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Californians: Prevent Telecom Caused Wildfires, Contact Legislators to OPPOSE: AB 537 and SB 556



Californians: Prevent Telecom Caused Wildfires, Contact Legislators to OPPOSE: AB 537 and SB 556

August 16, 2021 | |

Cities are about to lose local control of right of way (ROW) small cell antennas. AB 537 (the deemed approved bill) and SB 556 (the every pole bill) will be on the senate and assembly floor the week of August 16. These bills are intended to limit local control of telecom installations in the  right of way under the guise of closing the digital divide, a telecom bamboozle. If you live in Encinitas, Malibu or one of the cities with protective ordinances, you could have a right of way antenna near your home early next year if these bills are approved. For everyone in California, there is an increased risk of wildfire from unregulated antennas on power poles.

We are requesting that you call 1st and then email your opposition to our representatives this weekend and early this week, contact details and more information below.

AB 537 will cause huge administrative burdens for cities and counties with severely reduced time requirements for installations. If the city can’t meet the shot clocks for possibly hundreds of concurrent applications at a time, these will be “deemed approved,” and construction can start even if the installations have NOT been approved for engineering, fire safety and other requirements. The only way a city or county will be able to stop the installations is to go to court!

SB 556 mandates that every pole in the right of way be made available for small cell antennas. Here is an excerpt from this bill: Therefore, it is the intent of the Legislature that this act supersedes all conflicting local laws….”

Suggestions for specific veto messages and tweets to the governor will come as soon as the bills pass the floors.
To find your CA State Senator or Assemblymember:

CA State Senator Monique Limón November 2020 and represents the 19th Senate district that includes all of the County of Santa Barbara, as well as over half of the County of Ventura. To contact her by email go to:

CA State Assemblymember Steve Bennett 2020 represents the 37th district that includes the Southern half of Santa Barbara County, as well as the western third of Ventura county.  To contact him by email go to:


Sample letter (feel free to personalize):

Please oppose SB 556 and AB 537, related to wireless broadband infrastructure deployment. These bills do not close the digital divide. They take away our local control. Wired broadband, fiber to the premises (FTTP) should be affordable, available and accessible to all!  That is what will close the digital divide, not these bills.  Please preserve local authority to manage the right-of-way.  The wireless telecom industry is not insurable. It cannot get insurance for fires and other injuries.  Cell towers close to our homes reduce property value and tax revenue, increase greenhouse gases, fire risks and surveillance, reduce privacy and the quiet enjoyment of our streets.



In Historic Decision, Federal Court Orders FCC to Explain Why It Ignored Scientific Evidence Showing Harm from Wireless Radiation     DC court of Appeals: MAJOR BREAKING NEWS: FCC standards were defeated in court – DC Circuit Court of Appeals 
Environmental Working Group (EWG) is now catching on to RFR.


There is a very good overview of these bills in the Daily Californian op-ed at this link: There are more explanations and talking points provided in 3 documents prepared by Americans for Responsible Technology (ART) attached to this email.


There are many reasons that these telecom bills are bad for us. The most compelling reason is the risk of wildfire that is associated with antennas located on power poles. There have been 3 major fires with $billions in losses in recent years, all originating at telecom equipment attached to power poles. See California Major Wildfires attachment for more information.

Actions: Would you please take action  early this week and communicate your opposition to our representatives. The contact information and instructions are presented below following this explanation of 3 tiers of actions needed. Please do what you can:

1.    Call your representatives by telephone 1st and then email this weekend and Monday 8/16. It is okay to leave a voice message this weekend.

2.    Appropriations committees (enough opposition could sway the members to stop the bills at the committee level)

Call and then email the Senate Appropriations Committee members this weekend and Monday morning 8/16.

Call and then email the Assembly Appropriations Committee members this weekend through Wednesday.

3.    Enroll 2 friends in this action and ask them to enroll 2 friends. Request friends on social media such as Facebook to call their representatives.

Communication suggestions:

For calls it is good to state a reason for your objection to AB 537 and SB 566 even though you may not be asked. It is enough to say I want local control of antennas in the right of way.  I want to be safe in my home, safe from high RF radiation and the danger of fire. unregulated antennas on power poles increase the risk of wildfires. These bills are a shameful telecom giveaway and do nothing to close the digital divide, which is really an economic issue. We need municipal utility wired broadband affordable and available to all. There is information about these bills and general issues in the attachments to this email.

The most impactful communication for your call and email is about wildfires associated with telecom on power poles. Sample:

Subject: prevent telecom caused wildfires, no on AB 537 and SB 556

Major California wildfires, Malibu (2007), Woolsey (2018) and Silverado (2020), started at telecom installations on power poles and caused billions in losses.

California needs strict state-mandated engineering codes enforced at the local level and a statewide fiber-optic broadband network.

California does not need greater fire risk from thousands of unregulated antennas on power poles that are fostered by these socially irresponsible bills.

Please vote no on AB 537 and SB 566.

Consider attaching the California wildfire document and a photo of a burning antenna or wildfire to your email.


Contact information:

Encinitas, Carlsbad, Vista and Oceanside  contact Monday

FYI: Tasha is a former Encinitas councilman, acknowledged that her 4 cities opposed these bills, and voted yes. Ask her to represent her constituents and vote no or abstain.

Assembly Member Tasha Boerner Horvath:  Phone: (916)319-2076

Senator Pat Bates:  Phone: (916) 651-4036

If you are in another district:


Email for Assembly persons:



Email for senators:

If you have the time and resources, call and email all the legislators.

Senate Appropriations Committee contact this weekend and Monday morning

Senator Anthony J. Portantino (Chair) (916) 651-4025
Senator Patricia C. Bates (Vice Chair) 916.651.4036
Senator Steven Bradford (916) 651-4035
Senator Brian W. Jones (916) 651-4038
Senator Sydney Kamlager (916) 651-4030
Senator John Laird (916) 651-4017
Senator Bob Wieckowski  (916) 651-4010


Assembly Appropriations Committee  contact thru Wednesday

Lorena Gonzalez (Chair)  (916) 319-2080
Frank Bigelow (Vice Chair) (916) 319-2005
Isaac G. Bryan  (916) 319-2054
Lisa Calderon (916) 319-2057
Wendy Carrillo  (916) 319-2051
Ed Chau  (916) 319-2049
Megan Dahle (916) 319-2001
Laurie Davies  (916) 319-2073
Vince Fong  (916) 319-2034
Jesse Gabriel  (916) 319-2045
Eduardo Garcia  (916) 319-2056
Marc Levine  (916) 319-2010
Bill Quirk  (916) 319-2020
Robert Rivas  (916) 319-2030
Akilah Weber, M.D.  (916) 319-2079