that I even have to bring this up. The fact that we’ve been lied to by our principal. Let’s just talk about notification. Our principal said, “We didn’t know anything. We were just told to put the information in the children’s backpacks…. in my three year old’s backpack, isn’t that pleasant? That’s a sweet thing in pre-K.
SO…. We go to the principal and she says, “We didn’t know.” So we go to the PTA and they say “We didn’t know.” And at first they are all up and arms about it and then they say, “We can’t take a stand on issues like this.” So we are left in the dark. So, we have to continue to seek the answers.
Not a single person has told me, not a single person, a positive that is coming out of this. Except, “Oh, the schools are going get money.” $25,000 hush money for the PTA? That’s not acceptable. The cost of somebody’s bone marrow transplant doesn’t cover the cost of a single payment that we will ever get. I don’t get it. And, God forbid… (pause)… I don’t ever want to wish any illness on anybody, but again, come in to my work, step one foot in the bone marrow transplant unit and I guarantee you will rip those cell towers out of there.
(to the board) Bad people... It’s not nice.
****************************************** end public comment
To watch the video of this and other protesters from the School Board Meeting last Novemer, go to: http://view.liveindexer.com/ViewIndexSessionSLMQ.aspx?indexSessionSKU=MekWaHPZMrYBy4Wd4iUaZQ==
For more details, go to: www.GETtheCELLoutATL.org. And, to learn about school board candidates who oppose cell towers on school grounds, you can also "like" us on Facebook.