Our View: State legislators should rethink bad wireless bill | TheUnion.com

Our View: State legislators should rethink bad wireless bill

The Union Editorial Board

California's labyrinthine system of enacting its myriad laws is, needless to say, odd.

Take Senate Bill 649, which would remove significant power from cities and counties when determining where wireless antennas can go on publicly owned spots.

This wireless telecommunications facilities bill has caused city councils and county supervisors across the state to rise in opposition. Locally, members of both the Nevada City Council and the Nevada County Board of Supervisors have sent letters of opposition or spoken in person against the bill.

This legislation would give cell companies the right to install "small cells" on locally owned utility poles, streetlights and other infrastructure in the public right-of-way. Local governments would have no say about the installations and would receive no profit from the wireless devices.

“We had two statewide ballot measures concerning plastic bags in this past November election, which did take away a bit of local control in many counties. But at least we got a vote on it, unlike SB 649. That’s one reason to bag up this bill and toss it out with the trash.”

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To sum up: There's an attempt in our legislature to strip power from local elected leaders, enabling communications companies to place their equipment throughout our communities with much less oversight than we currently enjoy.

We had two statewide ballot measures concerning plastic bags in this past November election, which did take away a bit of local control in many counties. But at least we got a vote on it, unlike SB 649.

That's one reason to bag up this bill and toss it out with the trash.

This issue of local control, of who has regulatory power of how and where these wireless devices are placed, must be an issue that unites conservatives and liberals. Members of the right and left can't afford to bicker. This isn't about red versus blue, it's about local versus state.

California is massive, both in population and geography. Now Sacramento is once again trying to impose a one-size-fits-all system.

The state should know by now — that doesn't work when cities and counties know it's a bad idea.

There are already plenty of people in the north state upset about their lack of representation in the state Capitol. We don't have the population of cities like San Jose and San Francisco, but in this case we share their concerns and speak with one voice.

To wit: Take your mitts off the power of our local governments.

We can stop this bill from becoming law. Our elected local leaders have already taken the first steps. We just need to follow through.

Our state legislators must know that we'll replace them if they continue to support bills that are bad for Nevada County and the north state. If they do pass them, we'll overturn them at the polls. There's already a movement to repeal the 12-cent gas tax. Why not add SB 649 to the mix if our legislators are foolish enough to pass it?

Our system of state government may be complicated, labyrinthine and far too complex, but there's nothing burdensome about going to the ballot box and kicking the bums out.

The weekly Our View column represents the consensus opinion of The Union Editorial Board, a group of editors and writers from The Union, as well as informed community members. Contact the board at EditBoard@TheUnion.com.

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