Problems with June, 2023 FCC Broadband Maps

By Doug Dawson June 5, 2023 | Original POTS and Pans article here.

As promised, the FCC released a new set of maps on May 30. These are supposed to be the maps that will be used to allocate the $42.5 billion in BEAD grant funding to states. Broadband analyst Mike Conlow quickly published a blog on Substack about the new mapping data that includes a summary of the new map in easy-to-understand tables. Mike’s summary shows that there are more than 114.5 million broadband passings in the country – locations that could be broadband subscribers). That’s an increase of over 1 million locations since the last version of the FCC maps.

More importantly, the new maps can be used to count the number of households that can buy broadband at various speeds. The $42.5 billion in BEAD grant funding will be allocated to states according to the number of unserved locations – places that can’t buy broadband at a speed of at least 25/3 Mbps. Locations are underserved if there is an ISP that offers broadband between 25/3 Mbps and 100/20 Mbps. According to Mike’s quick math, there are 8.67 million unserved locations and 3.55 million underserved locations. Mike subsequently corrected the number of unserved locations to 8.3 million.

Anybody who is intimately familiar with the FCC maps knows that there is a lot of fiction buried in the reporting. There is one huge flaw in the FCC mapping system that has carried over from the previous FCC mapping regime – ISPs self-report the speeds they can deliver. Per the FCC mapping rules, ISPs can claim broadband marketing speeds rather than some approximation of actual speeds. In every county where I’ve delved deep into the local situation, I’ve found multiple ISPs that are overclaiming broadband speeds.

ISPs vary widely in how they report broadband speeds to the FCC. I see some ISPs who meticulously categorize customers into a dozen or more speed tiers. It’s fairly obvious that these ISPs are trying to accurately show the speeds that are available. But there are also ISPs that claim the same speed over a large geographic area. In today’s world, I’m always instantly suspicious of any ISP that claims exactly 100/20 Mbps broadband since that conveniently classifies those locations as served. An ISP making that claim is telling the FCC that everybody in their service footprint already has adequate broadband and that there is no need to give grant money to anybody to compete with them.

But such a claim is ludicrous if the ISP is deploying a technology like DSL, cellular wireless, or fixed wireless where it is impossible that every customer over a wide geographic area to get the ISP’s top claimed speed. Such claims are easy to debunk when you look closely. For example, customers only a few miles from a DSLAM or a tower can’t get the fastest speeds. There are multiple reasons why a given customer’s speed might be slower. Such claims are even more quickly debunked when looking at detailed Ookla speed tests.

A second flaw in the FCC maps is the coverage areas claimed by ISPs. The FCC is counting on public broadband challenges or challenges by State Broadband Offices to somehow fix this problem – but that’s an unrealistic hope. Most people don’t know about the FCC maps and the challenge process – and even people who know about it are not motivated to file a challenge about an ISP that claims service at their home that’s not really available. This issue can apply to any technology, but it’s particularly a problem for WISPs and cellular broadband. It’s not easy for a knowledgeable engineer to accurately judge the coverage area of a wireless network from a given tower – I have to think it’s beyond the capability of the folks at a State Broadband Office to understand it enough to challenge coverage. But it doesn’t take any expertise to know that a WISP or a cellular company claiming ubiquitous 100/20 Mbps coverage across large areas is exaggerating both speed and coverage capabilities.

It’s going to be interesting to see how States react to these final counts. There have been rumors about states ready to sue the FCC and the NTIA if they feel these maps will cheat them out of funding. There has been legislation introduced in the Senate that would force the NTIA to wait longer for better maps before allocating most of the funding. It’s going to be surprising if nobody pops up to challenge the allocation of the $42.5 million dollars. A challenge could plunge the BEAD grants into huge uncertainty.

An even bigger issue is if the FCC maps will be used to determine the locations that are grant eligible – because that would be a travesty. That would mean that every ISP that claims a bogus 100/20 Mbps broadband coverage will be rewarded by keeping out competition from grant funding. Regardless of how the funding is allocated to States, State Broadband Offices need to be the ones to determine which locations in their State don’t have good broadband.

Reader Comment:

I take issue with your statement of suspicion about any ISP showing 100/20 service plans. That is a natural number to pick when arriving at plan speeds. ISP operators are human just like the people the selected 100/20 as the “broadband” speed. Why are we not suspicious of that selection? What if 92/13 would actually suffice? Or 113/ 27? We had a 100/25 plan on our Wisp long before BEAD was a thing. That plan is available to anyone in the coverage that we reported to FCC at fair local market value. You know how we did that? By shrinking our coverage down to where signal levels are high enough we can deliver that speed. If everyone in that coverage area subscribed to the 100/25 could we support that kind of usage? No.

But guess what? In real life, at fair market value, having plans available from 25/10 to 100/25, we only have a very few people who select anything faster than 25 Mbps. Why? Because with latency at <50 millisecond across our whole network, the people choosing the 25/10 are totally satisfied. The few folks wanting faster can subscribe to our 50 or 100 Mbps plan, and everything works.

Back to the coverage map. The map we use in house is entirely different they the one we reported to FCC. Why? Because of the statement of satisfaction I mentioned about our 25 Mbps plan. As far as I know there is nothing illegal or devious about hooking someone up outside the coverage we reported to FCC. We do it routinely. And if those people call for the 100 Mbps I’m going to tell them it’s not available, or do like any smaller, local friendly, wisp would do and upgrade the sector in their direction to meet the requested speed. We have done that multiple times, ironically well within the 10 day limit given. Let’s see a cable or fiber ISP response like that. So that’s my 2 cents for the day. The high amount of wireless ISP’s reporting 100/x is very likely because they are doing what we have done. Actually mapping coverage to where we can support the “broadband” speed that was arbitrarily selected by humans pulling a number out of a hat. If it was test driven metrics that arrived at the number it would not have been an even 100/20, that is for sure.

If every sub on a fiber ISP got on the net at the same time and did a sustained download and upload test for 1 hour would they all successfully maintain 100/20 for the whole hour? I highly doubt it, so they are over subscribed, just like we are over subscribed. The whole BEAD funding/FCC mapping system, as far as I understand, did not address oversubscription at all, yet it is a reality in every single ISP in existence. So playing totally by the rules, if I can deliver 100/25 (our fastest residential speed) to any one single client in our “FCC stated” coverage area, then I am 100% within the confines of the system that was forced upon us. Because over subscription is real and they left it completely off the discussion table. Real life is radically different than the mythical ideas floating around at the FCC offices. To date, with the new mapping system, we have zero challenges about our coverage, zero complaints about delivering what we advertise, and also zero churn other than people moving out of our service area. With over 75% of our customer base subscribed to our 25/10 service plan.

We use exclusively unlicensed spectrum, so we’re eligible for government funded overbuilding. Our only hope is that our area will be considered high cost and that will discourage a government funded build over. We have over a decade of hard labor building a solid network. No we can’t serve 500 Mbps, but our reviews are 100% positive. As we transition to 60 GHz, we’ll be able to offer a lot higher speeds.

