To: Brenda Contreras
   Jay Dickenson

Re: AB 965 — Broadband Permit Efficiency and Local Government Staff Solution Best Practices Act of 2023

I would like the opportunity to meet with Assembly member Juan Carillo, the author of AB 965 — either in person or via Zoom — to discuss how best to change the bill to keep it from likely being vetoed by Gov. Newsom. Please allow me to make a few suggestions up front:

  • Make a clear distinction in AB 965 between wired broadband and wireless broadband
  • Preserve to localities the right to determine a preference in how best to deliver broadband to their residents
  • Make AB 965 consistent with Gov. Newsom’s 2021 Broadband Budget Bill, SB 156 (Chapter 112. Statutes of 2020)
  • Ensure that AB 965 in not on the Assembly Appropriations Consent or Suspense lists; instead Assembly member Carillo would benefit from presenting the bill at Appropriations and inviting in-person public comment of sufficient length (similar to the levels of comment afforded to the public in the 2017 deliberations for SB 649). I request a public comment spot for May 17, 2023 or whenever the bill will be heard at Assembly Appropriations.

Wire California is a call to action and a citizen journalist and advocacy organization. We work to preserve local control over Wired Broadband and Wireless Telecommunications infrastructure. We believe that local communities must retain the freedom to integrate the best broadband implementation for their residents. We have successfully worked at the federal, state and local levels to tame the unnecessarily dense deployment of 4G/5G so-called “small” Wireless Telecommunications Facilities (sWTFs) in residential neighborhoods.

Instead of wireless broadband, Californians need the long-promised, already paid-for (via charges levied on Californians’ telephone bills since the mid-1990’s) and largely undelivered solution: Fiber Optics to the Premises (FTTP).

I am a subject matter expert in Telecommunications policy matters and worked on the teams that secured vetoes of two earlier California state telecommunications overreach bills:

  1. SB 649 was vetoed in October, 2017, 24 hours after I talked to Gov. Brown during his visit to Santa Rosa
  2. SB 556 was vetoed in October, 2021, 48 hours after Gov. Newsom viewed our video address (from five expert Californians)

The bottom line is that California Governors have been very clear in supporting local control over the siting and construction of the heavy industrial equipment in localities that support wireless telecommunications service (the ability to make outdoor wireless phone calls) and wired information service (for internet, video/audio streaming and gaming).

The key problem is with wireless broadband. Wireless broadband is an unnecessary, hazardous, energy-inefficient, fire prone, slower and less secure means of delivering broadband compared to Fiber Optics to the premises (FTTP). Both of our CA Governors agreed. Gov Newsom wrote in his SB.556 veto letter in October, 2021 (See Appendix A for the full letter):

“There is a role for local government in advancing broadband efforts. Part of our achievements laid out in the Broadband budget bill SB 156 (Chapter 112. Statutes of 2020) enables and encourages local governments to take an active role in the last mile deployment and, in doing so, drive competition and increase access.”

In short, the decision to choose wired broadband (via FTTP) or wireless broadband via densified deployment of 4G/5G so-called “small” Wireless Telecommunications Facilities (sWTFs) in residential neighborhoods is a local one and NOT a statewide matter. Such a decision is fundamental to local zoning discretion and local residential values.

Wireless industry lobbyists have been relentless in trying to enroll Californians into a foolhardy agenda: taking away local control over the placement and construction of WTFs. This agenda is inconsistent with the legislative intent of the 1996 Telecommunications Act. As you can read here, a reasonable time for processing permits for WTFs was recognized by the US Supreme Court in its 2005 ruling in Palos Verdes vs Abrams. The ruling relied on the Conference Report of the 1996 Telecommunications Act as a definitive source of the congressional intent of the 1996-Act. The Conference Report states:

“It is not the intent of this provision to give preferential treatment to the personal wireless service industry in the processing of requests, or to subject their requests to any but the generally applicable time frames for zoning decision.”

In short, no Californian will be best served by Wireless WTFs of any size or any G in front of their homes, as you can read and view here:

Please allow California’s counties and towns to solve the Digital Divide in the best ways for their local residents, consistent with Gov. Newsom’s views on the matter.

Thank you. I look forward to speaking with you, soon.

Date: May 12, 2023

To: Assemblymember Juan Carrillo
   Paul Ramey
   Brenda Contreras
   Jay Dickenson

Re: AB 965 — Broadband Permit Efficiency and Local Government Staff Solution Best Practices Act of 2023

This is a follow up email to report the events of this week that responded to my 5/8/23 email to Brenda Contreras and Jay Dickenson, quoted below. This also follows up on several unreturned calls to the office of Juan Carrillo and the Appropriations Committee to speak with each of you, personally.

  • Actions taken this week by Carrillo staff or Appropriations Committee staff to respond to the email, cited below: NONE
  • Phone calls returned by Carrillo staff or Appropriations Committee staff to respond to the email, cited below: NONE

I had two telephone conversations with Appropriations Committee staff this week: one with Kala Tailor, Committee Secretary ( on May 10 and one with Kitty Barowitz, Assistant Secretary ( on May 12. We discussed nothing substantive re: the bill, only procedural clarification.

As I recall from May 10, I believe Kala said that an Appropriations Committee recommendation regarding AB 965 would be communicated (to members only?) on Fri May 12 — recommending the bill be categorized as either suspense, consent, or do pass/presented by the bill sponsor. For the reasons stated below, we are recommending that this very controversial bill be presented at Appropriations Committee by Assemblymember Juan Carrillo and that the public be given a chance to give substantive oral public comments (either in person, by phone, or by Zoom) on the important changes needed for this bill. I have requested to be an opposition speaker to this bill and have heard back nothing, to date.

When I called to follow up on May 12, Kitty picked up the phone and told me that an Appropriations committee recommendation regarding AB 965 would not be communicated until late Mon May 15, less than 48 hours from the Wed May 14 Appropriations Committee hearing that would consider AB 965.

In a government of by and for the people of California, we are reasonably and politely asking for Brenda Contreras and Jay Dickenson to engage with Wire California, a subject matter expert in telecommunications matters in a timely manner. Wire California worked to successfully preserved local control for CA counties and cities re: the placement, construction, modification or operations of Wireless Telecommunications Facilities (WTFs) of any size or any “G” in 2017 and 2021. Vetoes of SB.649 and SB.556 ensured that CA state code remained consistent with US Code, with US C0urts of Appeals rulings in the D.C Circuit and the Ninth Circuit and with US Supreme court rulings — laws and rulings that affirm local control in these matters.

Any state bill attempting to take away local control for the placement, construction, modification or operations of WTFs is a large problem, necessitating significant changes in AB 965, as currently written.

Will you please each return my call at [redacted] at your earliest convenience this afternoon or first thing Monday morning?

Thank you.