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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

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11/14/2013 2:46:00 PM
Radoccia: '... the coward's way out'
Clarkdale stays off smart meter bandwagon
Rennie Radoccia: “My agenda is to help and protect the people of the town of Clarkdale, and to think that this issue and cell towers have been just glossed over as, maybe this is a problem, is unbelievable to me.”
Rennie Radoccia: “My agenda is to help and protect the people of the town of Clarkdale, and to think that this issue and cell towers have been just glossed over as, maybe this is a problem, is unbelievable to me.”

Yvonne Gonzalez
Staff Reporter

The Clarkdale Town Council voted 4-1 to scrap two letters to the Arizona Corporation Commission expressing concerns regarding the safety of APS smart meters and the proposed fees associated with opting out.

Councilman Rennie Radoccia first brought the issue to the council's attention in October, and walked out of the meeting shortly after the letters were voted down Tuesday night.

Smart meters will be deployed in Clarkdale starting early next year. A movement that started in Sedona and has picked up an organized following in Cottonwood claims there are safety and privacy issues associated with digital meters.

APS has installed about 1.1 million smart meters in Arizona since 2005. The utility has replaced analog meters that require readers to travel from home to home, collecting data on each home's energy use to generate a monthly bill.

In contrast, a smart meter contains a 900-MHz radio that transmits usage data to APS throughout the day. These radios meet FCC guidelines for safety, and several studies show they emit radio frequencies no stronger than a baby monitor and several times weaker than a cell phone.

Continuing to send meter readers to the few houses that opt out will come with costs, which will be borne by a smaller proportion of customers. APS is asking the ACC to approve a $75 upfront charge to opt out, followed by a monthly $30 fee.

Councilman Bill Regner read a prepared statement during the meeting that said the leadership and staff in Clarkdale has worked diligently to use legitimate science to promote its sustainable culture, from wastewater management to the Verde River. This has earned the town credibility and trust among its residents, which may disappear if the council begins to appear "radicalized."

While sharing concerns about safety and the high cost of opting out, he said a letter from the town would be worth possibly diminishing Clarkdale's record on making policy decisions based on data "gathered according to a set of scientific principles that when examined objectively allow a conclusion that makes sense to a majority of those who seek to understand it.

"I do not support any action that might call into question Clarkdale's legitimately obtained credibility in the scientific community and our local residents that has been so carefully thought out, nurtured and presented by the leadership of this council and town staff," he said.

After small changes were recommended to the letters, members of the audience were invited to share their opinions with the council. Many had been present at the Oct. 8 council meeting when the issue was first discussed, and echoed previous arguments about health, privacy and opt-out costs.

A representative from the neighborhood on Hollow Reed Lane said the area as a whole is opting out of smart meters, which Von Gausig pointed to as an option for residents.

Von Gausig said one of the U.S. Department of Energy's goals is to have a nationwide smart grid, which will cut down on the consumption of fossil fuels by using data from digital meters to react more quickly to dips and spikes in energy needs.

"The benefit of that grid outweighs any kind of negative impact that I have been able to substantiate that had to do with smart meters," Von Gausig said. "I understand absolutely the public's desire to have a reasonable charge for meters being read."

The smart grid may lead to sustainability, but the right technology to broadcast usage information is not being used, opponents argued.

"It needs to be put on hold," Radoccia said. "For those who have weak immune systems and people who are subject to infiltration of things that others aren't, this is a threatening thing."

Councilman Curtis Bohall said he and most others don't know if smart meters are harmful.

"I don't feel qualified to make those kinds of decisions for somebody else," he said.

Radoccia moved that the council accept a letter that he drafted, but was not seconded.

The ACC requested the Arizona Department of Health Services conduct a study to determine whether smart meters were safe, which was pointed to as evidence that not enough was known about the technology.

Dehnert said the gist of both letters is that the ACC should wait for the report from ADHS before making a decision on continued deployment and what the charge would be. He polled the audience to see if people would accept smart meters if ADHS found them safe, and nobody came forward.

There are some people with non-medical and non-scientific reasons to promote the fear associated with smart meters, he said.

"There is a lot of money being made, not only by Arizona Public Service and other utilities utilizing that technology, but by other people who are propagandizing against it and instilling fear in people that their health is being threatened by this," Dehnert said. "It seems like about 75 percent of the articles that are damning smart meter technology also happen to offer a book, or a DVD, or, in many cases, some sort of device that you can put on your smart meter to keep it from hurting you."