I’m sure there are many WISPS like us across America. It would be nice if there was some slight recognition for the fact that we have been providing solid service to people that the big ISP’s thumbed their nose at for decades.

Doug Dawson Reply Comment:

The problem is that a lot of ISPs are not as scrupulously honest as you are. I’m sure you don’t believe that T-Mobile and Verizon are this honest with customers. There are also plenty of WISPs and DSL ISPs who are claiming marketing speeds in the FCC mapping that are far in excess of what they are actually delivering.

The problem is with the less-than-honest ISPs. Such ISPs can keep away competition from BEAD funding by the simple act of claiming 100/20 Mbps speeds in the FCC maps while delivering something slower. People living in these areas are going to be left behind.

The problem is biggest for cellular wireless. These companies will admit that they can’t begin to serve everybody in an area – they have a natural upper limit on the folks they are willing to serve from a given tower – just like Starlink has done. In areas that are claimed to be served by fast cellular broadband, the majority of folks won’t be able to buy service from the only fast ISP.

My hope is that State Broadband offices look under the hood, on a case-by-case basis to find the real story. They ought to like folks like you, but should not be willing to give grants in areas where the ISP can’t deliver the claimed speeds to everybody.

Applendix A: Estimates from Broadband Analyst Mike Conlow


New version of the National Broadband Map

This version will be used for allocating funds in the NTIA’s BEAD program

The FCC released an updated National Broadband Map today and I’m ready to share the first version of a state-level analysis. This is the version of the map that will be used by the NTIA to allocate $42.5 billion in the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program. I’ll provide the top lines here and more detailed methodology and caveats are below. Overall, as of December 31, 2022, there are 114,537,044 Broadband Serviceable Locations (BSLs) in the country (including territories). That’s a net addition of 1 million BSLs.

  • 7.6% of the BSLs are Unserved, or 8.3 million nationally.
  • 3.1% of the BSLs are Underserved, or 3.5 million nationally.

For California, that is 10,139,429 Broadband Serviceable Locations

  • 3.2% of the BSLs are Unserved, or 317, 702 statewide
  • 1.5% of the BSLs are Underserved, or 152, 091 statewide

Here’s the spreadsheet.

There are some surprises. Michigan, for example, lost 71,139 Unserved locations, an 18% decline, which leads to a $416 million lower allocation. (This deserves further investigation). North Dakota, Indiana, Florida, Georgia, and South Dakota also have double digit loses in the percentage of Unserved. (Lower Unserved numbers mean the maps show more locations as Served or Underserved, which lowers the allocation to the state).

In some states, the addition of Unserved locations is dramatic. Alaska’s Unserved locations grew 84% to 88,181 increasing their allocation to $166 million. There were a lot of other states with big increases: Nebraska (+225%), Iowa (+124%), Oregon (+70%), Kansas (+61%), and North Carolina (+45%).

(All of my comparisons to the previous National Broadband Map v1 are from the original data released by the FCC last November, with the exception of Illinois and Hawaii, which were updated. My understanding is, other than Illinois and Hawaii, the corrections to the v1 National Map have been minor.)

The big news is the projected allocation of the $42.5 billion. NTIA plans to release the allocations at the end of June, so it is more than likely that with the release of this data, the allocation levels are now set.


Ten percent of the overall allocation is based on the number of “high cost locations” in each state. To my knowledge, NTIA still hasn’t published how they plan to determine how many high cost locations each state has. As an estimate, I use numbers I generated in previous analysis that are themselves based on the reserve prices from the FCC’s RDOF reverse auction.

These allocation estimates include the territories, since that is how the allocation will be done by NTIA. However this allocation could undercount Unserved locations in the territories since the broadband coverage options are fewer. For example, in the previous release I had Puerto Rico with 213,000 Unserved out of 1.16 million BSLs. In this version, I get 63,600 Unserved out of 1.15 million BSLs. That leads to a minus $632 million swing for Puerto Rico (money that goes to other states). If the FCC releases authoritative numbers of BSLs and housing units in each Census block I’ll update these numbers.

If there are updates/changes/corrections to these numbers, I’ll post them as updates to this page or new posts.

I will have much more analysis on what’s changed since the first fabric release, and what this means for where things stand on broadband deployment in the future.

If you wish to cite these numbers, please do so as “estimates from broadband analyst Mike Conlow” and link to this Substack post. As always, if you want to reach me you can respond to the Substack emails and it will get to me.

Stop the ALEC Wireless Plan to Widen the Digital Divide

Adapted from a commentary by Larry Ortega, Oct 20, 2021 | Original Cal Matters commentary here.

Larry Ortega is founder of Community Union Inc., a nonprofit corporation that trains consumers living in the digital divide, and a 35-year veteran of the technology sector.

Summary: The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and Telecoms Cos. are working in tandem to ensure that consumers in California and the U.S. DO NOT get access to world-class telecommunication services.

For almost 30 years, America’s telecom companies have been receiving billions of dollars in rate increases and extra fees to finance the build-out of a national fiber optic network. Along the way, they discovered that such a network would hamper their opportunity to make a financial killing with wireless technology. So in 2010, they stopped upgrading phone customers with fiber optics, thus widening the digital divide and leaving millions of Americans unconnected.

This is not just another digital divide story about rural or inner-city residents who lack access to broadband services. This is a story about a skillfully thought-out, well-financed scheme that involves the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), Koch Industries (the largest privately held company in the U.S.) and a gang of lobbyists joining forces to write legislation.

This legislation would use the levers of state government to fast-track the deployment of an unregulated and a highly profitable wireless business. In state after state, the same political forces that are legislating away voting rights and increasing the power of corporations are pushing to fast-track 5G legislation under the guise of fixing the digital divide.

The wireless industry claimed that rapid deployment of densifed 4G/5G technology will bring great new benefits to consumers, and just like that, almost every one of our California legislators climbed on board. What the industry purposefully omits is that fiber optics (wired) connections are 10,000 times faster than 5G, more secure, less expensive for the consumer — and future-proof.

In fact, it was the phone companies themselves that abandoned the completion of fiber connections midstream, leaving millions of miles of “dark fiber” in the ground. A 2018 Network Exam by the California Public Utilities Commission detailed how abandoning fiber optic upgrades to low-income and rural areas left consumers with wireless-only options. This is a well-known — and unethical — strategy called “harvesting.”

These attacks on consumers by ALEC and the telecommunications industry have been constant. Gov. Gavin Newsom faced off with telecom when he was mayor of San Francisco. Federal Communication Commission Commissioner Brendan Carr had fought the city’s effort to ensure consumer protections. Carr wrote the FCC’s current regulations on 5G, known as Carr’s 5G Orders.

These orders obliterate state and local government oversight of infrastructure build-out, throwing out both financial and physical safety protocols, all in the name of a race to third place. Even when 5G can be successfully deployed, it is still slower than fiber optics and cable TV.

ALEC, Carr and the phone companies are working in lock-step to ensure that consumers in California and the U.S. do not get access to world-class telecommunication services. Fiber optic upgrades would slash profits by hundreds of billions of dollars, breaching telecoms’ fiduciary duty to their shareholders. The telecoms want no part of profit-slashing and therefore have chosen to drive a strategy that ensures the persistence of a digital divide.

