Verizon texts its customers to support new downtown NC cell antennas


Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

23 thoughts on “Verizon texts its customers to support new downtown NC cell antennas”

  1. I wonder why this tactic ??? Is it because they have signed a contract with the building owners before it was presented to the City Planning Commission and the PC has denied the cells because of the way the cells look !!!
    The PC understands the importance of the cells just not the looks. Doesn’t Verizon have enough power/money to develop a project that is more fitting for our Community – phony brick, cactus, pine treesand crosses just do not do the trick .

    1. I have a solution but it will cost Verizon $25,000 for me to disclose the idea. Payable when the PC approves the project plus other conditions.

  2. This is a hoot! Another one of the sock puppets on Todd’s blog assumes that this message popped onto the user’s phone while he was in the historic downtown — citing one bar in the “screen grab.” I wonder if this moron considered that text messages pop onto users’ phones “anytime, anywhere.” The user could have been standing on the sock puppet’s front porch for all we know. You can’t fix stupid. And Todd’s blog is the mecca of stupid.

    1. Dr. Phil ought to host a get-together with Todd and his sock puppets. It wouldn’t be good P.R. for our region, but it would make the Jerry Springer show look like “My Fair Lady.”

      1. This is a hoot! Someone who signs their name “anonymous” on Todd’s blog isn’t a sock puppet, according to Todd. Memo to Todd: A sock puppet is a fake identity. Someone who signs their name “anonymous” is a fake identity. Got it? ROFLOL.

  3. I’m pretty sure that this is a sign of Verizon’s super powers and capabilities to manipulate an individuals phone if you are a Verizon customer within Nevada City proper. I’m personally waiting for my normal reception to go from 3 bars to zero while in town. My son had a 707 number and did not receive this text, so we have become and were a targeted by big company mentality. Very agressive move on their part. Time to switch to AT&T.

  4. True, whether you get the text or not is based on the billing address of the user. It’s called targeted marketing. But the message could pop up on your phone wherever you happen to be — such as in Truckee.

  5. I thought it was to go on top of Friar Tuck’s, which seemed odd. So it is going on top of the County Building? Is the probabtion Dept somehow located in the Friar Tuck Building. Does the County own the Friar Tuck building. 109 is the Friar Tuck building. Height matters when it comes to antennas, Why stick it in a gully? Tucking it behind the Courthouse would probably be better from an engineering standpoint. They could put an art neuveau stage coach on top of the Courthouse and cleverly conceal the antenna in the sculpture. What the Tuck, let’s be creative here. I’ve followed your advice, Jeff, and never changed.

  6. An Electronic Silent Spring
    July, 2016 Newsletter from Katie Singer

    Twenty years ago, during Bill Clinton’s presidency and Reid Hunt’s chairmanship of the FCC, the U.S. Congress passed the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (the TCA). Section 704 prohibits environmental and health concerns from interfering with the placement of telecom equipment.
    Regardless the public’s awareness of this federal law, we all live downwind of it. Here are some recent e-developments. –Katie Singer

