"My name is Nicole Williams and I'm a Montgomery County Resident who is very concerned about ZTA 19-07. The safety issues of 5G are very real. I have been informed that local Pepco employees have been given orders by their Safety Department not to approach 5G antennas while working on power lines. They must first call the company listed on the pole to have it shut off. Employees of telecommunications companies have confirmed my findings that technicians have been injured by 5G antenna radiation and must make sure they are turned off before working on them. Here are great resources for health impact studies: https://ehtrust.org/scientific-research-on-5g-and-health/

The residents of Montgomery County would not have the same luxury of turning these towers off for any reason. There are members of this County Council who seem to think that the only people complaining are privileged Whites. Well, my goal is to make sure that they know that notion is false.

Often, it is those who are privileged who have the time to dig into the details. Many people of color live at one affordable housing building in Montgomery County where wireless antennas have been installed at the top of the building at levels far exceeding the maximum FCC limits for human exposure to RF (radiofrequency) radiation. For that very reason we deserve a public hearing on this bill and the earlier ZTA 18-02, allowing all of the community the opportunity to catch up on what they are unknowingly facing.

As a Black woman who was not born into privilege, I'm very familiar with being mainly focused on surviving day-to-day, especially with this Pandemic. That's a big reason why you haven't heard from many people of color. There are also those who are separating from the system and/or, are not engaged in our local government in particular, some are not technologists, and many others are relying on 5G commercials that only glamorize it, practically echoing the tactics of big tobacco.

In this country, there is already a long history of Black, Brown and Immigrant communities being impacted the most by environmental injustices and 5G is undoubtedly bringing more of the same. ZTA 19-07 provides no assurances that it will bridge the digital divide, nor provide affordable computer access, no guarantees for affordable maintenance to fix equipment that breaks and there's no education on how-to use the computers being provided. How can the council make genuine efforts to bridge the digital divide without considering everything that causes that digital divide?

If the County Council truly represents us, then they should be informing the community that a cell tower is coming 30 feet from our homes. Also, if the Council was truly committed to equity, they would look at ZTA 19-07 through the lens of the Racial Equity & Social Justice Act, bill 27-19 Sponsored by Councilmember Nancy Navarro and Cosponsored by all Councilmembers. Why is the Council avoiding this analysis?

Additionally, as a member of the Montgomery County Coalition to Protect Neighborhoods, we support County Executive’s Marc Elrich’s suggestion to create a diverse, advisory Work Group. This is an innovative idea the County Council has used before. Residents, municipal governments, industry, and others would study the issues and present recommendations to the County Council.

The Coalition has launched a petition found at actionnetwork.org/letters/stop-zta-19-07/ and includes residents from around Montgomery County including Silver Spring, Germantown, Chevy Chase, Wheaton, Potomac, Takoma Park, Kemp Mill, Kensington, Rockville, Gaithersburg and Bethesda.

Hans Riemer (Council At-Large), its lead sponsor, first introduced ZTA 19-07 in October 2019. The vast majority of public testimony at a 2019 public hearing on the original version of the ZTA was strongly against it.

Government transparency is a big part of a healthy democracy, and we should not be robbed of that."

-Provided by the Montgomery County Coalition to Protect Neighborhoods (https://mococoalition.blogspot.com/).


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