Community Groups Sue LA County Over New Wireless Antenna Ordinances
Groups say recent changes eliminate community involvement, flout environmental laws, and ignore safety concerns
(Los Angeles) A coalition of community and environmental groups staged a press event today in East Los Angeles to explain their recently-filed lawsuit against Los Angeles County. Led by the non-profit organization Fiber First LA, the coalition includes Mothers of East LA, the Boyle Heights Community Partners, Children’s Health Defense (CHD), the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians and other groups. The groups contend that recent changes to the Los Angeles County Code adopted and approved by the LA County Board of Supervisors have taken away their right to be consulted about the placement of antennas in their communities, flagrantly violated important protections contained in California’s Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and failed to include important safety measures designed to protect the life and property of Los Angelinos in a rapidly changing weather environment.
The groups have asked the court for a temporary stay and temporary injunction, pending resolution of the lawsuit.
“The right of citizens to have a voice in important decisions about their health, their safety, and their future is fundamental to American democracy,” said Brenda Martinez, a local community organizer in East LA, and a founding member of Fiber First LA. “The LA Board of Supervisors has clearly put the interests of giant telecoms ahead of the interests of the people they’re supposed to represent. There’s no other reason to take away the right of people in our community to be heard.”
“We will continue to fight on behalf of the people of L.A., California, and the entire country,” said W. Scott McCollough, a former Texas assistant attorney general and telecom and administrative law attorney with CHD. “Policies implemented in California rarely stay there; they quickly spread to other states. We need to stop this free pass for telecom giants while we still can, so we are taking L.A. County to court.”
“When it comes to broadband access, our community is underserved. But that doesn’t mean we should give up important legal and environmental rights that protect the people,” said Monsignior John Moretta, pastor of Resurrection Catholic Church in Boyle Heights, a forceful environmental activist, who has led his community in fighting EXIDE lead pollution from the former battery recycling plant in Vernon. “We have worked hard to make sure the little guy who doesn’t always have a voice has certain protections. This legal action will help restore those protections.”
The lawsuit was filed today in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
More information at www.FiberFirstLA.org
PRESS EVENT INFO
- Who: Non-profits and community groups led by Fiber First LA
- What: Press Conference with Community Leaders
- Where: Resurrection Catholic Church, 3324 East Opal St. LA CA 90023
- When: Wednesday, March 8th, 12 noon
- Contact: Brenda Martinez, Fiber First LA (323) 347-1142
Environmental Health Trust submitted extensive testimony to Los Angeles County in regards to the health effects of wireless radiation when the County began deliberating on wireless facilities. Theodora Scarato MSW, Executive Director of Environmental Health Trust also testified to the Council during the deliberations along with numerous others.