Community groups, unions (such as the Communication Workers of America) and parents who well understand that their children will be harmed by unregulated deployment of wireless infrastructure have figured out this grift. They recently asked for, and were granted, the governor’s veto on Senate Bill 556 (Sen. Dodd), one of the four ALEC telecom bills in the 2021 legislative session. The three other 2021 ALEC telecom bills which were signed by Gov. Newsom

  • AB.537 (Asm. Quirk) | Chaptered in 2021 | [Tele]communications: wireless telecommunications and broadband facilities. (the “Deemed Approved, Deemed Permit-Issued” Wireless Bill)
  • AB.955 (Asm. Quirk) | Enrolled in 2021 | Highways: encroachment permits: broadband facilities. (the “CA Streets and Highways Deemed Approved” Wireless Shot Clock Bill)
  • SB.378 (Sen. Gonzalez) | Chaptered in 2021 | Local government: broadband infrastructure development project permit processing: microtrenching permit processing ordinance. (the “Cheap Micro-Trenching & No Public Access to Fiber” Bill)

. . . should get repealed in 2022, along with 2015’s AB.57 (Asm. Quirk), another unnecessary shot clock bill that is inconsistent with the 1996 Telecommunications Act.

  • AB.57 (Asm. Quirk) | Chaptered in 2015 | Telecommunications: wireless telecommunication facilities. (the “Unnecessary Wireless Shot Clock” Bill)

Are you seeing the theme, here? Assembly member Quirk is the ALEC/Telecom go-to-guy. Why is that?

Follow the money . . . Voters should respond, accordingly.

The effort to defeat SB.556 was a massive grassroots undertaking. This cohort of consumers and advocates prevailed in 2021, just as they had on securing a veto of SB.649 another ALEC/Telecom bill from 2017. They are sending a clear message to the Wireless industry — stay out of California’s residential zones.

The veto of SB.556 is a victory for local governments in California, and cities should now respond by passing local ordinances that protect the residential zones and keep any densified 4G/5G Wireless grid only in commercial and industrial zones.

But we must remain vigilant because ALEC and its friends have a history that has had a devastating impact on families living with the digital divide:

  • 2012’s SB 1161, which the CPUC Network Exam points to as a culprit in exacerbating the digital divide;
  • 2017’s SB 649, which was vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown;
  • 2021’s AB 537, which created a “deemed granted” law that puts safety protocols at risk.

Consumers, telecoms and our legislators are charged with the task of ensuring that all Californians have quality, high-speed, fiber optic access to online resources, be they in the rural cities of Huron, Mendota or Firebaugh or the inner-city of MacArthur Park, Huntington Park or Leimert Park neighborhoods of Los Angeles.

It is time for the governor to call for an investigation into why these ALEC bills keep landing on his desk. Consumers deserve to know how it is that the telecom industry’s plans since 1993 to upgrade consumers with fiber optics still have not been delivered.

At no point did consumers agree to a more expensive, less efficient wireless network. Wireless technology has its application, but to reiterate, 5G is 10,000 times slower than fiber optics, requires higher maintenance and will consume much more energy than fiber optics once deployed, guaranteeing a larger, not smaller, carbon footprint.

We might begin by looking at increasing oversight of fiber optics deployed under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934 — a federal mandate that all customers shall be served. This increased oversight, by itself, might be able to close the digital divide.

Gov. Newsom’s Balancing Act Between Local Control and Big Wireless

October 5, 2021 | Original Surviving Sacramento article here

Of the three Big Wireless sponsored legislation, one remains: Senate Bill 378

The California Public Utilities Commission has established rules regarding underground utility infrastructure — generally designed to prevent hitting a gas, electric, or other utility infrastructure. Senate Bill 378 requires local government to allow fiber-optic lines to be installed in narrow excavated trenches — microtrenches. SB 378 does NOT specify whether fiber installers would have to comply with the safety requirements established by the CPUC.

This past week, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 537, which places strict timelines for cities and counties to review and respond to cell tower transmitter applications. If the local municipality cannot meet a 60-day timeline, according to AB 537, the application will be deemed approved, the permit considered issued, and the wireless company can start construction immediately.

The legislation is supported by Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, TowerCo, Crown Castle, and the Wireless Infrastructure Association.

Yet, Gov. Newsom vetoed Senate Bill 556, protecting local control over the placement, construction and operations of Wireless Telecommunications Facilities (WTFs) of any size or any “G”.

SB-556 would have compelled local governments to give Big Wireless nearly free access to the streetlight and traffic signal poles to install cell tower transmitters. This legislation would have overridden local agreements with Big Wireless, overridden local zoning laws, and severely limited control over when and where the “small” Wireless Telecommunications Facilities (sWTFs) would be constructed.

In his> Gov. Newsom said:

“I am returning Senate Bill 556 without my signature.

This bill would restrict the ability of local governments and publically-owned electric utilities to regulate the placement of small cell wireless facilities on public infrastructure and list the compensation that may be collected for use of these public assets.

In 2018, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted many of the requirements that this bill seeks to codify. The provision of this bill, however, conflict with and complicate for of the FCC requirements. Further, it would be imprudent to codify these requirements in state law in the event the FCC revises them.”

It is hard to imagine Governor Newsom signing legislation that raises critical questions about micro-trenching fiber optic lines without appropriate safeguards established by the California Public Utilities Commission. These safeguards seek to prevent excavation projects from hitting the gas, electric, or other utility infrastructure. But then again, it has been a strange and wild 2021 legislative session.

Dear Gov. Newsom: Get the Money Back from Big Telecom to Finally Bridge the Digital Divide

Adapted from an article by Bruce Kushnick, Spet 22, 2021 | Original Medium article here.

Follow the Money . . .

And Then Do Not Sign the Industry-Based Wireless Bills

The following table could be worth over $1–2 billion dollars annually to the state of California from a State Public Telecommunications Utility (SPTU) named AT&T-California (formerly called “Pacific Bell”), particularly if the California Annual Financial Report matches what has been going on with New York state’s SPTU, Verizon-NY. As one can see, there are massive financial cross-subsidies revealed in this table. (This is an excerpt from the Verizon NY 2020 Annual Report, published May 27th, 2021.)


This is the third of three letters on this topic. The previous two letters can be found at the following links:

  1. Letter 1 addresses the three corporate-sponsored wireless bills, all that deserve to be vetoed:

Each of these bill do not solve the Digital Divide and give unnecessary gifts to Big Wireless at the expense of California’s counties, cities and resdidents. These bills are self-serving and appears to be created with the help of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). This letter also gives a brief history of the failed fiber optic deployments in CA by Pacific Bell/AT&T California.

  1. Letter 2 focuses on the failed fiber optic deployments in California that were all the rage in the 1990’s, including the plans to have San Diego CA, fully upgraded to fiber optics by the year 2010. By 2000, 5.5 million homes should have been upgraded and $16 billion was supposed to have been spent — but that never happened.

