DeKalb Voters Say No to Cell Towers on School Property

The non-binding resolution – part of Tuesday's primary – will have no legal bearing on whether the school system places towers on school properties.

DeKalb County voters said Tuesday they don't want cell phone towers on public school properties.

In a nonbinding resolution – part of Tuesday's primary election – more than 60 percent of residents voted no to the question: "Should the local or independent school system of DeKalb County or a charter school in DeKalb County place or operate a telecommunications tower on any elementary, middle or high school property?"

Of 114,804 votes counted early Wednesday morning, "No" took 71,690 votes – all preliminary returns. More than 5,000 absentee ballots had yet to be counted.

The resolution will have no legal bearing on whether the DeKalb County School System continues to pursue construction of cell phone towers on school property. The school system upset a number of school communities in north and south DeKalb County last year when they agreed to let T-Mobile build nine cell phone towers on school properties across the county for up to 30 years.

Cheryl Miller August 01, 2012 at 05:56 AM
bulldogger August 01, 2012 at 12:15 PM
Schools and school grounds are for learning, not for housing cell phone towers. The DCSS needs to listen to what we're telling them. These properties were not meant to be revenue producers.......I've got a great idea, DCSS....."Fire some of those kin and friends". Get with it, DeKalb County School Board and "do the job we elected you to do".
Jack of Kings August 01, 2012 at 08:56 PM
I have no problem with cell towers on school property--as long as the revenues go to that particular school.
Cheryl Miller August 01, 2012 at 09:35 PM
Not only does the revenue not go to that school, it has completely disappeared from even being reported on any of the books!
Mack Hawkins August 02, 2012 at 01:29 AM
If the money go's to the school(s),fine Why give a child a cell phone,and be worried about a tower on the school ground's.
Ms. August 02, 2012 at 02:56 AM
Why place a tower on school grounds when there's plenty of other places for them? Children will grow up and learn soon enough that they're nothing but a government piggy bank, let them enjoy their youth.
OakGroveParent August 03, 2012 at 10:12 PM
There is no proof that cell towers do not produce dangerous levels of radiation. Therefore, they do not belong on school grounds.
Cheryl Miller August 03, 2012 at 10:44 PM
The Washington Post reported on June 15 that the FCC is considering whether to revise its standards on safe emissions of cell phone radiation, esp. where children are concerned. Read more here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/fcc-considers-whether-to-study-cellphone-radiation/2012/06/15/gJQA6XzpfV_story.html?utm_source=August+activist+newsletter&utm_campaign=August+12+activist+audience+newsletter&utm_medium=email I, personally, do not want to take any chances with my child's health and I do not believe the schools should be able to go around the county's zoning ordinances for what's acceptable to build in a residential area. It is exactly this type of thing that our zoning laws are in place for in the first place!
OakGroveParent August 04, 2012 at 01:37 AM
Knott Telling August 25, 2012 at 04:38 PM
Interesting that 45,000 voters were motivated enough to speak up and vote in support of a non-binding referendum that would have no impact on a decision that had already been made and is not reversible! Really no reason for anyone to take time out of their day to do that, although I can certainly understand why there would be people motivated to show up and cast "No" votes, which provided a result that was easily predictable (as shown in the comments from before the vote, posted here: http://northdruidhills.patch.com/articles/non-binding-cell-tower-vote-to-go-before-residents-july-31). For the same reason that a poll of registered Republicans would indicate an overwhelming level of support for Mitt Romney as President, any statistician would easily recognize the sampling error inherent in this referendum. It is unsupportable as a predictor of the results that would occur if there was a "live issue" on the table with actual decisions that would be made and actions that would be taken as a result. It makes as much sense as having a "non-binding referendum" on who you believe was the preferable candidate in the 2008 Presidential election. Who would waste time to show up for THAT vote? The only reason anyone showed up at all to vote "Yes" on cell towers is the fact that they were eager to have their voice heard on a completely different issue, the TSPLOST, and this item was right there below it. Even so, note 2 precincts that did vote "Yes" for towers: Lakeside and Oak Grove!!
Knott Telling August 25, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Good grief. Please do read about the FCC study. It has nothing at all to do with towers. It relates to the signal emitted by the phone itself, regardless of where a tower is. If this is your concern, you need to advocate for the elimination of the cellphones, not the towers!
Cheryl Miller August 25, 2012 at 07:10 PM
@Knott Telling - "It has nothing at all to do with towers. It relates to the signal emitted by the phone itself, regardless of where a tower is." Let me explain ... the article does not have to say "cell tower" in it in order to be relevent. My point was that the FCC is considering revising its standards on cell phone radiation limits specific to CHILDREN because they have been identified as the most vulnerable population likely to suffer the most adverse health effects. Since cell phones and cell towers emit the exact same form of radiation and one always comes with the other, that makes this federal concern absolutely relevent. Second of all, to your suggestion "If this is your concern, you need to advocate for the elimination of the cellphones, not the towers!," let me also explain to you a little more clearly since you are missing the point. My concern is not regarding the radiation emitted from a cell phone. My child does not have one. And, even if it were a concern, I would not be advocating for anything ... I would simply not buy a phone for her. I'm not advocating eliminating anything...just to find a way to make it a safe. My problem is that the school board wanted to put a cell tower at her school without telling anyone about it. You have a right to buy and use whatever phone you want, but not the right to force my child to take a risk by law (since she must go to school) to her health or take away her playground.
