Protect Your Communities!

Oppose CA Bills SB.556, AB.537 & SB.378 NOW!

California residents should take immediate action today to stop CA Bills SB.556, AB.537 and SB.378. These three state bills will destroy local control over Wireless infrastructure, including constructing tens of thousands of so-called “small” Wireless Telecommunications Facilities (“WTFs”) in residential zones throughout California.

AB.537, along with SB.556 and SB.378, collectively, are similar to a disastrous Telecom bill from 2017, SB.649, that was opposed by over 300 California cities and nearly all counties and consumer protection groups. SB.649, fortunately, was vetoed by then Gov. Jerry Brown on 10-15-17, writing:

“I believe that the interest which localities have in managing their own rights-of-way requires a more balanced solution than the one achieved in this bill.”

Marin towns including Mill Valley, Fairfax and San Anselmo took advantage of this 2017 veto. In 2018, these towns worked with their residents and passed protective local WTF ordinances to curb the rapacious sWTF invasion into residential neighborhoods. These new state bills would wipe out those protective local ordinances.

The three bills are being wrapped up in a COVID-19 patina, with a lovely, but false, shade of “Digital Divide” lipstick applied to this collective pig. Despite the bill authors’ claims, these bills have no teeth to close the Digital Divide, so no real relief.

SB.556, AB.537 and SB.378 Are Unconstitutional

To keep things straight, it helps to to brand the bills with unofficial names (details at

  1. SB.556 is the “Destroy Local Control over Wireless” Bill
  2. SB.378 is the “Cheap Micro-Trenching & No Public Access to Fiber” Bill
  3. AB.537 is the “Deemed Permit-Approved, Deemed Permit-Issued for Wireless” Bill

On the Senate side, SB.556 starts off with profit-motivated propaganda statement:

Wireless broadband internet access is critical to distance learning. Just as important, wireless broadband internet access is needed to address the digital divide.”

The truth is Wired broadband internet access is critical to distance learning — ask any teacher which broadband works best. Wired broadband via Fiber-To-The-Premises (FTTP) is far superior to Wireless broadband in many ways: it is faster, more energy-efficient, more secure, more reliable, more affordable and — most importantly — not hazardous. Wired broadband is the best means to close the Digital Divide.

Next, SB.378 is attempting to allow the bill’s sponsor, Crown Castle, to ignore local construction standards and tear up city streets to quickly install — in shallow conduit — fiber optics that will not be shared with the public. Crown Castle simply wants access to public assets for private gain.

On the Assembly side, AB.537 attempts to cancel local control over Wireless infrastructure by saying that WTFs must be “. . . DEEMED APPROVED, PERMITS SHALL BE DEEMED ISSUED, AND THE APPLICANT MAY BEGIN CONSTRUCTION . . .” for hundreds of WTF applications at a time. This bill would violate many existing federal and state laws, including the US and CA constitutions, the 1996 Telecommunications Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Fair Housing Amendments Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

In addition, AB.537 takes very weak FCC guidance/preference language about presumptive-only “shot clocks” (time limits on applications for WTF construction) and attempts to make these ideas solid — as a gift to our legislator’s main campaign contributors, the multi-billion dollar Wireless industry.

All of this comes at the expense of public safety, privacy, lowered property values and the permanent loss of our “quiet enjoyment of streets” and homes. No state laws should reduce local governments’ power over the siting of heavy-polluting Wireless Telecommunications Facilities, which are known nuisances and hazards. See . . . . . .

If passed, these three Telecom bills would destroy local control. Some local governments have limited resources to consider sWTF applications, especially with additional demands from COVID-19 restrictions. These bills are kicking cities when they are already down and are threatening residents’ public safety and privacy — at a time when they need those protections the most.

The people of Marin strongly opposed SB.649 in 2017. We need to do that all over again in 2021. Please call today and tell your elected representatives to VOTE NO on SB.556, AB.537 and SB.378. Thank you (