He said he agreed with Regner that this is an issue for someone else to decide.

"We could make a show of putting out a letter that says this is very dangerous and we don't want you to do it to our people, but we would be pandering to a small group of people who have decided that this is a really big deal and that they're scared to death of it in order for us to feel better about having people in our audience that might be mad at us when we finally make a decision," Dehnert said. "I don't think that's a good reason to do anything."

The night's discussion and further consideration of what impact either letter would have swayed Dehnert against any action, he said.

"This is above our area of expertise, and I don't think it would do the town of Clarkdale or its residents any good for us to send either one of these letters," Dehnert said.

After moving that neither letter be sent and receiving a second from Regner, Von Gausig asked if there was anything further. Radoccia said this was a "huge mistake."

"That thought process has got so many holes in it, Richard," Radoccia said.

Radoccia said he was shocked that the council would move to not send one of the letters.

"To turn our backs on it and to say we're going to have no effect by sending either one of these letters is the coward's way out," Radoccia said. "It's just ignoring the situation hoping it's going to turn up one way or another and we're just going to sit around and take it in the chin."

"If you consider it cowardly to make an unpopular decision in the face of a group that is this adamant about their position, then you go ahead and listen to them," Dehnert said.

In September, the council decided against Radoccia's recommendation that cell towers be prohibited in the town's historic district.

"I'm blown out of the water by the way this council has taken this, cell towers," Radoccia said. "It goes against everything that I believe in, every reason I came and decided to give my time to this town one more time to sit on this council has to do with those two issues."

"It's interesting that that was your agenda," Von Gausig said.

"My agenda is to help and protect the people of the town of Clarkdale, and to think that this issue and cell towers have been just glossed over as, maybe this is a problem, is unbelievable to me," Radoccia said.

Taylor Waste
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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Article comment by: Milgram Experiment

How can an electrical engineer be an expert on microwave frequency effects on a cell? I wonder if he knows that it is gated by voltage? Check out the Nobel Prize winners for 2013. Electrical and RF engineers have no clue what happens inside a cell. Quit taking comments from them seriously. They aren't qualified and are only trying to protect their careers.

Ever heard of a cryptochrome, suprachiasmatic nuclei or pineal gland and the reaction with light and magnetic fields? Please do some research and quit relying on your out of date out of touch proffessor teaching the same old song and dance. Thermal and shock was for the 50's. Wake up to 2013.

As for Clarkdale City will never be forgotten, not even at the grocery store. Famous for turning their back on the health of their neighbors.

Posted: Sunday, November 17, 2013
Article comment by: Mary Heartman

@ Ann Rant
You've got the burden of proof backwards.

In our legal system, the burden of proof is on he who asserts.

At the moment, APS and several government agencies are asserting that the current "smart meter" technology

*Will not increase EMF-related health risks.
*Will not increase the risk of fires due to sloppy instillation.
*Will not increase the risk of burning out appliances due to improper voltage regulation.
*Cannot be used for improper surveillance of U.S. citizens.
*Cannot be hacked into by criminal elements seeking data on merchandise owned and behavior patterns.
*Will not be used to collect data for resale to commercial enterprises.
*Will not be used to increase billing without increasing rates that have to be approved.
*And will facilitate the establishment of a "smart grid" that will be impervious to both domestic and foreign sabotage and will result in energy conservation at some future date.

To date, I haven't been able to find a solid body of proof supporting any of these assertions.

In fact, the further afield I look for clinical studies and reports on existing installations that would support my desire to believe this current technology would accelerate a shift to solar energy, the more certified data I find that indicates the opposite. I've even talked to electricians who are 100% sold on the idea of conserving energy via smart-grid modulation. Even they warn that innovations haven't kept pace with imagination. The meters being changed out today could be obsolete within a decade, and this would impede conversion to safer, more efficient grid systems currently on the drawing board. They're also reluctant to entrust voltage modulation to engineers in central planning and recommend backup generators that cut in automatically if what seems right for Phoenix threatens to blow out AC units in the Verde Valley.

The major consideration, as I see it, is that once these meters have been installed, the burden of proof will shift to those consumers who have accepted them.

Those who experience adverse effects will have to prove the meters were at fault. Judging by the lawsuits currently in progress, this can be done, but it requires a great deal of time, money, and aggravation. And suing APS or the State of Arizona won't reverse health or property damage suffered in the interim or erase data illegally obtained by public or private enterprises.

