Page 11 - the Noise December 2017
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ing to the Pew Research Center, nearly 100% of adults aged 18-49 now own cell phones. Other research has shown that cancer isn’t the only detrimental effect of cell phone use on kids. Just last month, a study published in Clinical Psychological Science, examined the generation of teens and young adults born after 1995, calling them iGen. Occurrences of depression, suicide attempts and suicides amongst teens rose sharply between 2010 and 2015. These increases occurred across major demographics with no differences based on income, location, race or ethnicity. The researchers found that “Adolescents who spent more time on screen activities were significantly more likely to have high depressive symptoms or have at least one suicide-related outcome, and those who spent more time on non screen
activities were less likely.”
In May 2017, a group of researchers did a review of all studies examining the relationship
between cell phones and gliomas conducted between 1980 and 2016. The results were pub- lished in PlosONE, a multidisciplinary peer-reviewed open access scientific journal published by the Public Library of Science. Because previous individual studies had proved “incon- clusive and controversial,” according to the researchers, they sought to compile relevant data into a risk analysis. Their report ended up including 11 studies with a total of 6,028 cases and 11,488 controls.
The findings confirm a link between brain tumors and EMF radiation produced by cell phones. The researchers wrote: “There was a significant positive association between long- term mobile phone use (minimum, 10 years) and glioma. The researchers concluded their “results suggest that long-term mobile phone use may be associated with an increased risk of glioma.”They admitted that“current evidence is of poor quality and limited quantity”and suggested additional high-quality research is needed.
While scientists can’t make up their minds whether cell phones and other wireless tech- nologies and the EMF radiation they emit are harmful to humans, these technologies contin- ue to proliferate around the world. Arizona’s largest utility provider, Arizona Public Service (APS), has been installing radio-transmitting “smart” meters across its territories. Customers have to “opt out” in order to avoid them. Analog and non-transmitting digital meters have now been dubbed “non-standard” by the utility monopoly. Commercial and solar customers are not eligible to opt out.
The City of Sedona has been engaged since last year with developing a community wire- less master plan. This action comes in response to federal policies that allow a community to have input on where new communications transmission towers will be placed and what they will look like, but not whether they will be installed. It’s not a matter of if; only where and how.
Demand for improved wireless communication is great and federal law does not allow states and municipalities to refuse the placement of telecommunications towers. But the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) still relies on standards for exposure that were developed prior to 1996. The equipment and technology in question have changed drasti- cally over the last 20 years, but safety standards have not evolved with them.
The city’s Wireless Communications Master Plan is intended to give as much input as possible to which city-owned properties would be preferable to tower placement, what types of towers would be placed, how far the towers must be from nearby residences, what height towers would be, and even what color towers should be painted or whether “con- cealed” towers should be used. A concealed tower is one that is disguised to fit its surround- ings, such as towers that look like trees or flagpoles.
In the midst of the City of Sedona’s development of a plan to guide the placement of new wireless transmission towers on city-owned property, the State of Arizona passed legislation that makes the city’s plan almost moot. Signed by Arizona Governor Doug Ducey in March, HB 2365 allows wireless providers to place towers in the city’s streets where there already ex- ists rights-of-way, without any public input or process. In fact, the city must provide a permit for tower placement within 20 days of a completed application’s submission.
On the city’s website, the effect of this new law is explained as such: “Our city streets’ rights of way are typically 50 feet wide and if 24 feet of that is street, that means 13 feet on either side of the street is fair game for wireless towers.”
So, while the Wireless Master Plan has been approved by Sedona’s Planning and Zoning Commission and is awaiting consideration by the City Council, wireless carriers including Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint won’t actually be subject to the plan’s requirements if they choose to use rights-of-way. By providing a list of approved city-owned properties that have been vetted in advance, the city hopes to encourage use of those locations by provid- ing a stream-lined approval process. But the new state law means providers don’t have to usethosesites. “Thereisreallynoincentiveforthemtobeonacityproperty,”AssistantCity Manager Karen Osburn told the Planning and Zoning Commission on November 7. “If they can have unfettered access [to city rights-of-way] through an over-the-counter permit for $50 a year, that’s where they’re going to go.”
As far as Sen. McCain goes, he’s taking his diagnosis like a champ. He told 60 Minutes, “I am more energetic and more engaged as a result of this because I know I’ve got to do everything I can to serve this country while I can.”