How Can CA get fiber optic broadband infrastructure to all, at reasonable rates?

This letter details what is mostly hiding in plain sight, lost or unknown due to institutional amnesia. This article summarizes some of the revenues and expenses from Verizon-NY, which will parallel what can be found in AT&T-California’s financial reports. Unfortunately, the AT&T CA Annual Reports are not available to the public — only the work done by the CPUC and released, unredacted, in January, 2021.

And anyone who has ever read a financial spreadsheet of revenues and expenses, in glancing at the numbers in the opening graphic, will most likely start laughing or crying. How can Local Service, which are the revenues from the basic copper-based phone service, be paying $833 million dollars in Corporate Operations expenses? (Line 5, Column f) in just NY, in just 2020? Worse, $1.1 billion in construction and maintenance has been charged to the Local Service line of business, yet these networks are not being upgraded. (Line 2, Column f). In fact, there are plans to ‘shut off the copper’ which have been around for the last decade.

With revenue for Local Service of only $1 billion, this accounting has been manipulated to put the majority of Corporate Operations expenses, and the construction expenses, into the regulated Local Service classification while the other unregulated lines of business listed are getting a free ride.

This Financial Shell Game is the Digital Divide; These financial machinations have been used to NOT upgrade whole areas of NY State, as well as California, and the billions in construction funds that were intended to maintain the copper infrastructure and to upgrade the network to a fiber optic infrastructure, were illegally diverted to fund the affiliated wireless infrastructure and the other lines of the media content businesses and foreign telecom investments. This Financial Shell Game has been used for multiple rate increases based on claims that the copper infrastructure was losing money, as well as used as an excuse to cut staff and move the business to wireless. In NY, this has meant leaving rural areas and low-income urban areas with no serious broadband competition and slow DSL service. Moving the billions back to build out the high-speed, fiber optic wired infrastructure — should be the next step.

YES, these financials of Verizon NY should match AT&T California — they use identical deformed accounting formulas.

On May 27th, 2021, the Verizon NY 2020 Annual Report was published — and it is important because it is based on the exact same accounting formulas that AT&T California is using — the FCC Cost Accounting rules known as the “USOA”, “Uniform System of Accounting”. And, as we will discuss, the formulas that allocate the expenses to the different lines of business have been manipulated to make one line of business, Local Service, pay the majority of expenses, — while the other lines of business, such as FiOS, DSL, VoIP, Business Data, or wireless services are paying a fraction of the expenses that they should be.

On October 26th, 2020, the IRREGULATORS filed comments with the CPUC and the Broadband Council. We estimate that there is $1.7-$2.4 billion in potential overcharging annually of Local Service, by AT&T, the primary state telecommunications public utility. This money should be redirected to build out the fiber optic networks, which can be used by municipalities or as open access networks — not controlled by AT&T.

Let’s start with a few items in the Verizon NY Annual Report, and the basis of the presentation. There are three major lines of business in these financials using the copper and fiber wires:

  • “Nonregulated”, (Column C) which are the FiOS video, and VoIP (digital voice), or services that were once regulated.
  • “Local Service”, (Column F) the revenues from the ‘regulated’ the basic copper-based phone service.
  • “Access” (Column G) or sometimes called “Business Data Services”, (“BDS”) or “backhaul”, which are the wires to the cell sites or used by banks providing data services.

Click for a short summary of the financial report AT&T California is a state-based wir) and a by-the-numbers explanation, as well as links to the Verizon NY 2020 Annual Report and our analysis.

Do AT&T CA’s financial reports match Verizon NY and do the manipulated accounting formulas match? Yes.

1. Both Verizon NY and AT&T California are state-based telecommunications public utilities hiding in plain sight. Through institutional amnesia, no one we spoke to knows that there are still state telecom utilities, or that the wires are put in and classified as Title II services.

2. Same Accounting: They both rely on the corrupted USOA accounting — even though they filed with the FCC to stop this practice in 2007. (In fact, Brendan Carr, now an FCC Commissioner, was one of Verizon’s attorneys in these proceedings.)

3. Same Accounting Manipulations via a ‘Freeze’ — The accounting formulas that allocate the expenses were frozen by the FCC to match the year 2000 and were never changed over the last 2 decades — nor any adjustments. In 2000, Local Service was 65% of the revenues and it paid 65% of the expenses — by 2021, Local Service was 20–24% of the total revenues but it still is paying almost 60% of the expenses.

4. The last data from the FCC on construction expenditures matched. Throughout America, the local service classification was charged, on average, over 71% of the total construction expenses in 2007, while “BDS” only paid 29%.

The last FCC data collected was for the year 2007. Using “Construction and Maintenance”, (known as “specific” and “nonspecific” “Plant”) we compare AT&T California and Verizon New York. (We also added Verizon-GTE, which was sold to Frontier); the national average we found for 2007; 71% of expenses for construction were put into Local Service, not Access Services.

This is ludicrous as it should have been the other way around, especially in 2020; there has been no serious construction of the copper networks for a decade. We note that there are different sections of the annual report tells a more detailed story.

5. The expenses for Construction were charged to Local Service but were not spent on the networks. And here is the problem — All of AT&T California is one big sink-hole of cross-subsidies.

The California PUC found:

“Over the full 2010–2017 period, less than 1% of all AT&T capital spending on network plant additions, just under $47 million, was for outside plant rehabilitation projects.

“Extraordinarily small portions of AT&T California’s Plant Additions and Maintenance expenditures have been directed at legacy POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) services over the 2013–2017 period.”

Yes, this says that AT&T CA spent under $50 million to maintain and repair the basic entire network in California for 8 years. The CA PUC information stops in 2017.

And this is almost identical to Verizon NY, where the expenses that were charged to Local Service were NOT used to upgrade the network. In Verizon NY, overall, local service used only $41 million for 2020, and averaged only $30 million a year on the construction.

This means that on the opening chart, the $1.1 billion in construction and maintenance is overcharged over $1 billion, is most likely being used illegally by Verizon’s wireless subsidiary,

6. The Kicker to the Allocation of Construction Expenses — An Almost Two Decade Model.

This next chart is taken directly from the Verizon NY 2003 and 2020 Annual Reports and it shows that since 2003, virtually 60+ of the construction was charged to Local Service, while the “construction in progress” in NY had 73% put into Local Service.

Just look at the summary of the ‘Networks in Service’ for the years 2003 and 2020, and the percentage of the expenses by line of business, and the ‘under construction’ for 2020.

What this shows is that for almost 2 decades, the entire state wired infrastructure was charged to Local Service; Nonregulated, including FiOS, has been getting a free ride, while BDS, with about double the revenues, is paying ½ of what Local Service paid. And in 2020, Local Service paid a whopping 73% but it did not go to do construction and maintenance.

NOTE: The differences with the opening chart is that the networks have different types of copper and fiber and they are classified in different ways.

Halting these illegal cross-subsidies to the other lines of business would insure that those funds that should have been used for fixing the Digital Divide now be used to deliver what was ignored over the last decade.