    FCC Commissioners voted unanimously in favor of the Spectrum Frontiers Proceeding on July 14, 2016. This vote gives the FCC authority to allocate (rent) 5G (5th generation) bandwidth.
    What is 5G? Some mobile devices are now labeled “5G.” In this case, the “G” refers to gigahertz (GHz). These devices’ Wi-Fi and Bluetooth may operate at 5GHz, or five billion vibrations per second.
    Spectrum Frontiers allows the FCC to allocate (rent) 5th generation of mobile operations, With 1G, mobile devices could transmit voice. 2G allowed talk and text. 3G let mobile devices connect to the Internet. 4G enabled higher speeds and video downloads.
    Currently, with 4G, Verizon does not have enough bandwidth for its customers to download more than one DVD per day. With 4G, downloading a feature-length movie can take eight minutes. With 5G, you coulddownload the same movie in less than five seconds.
    According to FCC Chair Tom Wheeler, 5G will provide speeds 10 to 100 times faster than 4G speeds. With 5G, “autonomous vehicles will be controlled in the cloud. Smart-city energy grids, transportation networks and water systems will be controlled in the cloud. Immersive education and entertainment will come from the cloud.” 5G could allow surgeons to perform surgery remotely. It will “unleash new waves of innovation and discovery that we are yet to imagine.”
    How will 5G be deployed? 5G will operate by millimeter waves (mmW). These are very short microwaves. According to Wheeler, mmW signals “tend to travel best in narrow and straight lines, and do not go through physical obstacles very well. This means that…5G buildout is going to be very infrastructure intensive, requiring a massive deployment of small cells.”
    Dr. Gary Olhoeft, professor emeritus of geophysics at the Colorado School of Mines, explained mmW and 5G infrastructure another way: “Say you put a frozen chicken into a microwave oven, which operates at 2.45 GHz. You’ll cook the whole chicken. If you put a frozen chicken into an oven operating in the millimeter range, you’ll boil off its skin. The meat under the skin will not cook, because millimeter waves will not penetrate past the surface. Likewise, 5G bands will not penetrate buildings made of concrete and rebar or adobe and chicken wire. They could penetrate wood and windows. To access 5G effectively, we’ll need transmitters on every utility pole, possibly every building, possibly more than one transmitter per building.”
    Some airport full body scanners operate with mmW imaging technology. The scanner highlights a person’s “generic outline” onto a monitor. While the TSA claims negligible risk from these scanners, mmW technology is also used to treat some skin cancers.
    What is the basic motivation behind deploying 5G? At a recent technical meeting of the IEEE Communications society, at the Univ. of Colorado/Boulder, Dr. H. Anthony Chan of Huawei Technologies was asked this question after a lecture about 5G. He replied, “If technology does not change, the company will die…. People must buy a new phone.”
    5G will likely increase cell phone bills–and provide new revenue sources for mobile carriers.
    How does mmW technology affect living creatures? For the most part, we don’t know, since 5G is largely untested. In the Air Force’s Radio Frequency Radiation Dosimetry Handbook, 5th Ed., 2009, the chapter “Responses to RF Overexposures” reported that a study of the millimeter frequency 94GHz found effects on the surface of the eye. These effects are “highly dependent on energy density and, because the effective stimulus is joule heating, exposure duration is very important” (emphasis added). With ubiquitous, dense deployment of 5G transmitters, living creatures may not be able to shorten the duration of their exposure.
    Since insects, including bees, are tiny, might they be especially impacted by 5G’s millimeter waves? How will 5G affect sleep, sperm, pregnant women, infants, children, people with implants, rooftop workers? Will 5G antennas and devices affect rates of autism, ADHD, Alzheimer’s, depression, skin cancer, vision problems including cataracts, tech-addiction? For now, these are unanswered questions. Further, the Spectrum Frontiers does not designate any agency to test or regulate 5G for biological safety. It will allow industry to define 5G’s intensity, amplitude and duration, as well as its specific absorption rate. While the FCC is responsible for overseeing the safety of radiofrequency emissions, Chair Tom Wheeler has clarified that “we” will “stay out of the way of technological development, since “turning innovators loose is far preferable to expecting committees and regulators to define the future.”
    It’s worth noting that the FCC has typically not enforced its emission standards on existing cellular antennas. See “Americans Beware,” a 2013 study conducted by the Electromagnetic Radiation Policy Institute of 600 cell tower sites around the U.S.
    Did the FCC conduct a NEPA (National Environmental Protection Act) assessment before it voted to permit the Spectrum Frontiers? No.
    Isn’t this grounds for a lawsuit? Yes. However, in the event that a court required the FCC to conduct a NEPA review, it (FCC) would conduct the review. We can predict that they’d find no environmental reasons to prevent 5G deployments. Further, scientists cannot study what does not exist.
    How much electricity will 5G require, and how will this usage impact climate change? Isn’t reducing our energy use and climate change impacts a greater “national priority” than 5G? In 2015, the single largest category on YouTube was cat videos. Perhaps, if the public learned this and committed to a moratorium on cat videos, we could begin to reduce our energy use…and open so much 4G bandwidth that we wouldn’t need 5G?
    For more information about 5G, please see
    * applied physicist Dr. Ronald M. Powell’s Comments on Proceedings 14-177, 15-256, 10-112 and 97-95.