If you have more conclusive data than I've been able to turn up, by all means present it. If not, however, I'll continue to oppose forcing imperfect technology on Arizona citizens. I can't afford to sue APS or move to Germany. I can't even afford to move to Sedona.

Posted: Sunday, November 17, 2013
Article comment by: I'll Keep My Analog Meter Thanks.

How about I keep my analog meter, read it once a month and send those numbers in with my present bill for next month? Not once has a meter reader physically came and read my meter, they drive and stop and look at it using binoculars. How they see it at that angle is beyond me, they've done it like this over 30 years now. Why change something that works? Progress doesn't always mean better

Posted: Sunday, November 17, 2013
Article comment by: km500-600 ab500-600

It will not be cheap to send usage data over a 900-MHz cellular radio network every 15 minutes.
The company that is saying it can be done economically is the one that is about to go bankrupt.
It will certainly ask for a government bailout and state how it is doing such a vital job to keep electricity flowing to our homes.
It is far cheaper to send usage data over PowerLine Networking to the electricity substation. There the neighbourhood�s data can be compressed together and sent over landline telephone to the electricity supplier headquarters.
The solution used needs to be economical and provide returns over 10 years without needing Government bailouts!

Posted: Saturday, November 16, 2013
Article comment by: No meter! Not gonna pay!

By the time you get enough evidence to suit you, Ann Rant, it could be too late.

Your grandchildren will be autistic . . .
Your house will have burnt down . . .
You will have a myriad of cancers . . .
You will be broke from paying "time of usage" fees . . .

Just ask all those people who are now suffering from cigarettes, asbestos, lead, flouride, gluten, etc. etc.

I get a CHOICE in wether or not to have a cell phone, wifi, microwave, etc.

But I gotta PAY to not have a 'smart meter' running 24/7 in close proximity to me?

Why do you think homes under major powerlines are cheap? Even Mr. Skoblin admitted he did not want to live by one.

Posted: Saturday, November 16, 2013
Article comment by: Ann Rant

Thank you Clarkdale. There is not enough evidence in my opinion, as an electrical engineer, to suggest that smart meters cause significant health issues.

Can anyone guarantee that 900MHz is not harmful? No. Is the addition of a smart meter going to significantly increase the amount of electro magnetic energy we are exposed to daily? Doubtful.

This is what I'm hearing from the anti-smart meter people: "Every person who ever resides in a home with a smart meter will likely become ill at some point in their lives and eventually die." Well, duh.

Would I suggest using a smart meter as a pillow? No. But the power decreases sharply the farther you move from the device, inverse to the square of the distance actually. So, if you are concerned about the smart meter and your headboard is currently against the wall with your electric meter, you might consider moving your bed.

Honestly, I'm not concerned and hope real energy conservation is realized.

Posted: Saturday, November 16, 2013
Article comment by: Smart meters not our biggest problem

The excellent studies cited by "First do no Harm" proves beyond any shadow of a doubt that smart meters are not our biggest problem.

These studies prove incontrovertibly that most EMF radiation damage is coming from other sources such as cell phones and laptops.

These are in our midst right now. The danger is real.

So our real goal is not smart meters. We're going to get rid of cell phones and lap tops, and that's just for starters.

And how 'bout those huge commercial radio transmitters in West Sedona and Bridgeport? Man, those are way too close for comfort!

Once we get rid of those, then we need to look closely as what's on top of Mingus, broadcasting down on us 24/7/365. No wonder we're so messed up.

Then we need to look at all the EMFs created by the wiring in our homes.

No sir, we won't fix this problem until we go back to what we had in the 19th century!

But that of course isn't practical. Fortunately, I can now offer you a much better solution.

For a limited time only, I can sell you lead-lined protective underwear that will protect your reproductive organs from all this harmful EMF radiation.

Call 1-800-GONADS within the next 30 minutes and I'll give you a matching set of two his and hers underwear, that's two pair for the price of one!. Call now!

Posted: Saturday, November 16, 2013
Article comment by: Michelle Dermo

Smart Meter opt-out penalties & extra monthly fees? Could it be the Affordable Smart Meter Act?. I personally like the Affordable Boat Act better.
Bye bye freedom of choice or bye bye to your hard earned $.

Posted: Friday, November 15, 2013
Article comment by: First Do No Harm

You are not qualified to know if second hand smoke is harmful either. So yes, when till people can sick before you will listen. Since you are told of the potential harm, you are not liable to potential damage. It is clear who are the cowards running the town. "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing."
Here are some of the studies.
(2011) A study was published in the Journal of Fertility and Sterility that found exposure to WiFi laptops damaged DNA and the reproductive system in as little as 4 hours.

