Cell Phone Tower
Photo courtesy of Yelm-based photographer Guustaaf Damave
Here are my observations of the interactions between the Clearwood Assn. members and their Board at their meeting today.
[Ed. Note: This writer was invited as the guest of one of the Clearwood property owners.]
1. Clearwood Assn. Board President Ron Smith stated up front that the NVN front page story about them being
offered a “boatload of money” was untrue, that the Board has not been contacted by any cell tower company.
The remark was a direct quote of this Blog writer from April 25:
[Ed. Note: Why on Earth these owners would want their pristine environment in which they invested invaded by a cell phone tower is beyond me. Is the loss of their protected community’s culture worth the so-called convenience of cell phones ringing by the lake or on summer walks – not to mention the frequencies affecting all around?
Ignorance IS bliss! Is some multi-national company throwing a boatload of money at the Clearwood Assn. that this even gets on the docket? With all of the homes in Clearwood with land line phones, the argument about safety just does not hold water, IMHO. ]
All I did was ask a question which had not been answered publicly prior to today.
2. The Board was read their Clearwood Assn. newsletter about the process for agreeing to a cell tower in Clearwood. Mr. Smith acknowledged the Newsletter was incorrect about the process for cell tower contact. The process is as follows:
The Clearwood members will vote to allow/not allow the Board to contact cell providers & solicit their interest.
If they vote allowing contact to move forward, then the next vote will be to permit a company and tower site.
3. One of the members brought up the the tax exempt status granted the Clearwood Community by Thurston County and stated her understanding is that if a corporate/for profit entity is allowed in the community, the community would lose its tax exempt & non-profit status. Mr. Smith answered by saying the community would have to pay taxes, yet the non-profit status would remain on some things. He stated their financial adviser had looked into this issue.
[Ed. Note: This lady brought up a very good point and the answers by Mr. Smith were far from reassuring. Were I a member, I would request another independent financial consultant and/or lawyer be hired to examine all sides of a cell tower placement vs. Clearwood’s tax exempt/non-profit status.].
4. Based on some of the comments by the members, many do not know the differences between cell tower microwave frequencies, radio waves, RFID, wi-fi and broadcast frequencies in general. A TV operates on a different frequency than a microwave, yet the 2 were compared as being safe. One lady spoke of the safety of microwave ovens in the home, yet failed to mention these are lead shielded even in the glass door, all microwave ovens suggest the user is a certain distance away when in use and an oven is a small percentage of the microwave frequency intensity of a cell tower.
5. The emotional tug “safety issue” about a having a cell phone in case a car goes into the Lake or a hiker trips and breaks his arm was mentioned by 2 members. However, no one mentioned the further endangerment of drivers driving down an already-dangrerous Bald Hills Rd. and using cell phones as a safety issue. HMMM!
Further, many companies offer a radio-signal-based pager that has operated safely for +40 years, as an alternative.
6. Were I a Clearwood Assn. member, I would want answered why and who gave the Board the authority to make preemptive contact with an engineer about a cell tower there, without a vote by the members. I would want to check the by-laws about the Board doing that. Perhaps that is perfectly within the by-laws to do. However, this observer found that the Board contacting an engineer on placement of a cell tower plus contacting a financial consultant on the affects of a cell tower to the Community’s tax exempt status WITHOUT PRIOR member authorization, was clearly something that needs to be addressed.
7. One property owner asked if the Clearwood Assn. Board would be considering the affects of a cell tower on property owners outside of & adjacent Clearwood, noting that cell tower frequencies know no fence boundary. She was told a resounding NO by Board President Smith, adding that the Board’s responsibility was only to what occurred within Clearwood boundaries.
[Ed. Note: That is a very myopic and short-sighted stand that COULD invite trouble for the Clearwood Assn., since a cell tower placed on a Clearwood perimeter would affect property values and potentially cause all of the same affects for neighbor’s land directly adjacent. This could leave the Assn. open to future litigation about cell tower affects on neighbors land, costing the members legal expenses, etc. This would be wise for the Board to consider
before saying NO outright to consideration of Clearwood neighbors’ concerns. Were I am member, I would want this considered.]
8. I would say there were about 100 people there and by a show of hands, the group was about 60% for, and 40% against a cell tower. While this is a small representation of the stated 3,000 residents, those that oppose the tower will have an uphill battle I must say. The lack of knowledge by many members about the harmful effects of microwave radiation emitted by cell towers coupled with the tug of emotion about having cellphone transmissions for safety will cause a cell tower to be voted in. Once that happens and the members agree on contacting a company, it’s all over because the boatload of money offered will be portrayed as handling all of Clearwood’s financial issues, many of which were described today and are numerous, indeed.
And, there WILL be a boatload of money once contact is made. All of this regardless that one member says he receives cellphone transmissions from his provider at Clearwood already – the nearest tower at Five Corners in Yelm.
Ben Franklin said:
“Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.”
The Clearwood society is to vote about giving up it’s liberty from the frequencies, “white noise”, health affects, lower property values, etc., etc., etc. to gain what it perceives as a little security just to make a cell phone from this place. They moved to Clearwood to get away from the city, its frequencies, and noise and to be out in the quiet of Mother Nature. There is enough evidence that the towers will displace bees, birds and other animals away from the tower.
Enjoy the eagles while you can.
Soon, they will be replaced by phone conversations on your hiking trails, cell phones ringing by the lake, and more cell companies tripping all over themselves to rent space on the approved company’s Clearwood cell tower.
If you would like to share your views with the Clearwood Assn. Board, Connie Sheehan maintains the Clearwood Community Association website.
Her email address is: ConnieS@ywave.com
Added on May 22,
I encourage all of the 3,000 Clearwood Assn. members to gather all of the knowledge they can, educate themselves on all sides of the issue and make a decision for themselves and most importantly, to mail in their ballot and vote. I have endeavored to provide points for discussion and information in this and the May 14 & April 25 entries.