    Also on July 14, 2016, FCC Commissioners voted to support the transition toward “sunset” of landlinesand replace these with cell phones and voice over Internet protocols such as Magic Jack or Skype. Commissioners seem oblivious to the fact that during a power outage, only landlines work and that some people (pregnant women, children, people with medical implant) may use corded landlines, not cell phones or VoIPs, to protect their health.

    Health issues downwind of cell phones
    * Consider Dr. Ron Melnick’s correction of the NY Times article about the National Toxicology Program’s finding that cell phone radiation significantly increases brain cancer risk.
    * In Sweden and other Nordic countries, the incidence of thyroid cancer has increased. Scientists postulate that increased exposure to cellphone and cordless phone radiation over time may contribute to this trend.
    * China now has a visual health crisis. According to a recent Nomura research report, issued by Peking University’s China Center for Health Development, 47% of Chinese children ages 6 to 15 and 55% of 16 to 25-year-olds suffer from myopia (nearsightedness). An academic study from the Australian National University estimated that the prevalence of myopia in 20-year-olds has reached 80% in developed Asia. In the U.S. and Europe, the rate is closer to 50%, twice the rate of 50 years ago. According to Nomura, urbanization, sedentary lifestyles, the prevalence of smartphones, “the intensity of near-range work and the decreasing intensity of outdoor activities” contribute to this crisis.

    School starts soon
    * While our FCC has not addressed the effects of EMR exposure on wildlife or anyone’s health, France continues to create policies that limits children’s EMR-exposure from wireless devices.
    * In “The Hidden Marginalization of Persons with Environmental Sensitivities,” Dr. Pam Gibson, Prof. of Psychology at James Madison University, wrote about the “generational slide in the acceptance of unreal environments.” Some researchers find children who may perceive “that all life is machines or that people comprise the only living things.”
    * As a new school year begins, let’s call for balancing technology use with outdoor activities, movement and time without electronics. For more resources in this arena, visit See the Washington Post’s story about cursive handwriting making a comeback. Among other things, learning cursive improves spelling and comprehension, helps children generate ideas and develop fine motor skills.
    * Let’s teach children how to disable Bluetooth.
    * “Calming Behavior in Children with Autism and ADHD,” my report on pediatrician Toril Jelter, MD’s free protocol to reduce children’s EMR exposure, is published in the current issue of Wise Traditions, the journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation.
    * Canadians for Safe Technology has started a major campaign targeting parents who are not told about the dangers of exposing children to EMR from wireless devices. Could be a model for parents in the U.S.? For more info, go to

  7. The FCC regulates wireless technology. The regulations are 20 years old (terribly outdated) which is based on a concept that is 50 years old. There are hundreds of studies that are much more current and up to date that show the difference and effects of these powerful microwaves than the antiquated FCC standards that unfortunately rule the books.. While federal law prohibits the Planning Commission from from making a decision based on health issues, we don’t as a community or citizens, want to learn while getting sick. Look at what happened to the Marlboro Man.

    On October 15, 1966, the National Historic Preservation Act was signed into law which was intended to preserve historical and archaeological sites in the United States of America. The act created the National Register of Historic Places which protects cultural significance and identifies historical resources for the state and local planning purposes, thus determines eligibility for state historic preservation grant funding and affords certain protections under the California Environmental Quality Act.

    In Nevada City, our downtown Historical District is on the National Registry of Historic Places thus is federally protected. This is not a huge area but a distinct and very important area of our city and it is exactly what people (tourist) come to see and enjoy. Nevada City’s General Plan, above all else, is to preserve the 19th century historic appearance which is like no other location within the technological and fast moving state of California. Our Historical District is a treasure and I think for the most part that many newcomers who have moved here from other states or locations in California, take this for granted. We jokingly call it “Quainty Town” possibly due to the incestuous political mishaps or the numourouse family members that can be found serving on the Planning Commission or City Council at the same time. Conflict of interest comes to mind?

    Originally my iPhone was associated with AT&T as my carrier but changed over. I have been with Verison for a number of years because I DO get reception where AT&T and others have failed or have no coverage. As a Verizon customer, I have never had an issue with the reception in downtown Nevada City or here at my home that is surrounded by trees and numerous competing hills. In speaking with other Verizon customers, none of us have issues with our local coverage and find the the Brunswick Basin is the only dark hole in close proximity. Verizon is in the process of erecting a tower in that area which will correct that problem.

