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November 22, 2014- By Steven E. Greer, MD
The national news has recently picked up on the WSJ story about how high powered dangerous cell phone towers are being installed all over congested cities. The FCC almost never inspects or regulates these towers, despite being installed atop residential buildings.
Coinciding with these developments, Milstein Properties, which owns the Milford Management company that runs the apartment building at 2 South End Avenue, has created a Verizon cellular substation atop the Cove Club. The transmitters and towers have been installed over slow holiday weekends, and no discussions of the process was ever made before public meetings of the BPCA or CB1 (the apartment buildings owned by Milstein pay significant tax revenue to the BPCA).
BatteryPark.TV investigated and found the FCC offices to which to file complaints about the Cove Club Verizon substation. It was not easy to find the office for complaints and the FCC seems to discourage reporting.
The FCC replied via email and regular mail. The email response punted the problem to other agencies, writing, “You will need to contact your local zoning board regarding the placement of towers in your area. They give the authority for the towers not the FCC. If you pay for TV and internet, you should contact your provider and let them know you are receiving interference.”.
The written reply also sent us to other agencies, claiming the FCC had no jurisdiction. An unsigned anonymous FCC letter wrote, “The FCC does not usually investigate interference to home electronics equipment….consequently, your complaint has been closed.”.
The FCC clearly has jurisdiction over wireless cell phone towers and could properly regulating this industry if the leaders of the FCC wanted to do so. However, this utter lack of regulation is by design.
The head of the FCC, Tom Wheeler, is none other than the former lobbyist for the cell tower industry. Wikipedia states, “He was appointed by President Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in November 2013. Prior to working at the FCC, Wheeler worked as a venture capitalist and lobbyist for the cable and wireless industry, with positions including President of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) and CEO of the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA).”.
There has also been a similar cell tower quietly installed without public approval at 300 Albany Street.
To make your own complaint to the FCC, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org
Or write to: Sharon Bowers, Division Chief, Complaints Division, FCC, 1270 Fairfield Road, Gettysburg, PA 17325
Of course, the local condo associations making money by leasing these towers to Verizon are the most accountable entities to which you can share your concerns. James Hopkins is the President of the Cove Club.