As we noted, AT&T CA stated that the wireless networks were being subsidized by the wireline networks. But these entire financial reports are a collection of shell games.

And most important, based on the CPUC Network exam report, these cross-subsidies appear to be identical.

7. Corporate Operations Expense has also been Manipulated

Using the FCC’s last financial report, this chart shows that Local Service was charged 72% of corporate expenses, on average for America, and that AT&T CA allocated 75% of the total; Verizon NY was charged 68%, but — the total amount actually varies by year.

In short, what we have uncovered is the ongoing cross-subsidy of Verizon NY and Verizon’s other lines of business, including wireless, and halting this illegal flow of money could result in billions of dollars that should/could be used to properly upgrade the entire state with fiber optics.

We assume the same applies to AT&T California.

The proposed corporate-funded wireless legislation has been pushed via these cross-subsidies as well and the corporate expenses are obviously the same monies used to influence politicians and fund lobbyists and even ALEC.

With billions of dollars per year that could restructure the future in California, we hope you take our analyses seriously and implement our findings and recommendations.

Dear Governor Newsom, Here’s the Fiber Optic Future that Didn’t Happened in California

By Bruce Kushnick, Sept 21, 2021 | Original Medium article here.

Senator Hueso, Chairman of the Standing Committee on Energy, Utilities and Communications, should be well aware of these facts.

A. Pacific Bell’s “landmark” agreement with the city of San Diego to be upgraded to fiber optics, here called ‘VDT” — Video Dialtone — by 2010. Here is the map of San Diego, CA and the coverage with fiber optics to all by 2010.

B. The Landmark Deal with San Diego: Unserved Areas Completed by 2010

C. All of California was supposed to be upgraded, starting in 1994.

Rise and Fall of the Fiber Optic Future in CA, as told by the San Diego Tribune**

No audits or investigations of any note were ever directed by CA’s elected representatives. Why?

Dear Governor Newsom, Please Veto the Corporate-Sponsored Wireless Bills SB.556, AB.537 & SB.378; Start Investigations Instead

Adapted from an article by Bruce Kushnick, Sept 20, 2021 | Original Medium article here.

California needs investigations into the $Billions of cross-subsidies carried out by AT&T Holding Co. to avoid paying California State taxes and boost its corporate profits. For decades, Big AT&T has transferred $Billions from its REGULATED wired State PUblic telecommunications Utility Co. (AT&T-California) to its UNREGULATED wireless subsidiary companies (New Cingular, AT&T Mobility, and others). These financial sleights-of-hand have been and continue to be in direct violation of the 1996 Telecommunications Act: Title 47, §254(k), which states:

§254(k) Subsidy of competitive services prohibited

“A telecommunications carrier may not use services that are not competitive to subsidize services that are subject to competition. The Commission, with respect to interstate services, and the States, with respect to intrastate services, shall establish any necessary cost allocation rules, accounting safeguards, and guidelines to ensure that services included in the definition of universal service bear no more than a reasonable share of the joint and common costs of facilities used to provide those services.

These misallocated $Billions by AT&T Holding Co. were originally earmarked to fund a fiber optic future for California. The State doesn’t need these three corporate-sponsored wireless bills — all three bills deserve a veto by Gov. Newsom in order to preserve local control over the placement and construction of Wireless Telecommunications Facilities (WTFs):

  1. SB.556 (Dodd): the “Destroy Local Control & Child Endangerment” Wireless Bill
  2. AB.537 (Quirk): the “Deemed Approved, Deemed Permit-Issued” Wireless Bill
  3. SB.378 (Gonzalez): the “Cheap Micro-Trenching & No Public Access to Fiber” Bill

The three bills were written for the wireless industry with the help of what appears to be ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council — and simply handed to CA’s State Legislators.

As we will discuss, AT&T et al. created the Digital Divide and they now want to remove the remaining regulations and obligations, and, of course, increase their profits rather than serve its customers with high-speed broadband and internet and compete for customers, which would lead to lower monthly bills.

At the same time, Congress and various state and federal agencies are gearing up to give these companies government subsidies, rewarding them even though they left a trail of broken broadband promises.

Link to: The Rise and Fall of Fiber Optic Broadband in San Diego, a city which had a ‘landmark’ agreement to have the entire region upgraded, starting in 1997, and completed, even in ‘unserved areas’, by 2010. San Diego, unfortunately, has nothing to show for this agreement. AT&T never delivered and was never held accountable.

We estimate that there has been $1.7-$2.4 billion annually in potential overcharges to AT&T-California’s Local Service — the copper, switched Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS). This money should have been spent to upgrade that copper to the fiber optics to the premises (FTTP) — all the way to every home and business.

Four years ago,we wrote about SB.649, an earlier Wireless Telecom bill designed to eliminate the rights of cities, but also used to justify not upgrading the existing state’s wireline telecommunications infrastructure. Fortunately, Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed that bill, writing:

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

In our article from 2017, we focused on those who pushed these bills through the CA Legislature:

Caption: On the left, Senator Ben Hueso, (Chairman of the Standing Committee on Energy, Utilities and Communications) & AT&T present a $45,000 Grant to Urban Corps of San Diego County, his district. On the right, the principal coauthor of AB 537, Assembly Member Quirk getting a ½ million dollar check for a project in his area from AT&T.

The bills, draped in the language of public good — and purporting to bridge the Digital Divide, appears to have been a ruse. We previously wrote:

“California Wireless Legislation: Paid for by AT&T Et Al. 05/15/2017, Huffington Post.

“There is a proposed piece of legislation in California for the deployment of lots of so-called 4G/5G “small” wireless facilities — a streamlining plan being pushed in other states, the US Congress and at the FCC. And, wouldn’t you know it; those who benefit the most from these state and federal gifts are AT&T et al., the companies who are also funding and engineering these campaigns. In fact, these state bills appear to be based on ‘model legislation’ that was created by the Wireless Infrastructure Association, WIA and by ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council. “

The Wireless Industry has Never been a Friend of California Cities

During your time as Mayor of San Francisco, you were involved in a lawsuit that was initiated by the CTIA, the wireless trade association, (with one of the lawyers having been the now-FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr). And in this case, the CTIA claimed that their First Amendment rights had been violated.

At the time, as Mayor of San Francisco, you wrote:

“I am surprised that industry representatives would choose to spend untold sums of money to fight this in the courts, instead of cooperatively working with San Francisco to comply with a reasonable law that provides greater transparency and information without putting any undue burdens on small businesses or discourage cell phone use in any way.”

Does the Governor now believe that these companies are going to act in California’s best interest or more importantly, that cities should lose their rights to determine the future of the locality’s technology?

These three 2021 Telecom (SB.556, AB.537 and SB.378) are just SB.649 all over again, but split across three bills to attempt to outrun strong opposition to these bills. The bills are attempting to exploit the current problem Digital Divide — a problem created by the Telecoms on purpose. It took a pandemic to stir up public outrage over the lack of competition for high-speed broadband service and the Telecom companies’ decisions to allow whole areas of the state to deteriorate, especially rural areas and low income urban areas.

The Densified 4G/5G Agenda Has Been an Industry Embarrassment.