    In order to protect our downtown and the aesthetics of our Historical District, we need to keep these “8” proposed cell towers from being erected for numerous reasons. If one big company has their foot in the door, you can bet that it will serve as presidence for others to soon follow. As a town and as citizens, we can not afford to have thinkgs keep chipping away at out history and the importance of our history to our town. Economically these towers are not economically favorable to business owners nor citizens. The only ones that will bennifit from the “8” towers are the 3 owners of the building at Pine & Commercial Street (Tintle, Baker & Nevada County), and that of Verizon. If errected, it becomes a 25 year contract/lease at roughly $25,000 a year.

    To bamboozle: To deceive or get the better of (someone) by trickery. To hoodwink, cheat, swindle, defraud, flimflam, hoax, delude, mislead or fool.

    I’m a progressive individual but do not easily drink the kool-aid by those who come to the stage with smoke and mirrors or big cooperations (Verizon) that are in the practice of pushing others around. The next Planning Commision meeting and the outcome of these towers will be heard on September 15th at 1:30 PM at City Hall. Please come and speak your concers and participate in the discussion having to do with this towns future. Your voice counts!

  8. You may have been left out because you have chosen to keep your whereabouts secret from the cell company. If I understand Reinette’s description accurately, then as they say, they will need many towers just to make downtown go. This is ignoring another technology, fiber optic, which can also equal and possibly surpass those speeds. Should the town be equipped with fiber optic cables, hardwired to businesses and homes, then if you needed to download a DVD in 8 seconds, you could. The most practical way would be to land it on a local server, and then either run it from there, or copy it over to your machine of choice, or have the server pop out DVD or a memory card with it on it.. I do not know of an computers or laptops or tablets that proclaim themselves 5G ready. Verizon wants to bend the future towards having everybody watch on their cells. I think this is sick, the bigger the screen, the better for me.

  9. Douglas, would it be possible for you to share this information at the next planning commisioners meeting? In my mind, everyone’s imput needs to be heard. There are 5 planning commisioners that need to hear from citizens or informants who have voice, knowledge and/or concerns.

  10. Regarding Verizon using the Tintle/Probation Dept. building, it all boils down to dollars and cents.
    Verizon saves money by building on a rooftop using “old school” antennas and not having to lease a site and build a large tower/fake tree somewhere.
    Verizon is pretty much a monopoly in Nevada City. If they are committed to providing good service, Verizon should consider that we live in a hilly area and put up more antennas outside of the historic district that will serve the historic district without but not impact the downtown visual landscape – even if it costs more.
    The community might be better served by two (or more) cell tower or rooftop antenna sites outside the historic district rather than the one rooftop location downtown. Verizon would incur additional costs but, overall, it would result in better service throughout the local area.
    It has been decades now, but Nevada City put in a lot of effort to clear the historic district of utility poles (electric, phone and cable) and put them underground. Verizon is the new utility on the block and should respect that philosophy and commitment.
    Satellite TV and cell phone technology were in their infancy when the ordinances and design guidelines were written allowing for antenna installations on rooftops in the historic district. I think the planners were referring to old school TV and radio antennas when they wrote those ordinances and guidelines. I don’t think the planners could foresee that commercial cell phone utilities would be requesting sites for industrial strength transmitting antennas downtown.

    An alternate idea would be to revisit the courthouse location. Since it sounds like there are no monies left in the State coffers to remodel any more courthouses, the courthouse would be a nice, tall location to put an antenna. Between Paulette’s restaurant and Safeway there is a tall flagpole/cellular antenna. Verizon could simply replace the flagpole on top of the courthouse with the cell tower flagpole. The “flagpole” would not have to be nearly as tall as the Brunswick antenna since the top of the courthouse already towers over the town. I think an antenna in that location would be far enough away in distance and elevation that any potential health risks would be minimized.

  11. If more cellular companies want locations they could each have a “flagpole”. ONE could fly the US flag, another the California flag, another the POW/MIA flag, and so on…like the United Nations, lol

  12. After seeing the ‘coniferous’ tower in Brunswick basin, I am glad Nevada City prodding Verizon to look at other options.

    Here are some examples of utility tower structures for the Verizon design department to look at,

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