In July, and in dramatic fashion giving a public “thumbs down” gesture, he cast the decid- ing vote on the Senate floor that killed a Republican-backed health care reform bill aimed at repealing much of the Affordable Care Act. With that one gesture, he may have proved that it’s never too late to change.
Alawsuit filed on November 7 by a group of non-profit organizations claims that Arizona’s voter-registration system requirement of separate forms for federal and state elections is confusing and discourages tens of thousands of potential voters from participating. The lawsuit was jointly filed by the League of United Latin American Citizens of Arizona and the Arizona Students’ Association.
Representing the League of United Latin American Citizens, attorney Danielle Lange said of the process: “It doesn’t serve any purpose other than voter suppression.” She called it unconstitutional and a burden on voters.
Federal elections do not require documents proving United States citizenship. Voters simply sign a form stating they are citizens and are then registered. But to register for Ari- zona state or local elections, proof of citizenship must be provided in the form of a birth certificate, Social Security card or driver’s license or other documentation. The lawsuit claims this system confuses voters and makes registration unreasonably complicated.
The separate form system was implemented after the United States Supreme Court de- cided the National Voter Registration Act did not permit Arizona to reject a federal reg- istration form for “lack of documentary proof of citizenship (DPOC).” The decision allowed the Arizona Secretary of State to continue to require DPOC for state and local elections.
The lawsuit explains the process required, and how it confuses voters. “If the voter completes the Federal Form without DPOC, the voter is registered to vote in federal elections but not state elections, and advised to submit DPOC to vote in state elections. However, if the voter completes the State Form without DPOC, the voter is not regis- tered for state or federal elections and, in violation of prior court order, is not advised of the Federal Form option.”
Shayna Stevens of the Arizona Students’ Association said the system complicates campus voter registration drives and discourages young voters from participating in elec- tions. “Making students fill out duplicate forms or dig up their original birth certificates and passports is making that process very difficult for no reason,” she said in a statement.
Luis Vera Jr., another representative of the League of United Latin American Citi- zens said that the complicated system is meant to confuse minorities from low-income and lesser-educated populations. “This is just another form of voter discrimination,” he said, “because they know people get confused, and they know that in Arizona the vast majority of those people are going to be Latino.”
The lawsuit requests the court to require the state to simplify voter registration by al- lowing the use of state forms in federal elections, with or without DPOC; allowing MVD records to be used to verify citizenship before rejecting registrations; to allow voters to amend their registration with DPOC if it is initially missing; and to stop requiring people who move from one county to another to re-register and reproduce DPOC.
In other voter news, Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan (pictued above) has been found of violating state law when her office failed to mail 200,000 ballot informa- tion pamphlets to eligible voters for the May 2016 Special Election. That election de- cided two propositions brought to the ballot by the State Legislature. Proposition 124, which decided public pension plans; and Proposition 123, which decided the future of state trust land and public education funding. The latter was decided by 1.8% of ballots cast that election cycle, or 19,416 votes (of 1,053,314 cast).
Ms. Reagan blamed the error on her office’s vendor, IBM, stating the company did not provide critical information when state officials asked for help in compiling the mailings using IBM software. But former federal prosecutor Tom Morrissey, who was hired to investigate the case by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, found that Ms. Reagan knew about the problem two weeks before she disclosed it to the public.
In his report, Mr. Morrissey wrote “Secretary Reagan’s staff and Secretary Reagan chose not to widely disseminate information,” for 19 days. “The staff did not inform all county election officials, or the public, that certain pamphlets had not been delivered.”
Because of Ms. Reagan’s delay in releasing the technical issues her office was experi- encing, voters were denied additional time to seek out information on their own. And the information was only released because Prop 123 attorney, Tom Ryan, filed a com- plaint with the AG’s office.
Mr. Morrissey found Ms. Reagan only to have committed a civil violation of state law. He did not find any criminal violations against her or her staff. And there are no penalties provided by state law to be imposed for the infraction. Yet due to the circumstances, the entire election then could conceivably be described as an “unlawful election.” In a press conference, Attorney General Mark Brnovich called the situation “a complete fiasco.”
In a prepared statement, Ms. Reagan said, “As we said last year, mistakes were made and we were responsible. Since then, we’ve made staffing changes, added additional layers of quality control and will utilize a different vendor.”
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