Densified 4G/5G requires a fiber optic wire to connect each so-called “small” Wireless Telecommunications Facilities (sWTF) to the Internet. The new wireless service has not performed as advertised. Actual, current 5G speeds (25-30 Mbps down, 5-6 Mbps up) can’t compete with a fiber optics to the premises (FTTP), which has symmetric service (1,000 Mbps down, 1,000 Mbps).

Through institutional amnesia, it seems no one knows that AT&T California (sometimes called “Pac Bell”) is still a State Public Telecom Utility (SPTU), that was supposed to have completed state upgrades from copper to fiber optics. Customers paid billions from increased rates on their phone bills to make this happen — but AT&T didn’t deliver. The holding company just pocketed the increased revenues.


In 1993, Pacific Bell stated it would replace the existing copper wires for fiber optic services, and by the year 2000 they would spend $16 billion and have 5.5 million households upgraded. This page, from the 1994 Investor Fact Book, lays out the areas that were supposed to be upgraded.

Click for a history of failed fiber optic broadband deployments by AT&T-Pac Bell, (through 2006).

And they used the fiber optic promise to do a bait-and-switch to get rid of regulations and get more profits with “price caps”. Pac Bell started this upgrade process in 1989 with the claim that another technology delivered over copper, ISDN, was needed. (ISDN came to be known as “It Still Does Nothing”.)

When SBC merged with Pac Bell in 1996, it closed almost everything that was being built, didn’t spend the $16 billion and was never held accountable.

Move up a decade, and AT&T announces U-Verse, which the company claimed would be fiber to the home. It was used by former FCC Chairman Michael Powell, (now chairman of the NCTA, the National Cable and Telecommunications Association) to kill off competitors; it would harm investment if the networks were ‘open’ to competition and had to be rented to competitors.

Instead, California got yet another ALEC based bill, known as DIVCA, the Digital Infrastructure and Cable Competition Act, that had claimed it would bring in fiber optic competition and choice. –

Verizon’s statement is particularly poignant, especially since it never upgraded the infrastructure in their territory but instead sold off their California properties to Frontier.

“Gov. Schwarzenegger’s signing of the Digital Infrastructure and Cable Competition Act is a huge victory for California’s consumers. Under this law, California sets a new standard for accelerating cable-TV competition, and customers can expect new choices, greater value and improved service in terms of video providers.

“This landmark legislation unlocks the vast potential of Verizon’s all-fiber network and enables us to more rapidly offer a new alternative to cable — FiOS TV — in dozens of communities where we have already built our 100-percent fiber-optic network. The new law also provides the certainty for Verizon to commit hundreds of millions of dollars in additional investment to accelerate fiber deployment in California, creating hundreds of new jobs and stimulating our state’s economy.”

AT&T, on the other hand, pulled a bait-and- switch, having told the public and FCC that they were rolling out fiber optic services, only to find that they were just using the existing copper wires to deliver U-verse and instead were illegally subsidizing their other lines of business with the construction funds intended for the fiber upgrade.

The Failure of AT&T to Deliver on Fiber Optic Broadband after 30 Years

It appears AT&T took tens of billions of dollars that should have been going to upgrade the State and moved it to their wireless networks or business services, or even sent the money overseas. The map on the left is AT&T’s ‘wire center’ areas currently and on the right is the fiber optic deployment as told by Broadbandnow.

So, after 30 years, most of California is still based on copper wires, and whole areas of AT&T’s territories were never properly upgraded — causing the Digital Divide.

The FCC’s Streamline Deployment of Densified 4G/5G Agenda Drenched with ALEC-influence

This wireless legislation has been propagandizing America with disinformation for years. A veto of these bills would go a long way to starting on the road to finally solve the Digital Divide.

The FCC’s current Densified 4G/5G plans have been based on a modified ALEC bill that was presented by FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr, with the help of AT&T Indiana, ALEC, and some Indiana politicians with ties to the industry.

We previously detailed the story:

“FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr went to Indianapolis, Indiana on September 4th, 2018 to announce the FCC’s new proposed 5G wireless regulations that are directly tied to “model legislation” most likely created by “ALEC”, the American Legislative Exchange Council. On the floor of the Indiana Senate statehouse, he was joined by the Hoosier politicians, (most, if not all, appear to be getting money from AT&T el al.).”

Ironically, AT&T Indiana, as well as Ohio, Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin all had fiber optic plans in the 1990s and all claimed they would be serving rural areas.

As WTHR stated: (September 5, 2018)

“Commissioner Brandon Carr complimented Indiana lawmakers for changing laws that allow wireless providers to bring Indianapolis mobile speed data that’s 100 times faster than 4G.

“That makes Indianapolis, not New York, not San Francisco…that makes Indianapolis number one in the country for most intensive 5G investment.”

But, those were just more empty promises. One reason to not sign this corporate gift bills would be to returning local control to localities who have already passed local ordinances to manage the installation of wired and wireless broadband in ways that best fit their communities. That would be far better than allowing AT&T, and their minions, including ALEC, to take control of America and California’s future.

The second reason is — GET THE MONEY BACK — and use it for what it was intended to for — bring a fiber optic future to California — already paid for, over and over . . . instead of some vague, imaginary wireless future.

AT&T admitted to investors that they were using the wireline — read utility budgets for wireless build outs at a Wells Fargo investment meeting on June 21, 2016. Bill Smith stated:


Now imagine halting these illegal cross-subsidies and using them to wire the entire state with fiber optics, as well as lower prices — all helping to finally stop the Digital Divide.

California’s State of Emergency Can’t Be Indefinite

By Children’s Health Defense Team, Aug 12, 2021 | Original The Defender article here.

That’s Why We’re Suing Gov. Newsom . . .

Attorney Scott Street and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. discuss a lawsuit filed in the California Supreme Court by Children’s Health Defense asking for an immediate end to Gov. Newsom’s state of emergency.

Scott Street, attorney for the Orange County Board of Education, told Children’s Health Defense (CHD) Chairman Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. on the “RFK Jr. The Defender Podcast” that California’s state of emergency, issued by Gov. Gavin Newsom in March 2020, is being used to alter the way the government functions in California.

Orange County Board of Education and CHD on Tuesday filed a petition for writ of mandate in the California Supreme Court — the highest court in California — asking the court to declare an immediate end to the governor’s declared state of emergency.

Street said:

“The biggest problem we’ve seen in California,” “is the state of emergency has been used to disrupt and change the way government functions here in California.”

Link to ​Whistleblowers Welcome!
Help Humanity – Securely Share COVID-19 Corruption.

Street said:

“18 months is enough. A state of emergency, by definition, cannot be indefinite.”

“The government is supposed to work through a normal process. The legislature makes a law. The executive branch executes and administers the law. In some cases, administrative agencies like the state department of public health can issue orders, rules and regulations, but they’re supposed to follow a normal process, transparent in the open with an opportunity for public debates.”

“That hasn’t been happening because the governor has said during the emergency we shouldn’t have to do that. So those are the fundamental issues of governance that are at stake, and that we’re asking the supreme court to restore to the people of the state of California.”

