Tuesday, July 12, 2011

CEO Ellis Responds - States No Oversight or Authority Over the School System


Dear CEO Mr. Ellis,

We have been appalled at the lack of notice and impropoer notice that DeKalb County Schools has give us as parents to speak out against the proposed cell towers slated for 12 of our schools. We have not even been privy to the dollar amounts or the agreement terms. All meetings have been in secret for close to a year now while, just before Summer ends, the board will vote and they are expected to have zero input as far as public comments. 

We are assuming the school board will approve the towers, but we would like to know how do we stay involved when the issue goes to the next level?   How can we be informed when the Brockett Elementary School tower will be discussed for zoning so that we might finally have the chance to voice our concerns?
Thanks, Mr. Ellis, for your time.  We look fowrad to your reply,

C and P Miller



Dear Mr. and Mrs. Miller,

Your email has been received in the Office of CEO Burrell Ellis. Thank you for writing and sharing your concerns.

Regarding the DeKalb School System, this is a separate governing agency from county government, and CEO Ellis does not have any oversight or authority over the school system. Responses to your inquiries about the school system may be better addressed by one of the elected school board members or the acting school superintendent for DeKalb, Ms. Ramona Tyson. Contact information for the School System can be found at http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/.
I hope this information is helpful.
Nina A. Hall | Special Assistant to
CEO Burrell Ellis, DeKalb County Government
330 W. Ponce de leon, Decatur, GA 30030
office: (404) 371-6304 | fax: (404) 371-6291 |

Saturday, July 9, 2011

TUCKER PATCH ARTICLE: Healthy Debate About Unhealthy Cell Towers

If you have read Tucker Patch within the past month, you may have stumbled upon a blog titled “Credible Research Supports Cell Tower Health Risk.” If not, you can go there now.

If you read the article, thank you. I have written many different things during my career and back when I was a student, but this was my first blog. I wrote it because I wanted to help spread the word about something that was happening in our Tucker community.

If you followed the comments section, you likely noticed that the topic about DeKalb County authorizing a cell tower in Tucker at Brockett Elementary School stirred quite a heated debate. This is a good thing. Healthy debates on issues are a good way to reach mutal understandings and resolve differences. The cell towers slated for 12 of our DeKalb County schools is exactly the type of topic that should be debated.

The DeKalb County Board of Education Administrative Rule O.C.G.A. 20-2-1160 requires: "… public forums from time to time, especially when dealing with controversial issues or matters of deep community concern, to receive input from citizens on policy issues, the educational program, and school administration."

My follow-up post to the "Credible Research" topic was related to the pending merger between T-mobile and ATT because I had concerns about why we would be signing a deal with a company that would no longer exist in a few months. As a consumer, I know I would never do that, so why would our school board? That article can be found here.

The first time I ever considered the issue of cell towers and the radiation they emit was just a few short months ago. My child brought home this flyer from school on Tuesday, May 3.  The flyer was very unclear and no one thought that they were actually talking about placing a tower on our school property. The nearby residents had even less information than we did. They were not informed at all.

Red Flags!

This sneaky behavior by T-mobile is was raised red flags in my mind that there is definitely something here that they do not want us to know. They even positioned their meetings to the press as being under-attended because the public did not care about the idea of a tower at the school.

There was something about cell towers that they did not want us to know. There was a reason they thought we would object and I wanted to know what it was. So, I started doing what I have been trained to do, I conducted some research of my own. Here is a link to a summary document of some of the things I have learned.

What I did not know was that Patch is not a Tucker-only publication… It's a little bigger than that. (Actually, it is much bigger!)

“Janis” from the Parents’ Coalition of Montgomery County: ( http://parentscoalitionmc.blogspot.com/ ) told me in an email:
“After I posted a link to the information about cell tower compounds being HAZMAT locations the Board of Appeals document that was cited in that blog posting got 941 hits in ONE day! That traffic was from my posting on your Patch article. We have never seen that much interest in one document in one day. So even though you may not realize it, people are paying attention to the issue in your area. They are reading the PATCH articles.”

In addition to that, I received some not-so-happy comments from a couple of people from Merrick County, NY, who were in favor of the towers in their area as well as an attorney who represented the people who were opposed to the towers (and won).

I also head from people as far away as California, from the Mount Shasta Biological Ecology Center and even a group called “Get the Cell Out” in Sherman Oaks, CA. And there were plenty of other comments I received via emails and phone calls from all over the U.S. and even a couple emails from internatinal locations.

I had no idea that this issue was going on everywhere, not just in Tucker. Nor did I expect for such an outpouring of support. I am so grateful that technology has helped me get people talking about an issue that needs national attention. The insight provided by others has helped us immensely.

My original intention, however, was to speak only to my local community so that they may spread the word and discuss their thoughts. I think we need to talk about the issue and what we should do to make sure our voices are heard by the people in power.

I want to encoure anyone who lives here to take this last opportunity to speak out. Once the deal is done, it will likely be 15 years before you will have another opportunity to do so!

The schools being considered are as follows:
Briarlake Elementary School, Brockett Elementary School, Flat Rock Elementary School, Jolly Elementary School, Lakeside High School, Margaret Harris Center, Martin Luther King, Jr. High School, Medlock Elementary School, Meadowview Elementary School, Narvie J. Harris Elementary School, Princeton Elementary School and Smoke Rise Elementary School.

If possible, I would like to open the Q and A of this blog strictly for the people who live in Tucker so they may comment about the Brockett cell tower proposal, or the people around our county who also live in areas that will be affected.

As the elected member of the school council, I will be proud to bring any and all comments to the attention of our school board and represent the true feelings of our community. So, please speak up, good or bad. Or, if you have any questions, I will try my best to direct you to the best sources of information so we can all learn together.

To keep up to date, please follow us on Facebook at Get the Cell Out of Here - Atlanta Chapter or send an email to sayno2celltowers@yahoo.com.