(2012) A study released by the Journal of Pediatric Urology showed WiFi causes DNA damage to rat's testes at the cellular level. Radiation levels were lower than what would be found in schools.

(2013) Expert Tells Doctors of Impending Tragedy From EMF Radiation

Long-Term Exposure to Microwave Radiation Provokes Cancer Growth: Evidence From Radar and Mobile Communications Systems

Levitt/Lai. Bioeffects from exposure to electromagnetic radiation by cell tower base stations and other antenna arrays.

Evidence that children are more vulnerable to RF: Dr. Om Gandhi research

Divan et al. 2008: Prenatal and Postnatal Exposure to Cell Phone Use and Behavioral Problems in Children

Avendano 2011. Use of laptop computers connected to internet through Wi-Fi decreases human sperm motility and increases sperm DNA fragmentation

Lee et al. 2005. 2.45 GHz RF fields alter gene expression in cultured human cells

WiFi alters brain activity in young adults

McCarty et al. 2011. Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity: Evidence for a Novel Neurological Syndrome

Balmori. 2009. Electromagnetic pollution from phone masts. Effects on Wildlife

Nittby et al. 2009. Increased blood-brain barrier permeability in mammalian brain 7 days after exposure to the radiation from a GSM-900 Mobile Phone

Salford et al. 2003. Nerve Cell Damage to Mammalian Brain after Exposure to Microwaves from GSM Mobile Phones

2 minutes of cell phone use can alter a child's brain for up to an hour

Papageorgiou 2011. Effects of Wi-Fi signals on the P300 Component of Event-Related Potentials During an Auditory Hayling Task. (Effects on Cognition)

Christ et al. 2010. Age-dependent tissue-specific exposure of cell phone users

1999 report by Dr. Henry Lai on memory and behavior

Fragopoulou et al. 2009. Whole body exposure with GSM 900 MHz affects spartial memory in mice

Benson 2007. Joining the Dots: An overview of public heath trends.

Bevington 2008. Attitudes to the health dangers of non-thermal EMFs

Carpenter. 2004. Human Health Effects of EMFs: The Cost of Doing Nothing

Neil Cherry 2000. Evidence that Electromagnetic Radiation is Genotoxic: The implications for the epidemiology of cancer and cardiac, neurological and reproductive effects.

Neil Cherry. 2002. Evidence of Neurological effects of Electromagnetic Radiation: Implications for degenerative disease and brain tumor from residential, occupational, cell site and cell phone exposures.

Havas. 2007. Analysis of Health and Environmental Effects of Proposed San Francisco Earthlink Wi-Fi Network ccupational, cell site and cell phone exposures.

Report by Carl Blackman, PhD, of the EPA discussing shortcomings in FCC and international guidelines, as well as that pulse modulated radiation causes more severe bio-effects.

ECOLOG Study. 2000. Mobile Communications and Health. Review of The Current Scientific Research in View of Precautionary Health Protection. (Commissioned by T-Mobil).

Connection Between the US Government and the Wireless Industry

FCC Guidelines Are Inadequate: EPA Letter

FCC Guidelines Are Inadequate: Letter from Senior Research Scientist Dr. De Kun Li, Kaiser Permanante

Cell Tower Studies (Extremely relevant to WiFi due to chronic, whole body exposure)

Cell Tower Report, Kumar 2010

Neil Cherry 2000. Probable Effects Associated with Mobile Base Stations in Communities: The Need for Health Studies

Neil Cherry 2000. Childhood Cancer Incidence in the Vicinity of the Sutro Tower, San Francisco

Dode. 2011. Mortality by neoplasis and cellular telephone base stations in the Belo Horizonte municipality, Minas Gerais State, Brazil

Eger 2004. The Influence of Being Physically Near a Cell Phone Transmission Mast on the Incidence of Cancer

Eger 2010. Specific Health Symptoms and Cell Phone Radiation in Selbitz (Bavaria, Germany) - Evidence of Dose-Response Relationship

Eger 2011. Changes in Clinically Important Neurotransmitters under the Influence of Modulated RF Fields - A Long- term Study under Real-life Conditions.

Eskander et al. 2010. How does long term exposure to base stations and mobile phones affect human hormone profiles?

Eskander et al. 2010. How does long term exposure to base stations and mobile phones affect human hormone profiles?