Kennedy said

“when you delegate your rulemaking power to a regulatory agency,” the U.S. Constitution says that agency cannot enforce the regulation without taking steps to ensure citizens are part of the regulatory process.

This process prevents it from becoming a ‘dictator situation’ where laws and regulations are passed that are “arbitrary and capricious. You need due process.”

“I think we have a really good chance of winning this case and forcing a change to these emergency declarations, not only in California, but hopefully across the country.”

Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez Announces Breast Cancer Diagnosis

By Krisitina Davis, Aug 7, 2021 | Original San Diego Union-Tribune article here.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez speaks at a news conference in San Diego on August 29, 2019. She announced Saturday that she has been diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer.

The Cancer Was Caught in Its Early Stages but Will Still Require Aggressive Treatment, According to Her Husband, County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher

State Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez announced on social media Saturday that she has been diagnosed with breast cancer. She broke the news in her characteristic plucky tone, with the tweet: “Breast Cancer: just another hater trying to kill my vibe. Not. Going. To. Happen.”

In a series of tweets, her husband, County Supervisor Chair Nathan Fletcher, said the cancer is early-stage — Stage 0 — but it is also “aggressive and hormone positive.” The stage of cancer typically refers to the size of the tumor of abnormal cells and if those cells have spread beyond the point of origin, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

Fletcher wrote:

”…Given her family history, she will have to have aggressive treatment. Her Mom developed breast cancer at age 44 and died at age 62,”
“That family history and experiences makes this ordeal more difficult but it also has driven her to rigorous screenings, this early detection and the aggressive treatment ahead. She has no symptoms, feels great and plans to fulfill all her obligations to her constituents.”

Gonzalez, 49, was a labor leader and organizer before being elected in 2013. She represents District 80, which includes Chula Vista, National City and southern San Diego neighborhoods such as Otay Mesa, Barrio Logan and City Heights.

She and Fletcher live in City Heights and are raising a blended family of five children. She has risen to become a prominent progressive figure, known for her outspoken, dynamic style of politics.

Fletcher wrote:

“My wife is the strongest and most fearless person I have ever met. And that strength will guide her through the difficult days ahead,”

She is being treated by Sharp Healthcare and has spent the last few weeks “going through biopsy, MRI’s and meetings with doctors and experts to assess the situation and begin the work to design a treatment plan,” he said.

Gonzalez joins the estimated quarter-million American women who have or will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, he added. “My wife now joins their collective spirit of resilience to fight to this horrific disease and will soon proudly join the ranks of breast cancer survivors.”

He said his wife urges support for regular mammograms and the continued drive for universal healthcare “so that every person can access quality affordable healthcare.” Gonzalez is surrounded by a strong support system, he said, and he encouraged people to send their best wishes and prayers her way.

“She is our Wonder Woman and certainly knows how to fight.”

The announcement was met with a flood of supportive messages.

“Cancer will learn that it’s messed with the wrong person,” San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria tweeted.

Tweets from Nathan Fletcher | @nathanfletcher

Aug 7

My wife is the strongest and most fearless person I have ever met. And that strength will guide her through the difficult days ahead. We wanted to share the news that she was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.

Aug 7

We have spent the last few weeks going through biopsy, MRI’s and meetings with doctors and experts to assess the situation and begin the work to design a treatment plan. But she will get through this.

Aug 7

The cancer is early (stage 0) and she a great medical team (thank you @sharphealthcare
), loving family and tremendously supportive friends.

Aug 7

But it is also aggressive and hormone positive…and given her family history, she will have to have aggressive treatment. Her Mom developed breast cancer at age 44 and died at age 62.

Aug 7

That family history and experiences makes this ordeal more difficult but it also has driven her to rigorous screenings, this early detection and the aggressive treatment ahead. She has no symptoms, feels great and plans to fulfill all her obligations to her constituents.

Aug 7

More than a quarter of a million American women will be diagnosed with breast cancer each year. My wife now joins their collective spirit of resilience to fight to this horrific disease and will soon proudly join the ranks of breast cancer survivors.

Recall Money Wars

What do Newsom’s million-dollar donors want?

By Ben Christopher, July 29, 2021 | Original CalMatters article here.

Gov. Gavin Newsom is receiving millions from key backers to fight off the recall effort.
Gov. Gavin Newsom is receiving millions from key backers to fight off the recall effort.


A new CalMatters analysis shows which of the governor’s big financial backers are coming to his rescue in his hour of need for the California recall election. They include the unions for teachers and prison guards.

Gov. Gavin Newsom may be fighting for his political life amid a

  1. fourth wave of COVID,
  2. a drought , another horrific fire season without modern precedent,
  3. a spiking murder rate and
  4. an increasingly credible-seeming-recall.

But At Least Newsom Has Allies

— a lot of really rich political allies.

At last count, the main committee tasked with defending the governor against the Sept. 14 recall has raised some $39 million. Another allied committee and Newsom’s own 2022 campaign account, which state law allows him to draw upon this year, add another $4 million to that war chest. That’s more than double all other cash raised by the committees campaigning for his ouster and the 46 candidates hoping to replace him, combined.

It also represents the generosity — or perhaps the strategic expenditure — of a broad coalition of some unlikely allies. They include

  • California’s largest teachers union and its most vocal charter school advocates;
  • nurses and the hospitals they sometimes clash with;
  • Realtors, developers, building trades unions and corporate landlords who have differing views on the housing crisis;
  • defense contractors at Lockheed Martin;
  • abortion rights advocates; new car dealers; and
  • the financier-turned-liberal-megadonor George Soros.

All have found common cause in keeping Newsom in his job.

A new CalMatters analysis of the donors to the main anti-recall committee found that organized labor threw Newsom the largest financial lifeline — roughly 45% of the total, including $1.8 million from the teachers union and $1.75 million from the prison guards this week.


Companies and individuals hailing from the state’s business community coughed up another 36% of the $39 million. The remainder came from an assortment of ideological interest groups, tribal governments, the California Democratic Party and small-dollar contributors. (CalMatters’ recall money tracker now shows where donations from a wide range of industries are going.)

Flourish logoA Flourish hierarchy chart

If political contributions are a vote of confidence, the votes of the well-heeled, powerful and influential are overwhelmingly in the incumbent governor’s camp.

Newsom’s current haul isn’t quite the $58 million that he raised during the 2018 race. And it’s dwarfed by recent corporate-backed ballot measure fights that have hit the 9-digit mark.

But if donations were votes, Newsom would defeat the recall in a landslide. The political reality could be far different: A new UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll found pro- and anti-recall sentiment in a virtual dead heat among likely voters. That could provide Newsom’s allies with fresh incentive to pony up — and his campaign more reason to solicit money for the campaign ahead, especially to increase awareness and enthusiasm among Democrats.

The governor’s campaign seems to be taking the threat seriously. In a TV spot that hit the state’s airwaves Wednesday night, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a progressive icon, implored the electorate to vote no “to protect California and our democracy.”

“This is a relatively painless way to strengthen your relationship with an incumbent governor.”


