Friday, November 6, 2009

Nay, Palm

Would you know a fake palm tree if you saw it?

Of course you would. Especially if it were 45 feet tall, made of concrete and plastic, and had telecommunication equipment 'hidden' in the spindly, faded, plastic fronds.

T-Mobile wants to make the fake palm monopole in the parking lot at the corner of Sepulveda Boulevard and Arlington Avenue taller, bigger, badder, more dangerous and uglier. There's a public meeting at 9am, November 10, 2009 at the West Annex Commission Meeting Room of City Hall, 3031 Torrance Blvd., Torrance. to address the petition SAT09-00013.

What next, a grove of fake plastic trees?

Of course, none of the neighbors want it. No one with good taste and a dislike of urban blight would want it - unfortunately, the tower was originally built without notifying the neighborhood - demonstrating another case of city officials completely inept at or unwilling to deal with aesthetic issues that affect quality of life (I won't go into the approval of other unattractive nuisances, like high density housing...). That is, unless the unattractive nuisance is in the Hillside, and it's a frog.

As other local cities seek to bury overhead wires and other forms of visual garbage, Torrance is considering adding to the blight. Great. Just great.

The telecom industry is looking to saturate the area with towers rather than upgrade their equipment. Towers are a relatively cheap way for these companies to keep generating income rather than conducting research and development to improve and minimize existing structures and equipment. If consumers are complaining of dropped calls, improve the existing technology. It isn't the City's responsibility to ensure T-mobile's customers are happy.

If you really hate these things, and would like the City of Torrance to know it, contact one Jeffery W. Gibson or Oscar Martinez at

Telecom Trivia:

1. Between five million and fifty million birds are killed each year in collisions and other accidents caused by communications towers.

2. 55 mph winds toppled a telecommunications tower in Oswego, NY.

3. According to the Labor Department, constructing, repairing and upgrading cell phone towers is the most dangerous job in the United States. It is more dangerous than logging or commercial fishing.

4. A KELO television tower in South Dakota collapsed in 1968. The resulting litigation lasted more than 14 years.

5. The widespread use of wireless communication services has resulted in the construction of at least 75,000 telecommunication towers each year in the United States

6. A fire caused by welders toppled a cell phone monopole in Wellesley, Maryland, after burning for 30 minutes.

7. PLATTE COUNTY, MO - The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a tower proposal can be denied based upon aesthetic concerns.

8. A study carried out in Florida in 2004 involved the analysis of market transaction data of single-family homes that sold in Orange County between 1990 and 2000 to investigate the effect on prices of property in close proximity to a tower. The results showed that a tower has a statistically significant effect on prices of property located near a tower.

9. Palos Verdes Estates took Sprint to court over cell towers and won.

10. Yes, your city can reject cell phone towers.

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