Hutter et al. 2005. Subjective Symptoms, Sleeping Problems, and cognitive performance in subjects living near mobile phone base stations.

Hutter et al. Mobile Phone Base Stations: Effects on Health and Wellbeing

Khurana et al. 2010. Epidemiological Evidence for a Health Risk from Mobile Phone Base Stations

Kolodyski. 1996. Motor and psychological functions of school children living in the area of the Skundra Radio Location in Latvia

Liakouris 1998. Radiofrequency (RF) Sickness in the Lilienfeld Study: An Effect of Modulated Microwaves?

Loscher et al. 1998. Conspicuous behavioural abnormalities in a dairy cow herd near a TV and Radio transmitting antenna

Michelozzi et al. 2002. Adult and Childhood Leukemia near a High-Power Radio Station in Rome

Navarro et al. 2003. The Microwave Syndrome: A Preliminary Study in Spain

Oberfeld et al. 2004. The Microwave Syndrome: Further Aspects of a Spanish Study

Oberfeld 2008. Environmental Epidemiological Study of Cancer Incidence

Rassoul et al. 2006. Neurobehavioral effects among inhabitants around mobile phone base stations

Santini et al. 2002. Study of the health of people living in the vicinity of mobile phone base stations: Influences of distance and sex

Santini at al 2003. Survey Study of People Living in the Vicinity of Cellular Phone Base Stations

Wolf and Wolf 2004. Increased Incidence of Cancer Near a Cell Phone Transmitter Station

Posted: Friday, November 15, 2013
Article comment by: Scott Carmichael

What right does APS have to charge us more fees for opting out of smart meters. Anyone look at your bill lately? The fees are more than the electricity usage. One of the fees is a meter reading fee. So, they take the fee, but then don't want to do the work for the fee so charge us another fee. Monopolies MUST be regulated. Unfortunately the ACC (charged with regulating APS) seems to be on the take.

Posted: Friday, November 15, 2013
Article comment by: @ Thanks and Sorry Phil

Reading you were comfortable here"...working to beat cancer..." I did assume conventional medicine cancer protocols.

Most conventional cancer treatments are accepted only after Scientific studies indicate a particular treatment works (to varying degrees).

Similar Scientific studies are used regarding many subjects, like Smart meters-- you know the Scientific method routine.

So, I find nothing 'ridiculous' in making that comparison.

Likewise, there are myriad Scientific 'facts' people choose to disregard or believe based on many factors of personal education or experience. Climate Change, microwave and now Smart meter radiation are a few of the more notorious.

Given incomplete or contradictory research results, people tend to believe what they choose.

As Paul Simon sang long ago, "...All lies and jest. Still, a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest."

Thee and me included.

As with my assumptions, your expectations are yours.

Posted: Friday, November 15, 2013
Article comment by: Sorry Phil

What an interesting assumption you made. Science had nothing to do with my cancer treatment, and that's a ridiculous comparison, anyway.

It's not just quote MY opinion, unquote, its the opinion of anyone who chooses to REALLY do the research and discover what all has occurred in the health of people living close to these meters for any length of time. There are thousands.

Really. I'd expect better from you.

Posted: Friday, November 15, 2013
Article comment by: Mary Jane

Seems to me the article should be called, "Clarkdale jumps on the smart meter bandwagon"

Never underestimate the power of news propaganda!

Posted: Friday, November 15, 2013
Article comment by: B.G. Trout

There are arguments bolstered by science as to the safety of "smart meters" yet there is no definitive yeah or nay as to the "absolute" safety with use of these smart meters. One can trust the utility company/federal government agencies to have taken due diligence in matters of public safety, or worry business and/or government are irresponsible or even colluding (if you're prone to conspiracy thinking) in misleading the public.

Posted: Friday, November 15, 2013
Article comment by: Inside Nine

Most people have been kept in the dark about the dangers of the Smart Meter and those who know about them will be punished by extra charges when they try to Opt-Out. We found out about the dangers here in California through reports of immediate side effects including sleeplessness, headaches, heartbeat irregularities and ringing in the ears. Its like second hand smoke, not everyone immediately notices the effects but those who do are "electro sensitive" Approximately three percent or more of people have this affliction which means here in California over 1,000,000 people will be compromised by the meters. Pathetic (but not unsurprising) that the utility profit motive will allow those in power to injure the public in this fashion. It will take a while for the truth to be known but hopefully there will be damaging lawsuits prior to everyone becoming physically damaged.

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