Neither a boatload of money nor a crowded roster of well-financed supporters, however, is a sure recipe of electoral success. Last year, a campaign to repeal state restrictions on affirmative action outraised the opposition nearly 17-to-1, while racking up endorsements from every corner of California power and influence. It failed by 14 percentage points.

But there’s another, even more important reason for many to give, said Dan Schnur, former chairperson of California’s Fair Political Practices Commission and a past strategist for Republican politicians: “This is a relatively painless way to strengthen your relationship with an incumbent governor.”

California campaign finance regulations cap the amount of money that gubernatorial candidates can raise at $32,400 per person — a limit that covers the challengers seeking to replace Newsom. But no such limits apply to committees raising money for a general cause — like the one defending Newsom against the recall. That difference is allowing individuals and groups to write million-dollar checks to help the governor.

Flourish logoA Flourish chart

Organized Labor to the Rescue

Just as the news of the surprisingly grim Berkeley poll was percolating through the California political universe, two more public employee unions — both political forces in their own right and conspicuously absent from the governor’s campaign finance filings — announced this week that they were opening up their coffers.

First, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association threw in $1.75 million. Then came the California Teachers Association with $1.8 million.

Just days after the check from the teachers landed in Newsom’s campaign account, he gave the closing keynote speech today at the union’s summer digital meeting. He applauded the union’s hard-fought legislative accomplishments, which, incidentally, served as a reminder to the teachers that the governor had helped secure them.

Though the teachers were the largest funder of Newsom’s 2018 campaign, that relationship got complicated last spring as Newsom and the union sparred first over when teachers would get vaccines, then how quickly schools should reopen.

But now, Newsom “is facing opponents who are funded by a network that wants to dismantle public education. The choice is stark and clear,” union president E. Toby Boyd said in a statement Wednesday.

Many of the top Republicans vying to take Newsom’s place in the governor’s office support bolstering charter schools, allowing families to spend publicly-funded vouchers on private education and making it easier to fire teachers deemed to be underperforming.

Newsom “is facing opponents who are funded by a network that wants to dismantle public education. The choice is stark and clear.”


The teachers and correctional officers join a financial field fighting the Newsom recall that is crowded with other organized labor groups, including other public employees, construction workers, nurses and other health care workers and food pickers and processors.

Service Employees International Union California, one of the state’s most influential organized labor groups, has kicked in $5.5 million through its various locals. The largest single contribution came from Local 2015, which represents nursing home employees and other long-term care workers.

Local president April Verrett declined an interview request, but emphasized in a statement that the union’s support is more than just financial: “We plan to mobilize our predominantly Black, brown, and immigrant caregivers, who have been on the front lines of this pandemic, to make their voices heard as we go door to door, over the phone and online encouraging a vote against the recall.

For many labor groups, supporting Newsom in his time of need is an investment in the future. One of the governor’s longstanding health policy goals is to implement what he has called a “master plan on aging” to beef up the state’s patchwork system of elder care. The idea is still in blueprint form, but the promised overhaul would require a massive increase in state funding for health care and long-term care programs.

For other unions, supporting Newsom now looks a bit more like a thank you card. Prison guards, for example, aren’t reliable Democratic allies. But earlier this year, they scored a major pay hike from the governor and lawmakers over the objections of the state’s Legislative Analyst’s Office.

And the alternatives to Newsom on the recall ballot? For most labor groups, there are few appealing options: When he was mayor of San Diego, Kevin Faulconer made overhauling the pension system for former city employees a top priority. John Cox has repeatedly railed against the political influence of prison guards. And conservative radio show host Larry Elder opposes the minimum wage.

Familiar Financiers

But unions make up less than a majority of the contributors to the Newsom cause. The rest of the list is full of regular large donors to California political campaigns, including special interests and more than a few billionaires.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings — a notable charter school advocate who supported Antonio Villaraigosa over Newsom in the first half of the 2018 campaign — gave the governor’s committee its largest single contribution of $3 million.

Other titans of Silicon Valley have lined up to back Newsom. In a public letter published in March, Laurene Powell Jobs, founder of the Emerson Collective and widow of Apple’s Steve Jobs; prominent Bay Area angel investor Ron Conway; and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt were among executives and venture capitalists to close ranks behind the governor. Since then donors from the tech sector have given nearly $1.4 million.

Another $1 million came from George Marcus, a Bay Area real estate mogul with a history of backing moderate Democrats and opposing rent control measures. More than $500,000 was donated by hedge fund heir Liz Simons, who in recent years has contributed millions to criminal reform justice efforts and progressive prosecutors, including Attorney General Rob Bonta.

And whatever Newsom’s conservative critics might say about his anti-business policies, there are plenty of proud capitalists on his roster of defenders. That includes typical big spenders such as the California Realtors, dentists and the building industry.

Unlike other sectors, which have largely consolidated in one camp or the other, developers are divided. While individual real estate titans including GOP mega donor Geoffrey Palmer support the recall, the California Building Industry Association, which lobbies in the state Capitol, is backing the governor.

Association President Dan Dunmoyer, who served as cabinet secretary to Arnold Schwarzenegger after he became governor in the 2003 recall, said that on policy, the governor has said many of the right things. Even if he hasn’t been able to deliver on those lofty goals, Dunmoyer said he wants to give the governor another year to “prove himself” before the next regularly scheduled election in 2022.

He said his group’s support for Newsom is also partly about timing. When so much is uncertain in California, a little stability might do developers good, he said.Removing a governor, he said, is “just not really logical, especially in the middle of a pandemic, fire, housing, homeless crisis.”

Petitioners Brief Filed in CHD v FCC Lawsuit

Adapted from an article by CHD 5G and Wireless Harms Project Team | Original The Defender article here.

Read the Petitioners Brief Filed in CHD v FCC Lawsuit

On June 23, Children’s Health Defense (CHD) filed its petitoners brief in its lawsuit against the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) re: FCC Order 21-10, the Over the Air Reception Device (OTARD) rule amendment — a rule change that allows Wireless Telecommunications Facility (WTF) Base Station Antennas to be installed on homes and homeowner association property. This rule can be used by fixed wireless information service provider companies to contract with private property owners to place point-to-point antennas on their property.

CHD is opposing the OTARD rule amendment, which allows fixed wireless companies to contract with private property owners, including homeowners, to place point-to-point antennas on their property.

CHD is opposing the OTARD rule amendment, which allows fixed wireless companies to contract with private property owners, including homeowners, to place point-to-point antennas on their property.

The rule amendment preempts federal and state civil rights laws that protect the disabled and their rights for accommodation and allows for non-consensual exposure of wireless radiation to be forced on people in their homes who can be severely harmed by it, and for whom it may even be fatal. Because giving notice is not required, those who are already sick from wireless radiation will likely learn about the installation of an antenna on a neighboring property by becoming sick. They may even experience life-threatening symptoms. For these people, their home is their only refuge, but the rule amendment renders even their own homes unsafe and inaccessible to them, and removes all their rights to be accommodated.

Continue reading “Petitioners Brief Filed in CHD v FCC Lawsuit”