Greg Trinkle August 25, 2012 at 07:49 PM
This is absurd. Dekalb school board just raised my taxes. So long as the tower money stays with the education system, I have no problem with this. The studies are for Cell Phones themselves, and no, they do not cause cancer. Studies that show this are based strictly on statistics. Cancer reasearchers will tell you, they know what amount of RF is required to destroy human Cells (IE cause cancer) and cell phones don't emit enough to destroy human cells. Walking in front of your microwave is way more dangerous to your health. Now if you believe your child's education is going to be impaired by having a cell phone, BE A PARENT. DON'T GIVE THEM A CELL PHONE. Your child is capable of showing up to school without a cell phone.
Cheryl Miller August 25, 2012 at 10:43 PM
My child does not have a cell phone. The absurdity is that you assume that the tower would have a financial benefit that might improve the tax situation. It helps T-mobie avoid paying commercial property tax, if that's what you meant. What's also absurd is that a cell tower, which is not allowed by DeKalb County ordinance in residentially zoned areas such as our schools, would actually bring a greater burden to DeKalb's taxpayers as it would decrease property values, reduce the number of attracitive homesite locations available for potential new buyers, provide slush fund for administrators which would further corruption and allow undereducated school board members to approve dangerous, hazardous structures they know nothing about. Most absurd is that you claim to know a lot about RF radiation, yet apparantly know nothing about the rights of children in the U.S. Perhaps you work for the telecomm industry which is why your logic is whacky and your emotions are getting the best of you. For the truth, check out: www.GETtheCELLoutATL.org.
Cheryl Miller August 25, 2012 at 11:02 PM
@Knot Telling: Regarding the statement, "Interesting that 45,000 voters were motivated enough to speak up and vote in support ...!" A) 45,000 ppl. did not show up for the purpose of this question. I'd wager to say that at about 95% of the registered voters did not even know it would be asked. B) No one spoke up or supported anything. They answered one of many questions on an election ballot. The topic in general is not one that is well-known unless you happen to be one of the unfortunate folks who are being affected. Most likely those in favor were either uninformed, unaware or work ion the industry. C) The No vote was not predictable, otherwise the telecomm lobbyists would not have asked it. This ballot question was not one requested by the people. We wanted a legal, binding total ban of towers from school grounds. D) Wow, you even looked at the cell tower issue down to the individual precint level? You are obviously very interested in this topic so you likely have seen our website: www.GETtheCELLoutATL.org. If not, please visit it as you will learn a lot that might help you cope with your anger.
Cheryl Miller August 25, 2012 at 11:02 PM
E) Not sure how you believe you can evaluate anyone's motivations for "showing up" to vote or what they might be "eager" about. But, then again, you also think that a close 50/50 split is the same as being in favor (Oak Grove, Lakeside). To the rest of us it shows that there is some divide in these locations between those who stand to benefit and those who will not. If anyone is concerned about their cell phone coverage, they should take it up with their cell carrier, not our school system. Our school board needs to stay focused on education, not furthering business objectives for corporations or distracting elected officials from the business of educating children. F) The decision to lease the properties was made. The decision to issue land use and building permits is something entirely different. The lease may not be reversable but T-mobile has plenty of "out clauses" for itself in there - one of which is based on whether or not they are able to get the permits.
Knott Telling September 04, 2012 at 03:15 AM
Thank you for your perspective, Mr. Trinkle. It appears you did take the time to go beyond the newspaper article and see for yourself what the FCC actually said. Very logical approach on your part. It seems likely that you are also aware of the principle of inverse squares as it relates to radiation, which is the reason that the strength of a tower signal, by the time it even reaches the base of the tower, is already less than the strength of the signal emitted by an individual cellphone. I expect that you may be aware too of how far you have to be from a cellphone to reduce its signal strength by a factor of 400... I think it is about 10 inches, though maybe I'm off by an inch or two. I guess that's why the engineers who are most concerned about cellphone signals are working hard to educate people about eliminating the risk by making sure that phones are kept a whopping 15-25 mm away from the skull (that's almost an inch!). That does motivate me to go hands-free whenever I can. You too? You also probably understand the flawed logic inherent in considering cellphones and cellular base stations as being interchangeable when applying the results of a study conducted on one or the other. I also appreciate the way you approached this topic in a calm, balanced manner, and did not resort to personal attacks.


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