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A letter submitted by Lauren Galvin, a concerned mom, to the Editor of Eye on Jacksonville has some great questions for our City Council. Parents MUST pay attention. Read and response please.

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Is City Council showing favor to the interests of telecommunications companies over that of their constituents?

Recently, in Encinitas, CA, the City Council in a unanimous vote barred the construction of 5G small-cell antennas in residential areas and parks, areas with high risk of fire, and within 500 feet of any primary school or daycare. Telecommunications providers can seek an exemption to these restrictions from the city planner and any decision can be appealed to the council.

Our Stop5GJax group on Facebook would like to propose an amendment to 2019-770 to City Council and we are urging Jacksonville’s City Council to support it. The amendment would prohibit the installation of 5G in areas zoned residential, and allow City Council to retain some local control over the 5G rollout instead of surrendering so much power to telecom. The current legislation permits 5G installations in the right-of-ways in the front yards of private homeowners without notice and without the ability to object. This will bring visual blight into neighborhoods and inevitably decrease property values.

Since November, members of Stop 5G Jax have been working with City Council on 2 proposed Ordinances, 2019-0757 and 2019-0770. Last week, 2019-0757 passed 19-0 with amendments because it was mistakenly presented that all issues in the Ordinance were required by State Law. Just prior to the vote, a pole that WAS going to be installed in front of City Hall was moved to an undetermined location. I guess City Hall doesn’t want a pole there? 2019-0770 proposes to bring Jacksonville into compliance with FL law regarding the installation of 5G technology. Why should City Council give telecom anything that is not required by law? The FCC and the State of FL have given telecom carte blanche to install 5G technology however they see fit, regardless of health concerns, how it will look, cybersecurity risks, negative impacts on our property values and the resulting visual blight. To be clear, each telecommunications company can install a pole in the right of way in your front yard. Telecom does not need approval and homeowners will not be notified. You could end up with 5 different poles with equipment from 5 different telecom carriers in the right of way in your front yard. Telecom is racing to market with inferior technology that saves them money without any consideration for how it looks or how it affects private property values. Jacksonville needs to wake up!

The Land Use and Zoning (LUZ) Committee is planning a workshop for the week of 1/6/20 based on the schedules of ALL of the telecommunications companies. Local citizens are invited for public comment; however, the November workshop for 2019-0757 gave significant air time to the Verizon lobbyist, with public comment limited to under 10 minutes at the end. After the 1/6/20 workshop, there will be no further public comment. Do the citizens of Jacksonville even have a voice?

The only way to share our concerns is through private meetings, emails and phone calls. Securing meetings with members of City Council is difficult, as is getting phone calls returned or responses to emails.

We are angry and frustrated and you should be too! Why are telecom’s interests more important than the interests of Jacksonville’s constituents? This is an ordinance for the City of Jacksonville. What COJ passes is none of telecom’s business. This meeting should be between LUZ, constituents and COJ legal. Why does Telecom get a meeting to promote their interests and the constituents of Jacksonville may or may not be given a few minutes to speak if there is time left?

I urge you to call, email and attempt to meet with all 19 City Council members asking them to support the passage of Stop5GJax’s amendment to 2019-0770. City Council should be representing the interests of the citizens of Jacksonville, not the interests of telecom and their lobbyists. Please join Stop 5G Jax on FB, nearly 800 members.

Lauren Galvin is a native a Jacksonville and a stay at home mom of 3 small children. She graduated from Florida State University with a degree in English and worked in sales for 10 years before starting her family. 

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