I may not live in South Dekalb, but I have plenty of friends who do. I have lived in this county since 1999 and have worked as a physical therapist in just about every neighborhood, clinic, hospital or other facility you can name. As a contract employee, I can be assigned to one part of town for several months, or for just a week or two. And, with home health growing quickly in popularity, it is not uncommon for you to see physical and occupational therapists, RNs and other healthcare professionals on a regular basis coming into and out of every neighborhood. We treat people of every size, shape, color, ethic background, economic status, political party and religious belief that can possibly be out there.
When I say that you know me, I mean it. You likely know me, have met me, or else you know someone who does. I have treated your family members, neighbors, buesiness associates and friends. Every patient I see is a human being that I have tried to help during a time when they are injured, sick or suffering in some way. And, I work to the best of my ability to get them back on their feet so they can get back to their lives and to doing the things they love.
So, when someone tells me that I do not understand a particular community, I take offense to that. It has been my job to understand and I have been told that I am good at what I do. So, perhaps it is not me who has a problem with understanding. Perhaps others do not understand me and why I would choose to speak out on an issue such as the cell towers planned for public schools in DeKalb, especially when my child's school was already removed from the list exactly one year ago this week.
Why would I still be mad about this issue? Why do I tell everyone I come in contact with about it? I'll tell you why... because it is wrong and it should not happen in this county, at our schools, to our children - any of our children. And there is not a person on the school board, or in the county office who will convince me otherwise because I know how the events went down because I lived it. There was deception from the beginning as those in charge decided to downplay and hide what they were doing. They held meetings they did not want anyone to attend and later spoke about how the fact that no one attended must mean that we were all okay with what they were doing.
We have not been able to find out how this subject even surfaced as a means for additional school system revenue, but it was not due to it being a good thing for the children or a way to improve our graduation rates, I can tell you that much. I have never met a parent who wants a cell phone tower at their child's school or a homeowner who wants one to go up near their home. No one in favor of cell phone towers in residential communities bothered to show up during the three hours of testimonies that were given during the cell tower hearings. But there were a lot of of people who were opposed to the idea.
And, after the hearings, that were set up by Karla Drenner (D - Avondale Estates), there was little or nothing more to be said by the folks who were present to support a proposed ban on the towers. Where did they all go? Why are they not speaking up right now to warn you about the cell tower referendum question that will be on your ballot July 31?
Our group, Get the Cell Out, has been the only one speaking up that has absolutely nothing to gain. We have been speaking out about what information we learned and what responses we received from the politicians and other officials we contacted. We have urged everyone in DeKalb to work together in protest on this issue as it is the only way we can truly protect our neighborhoods and children from the dangers of cell phone towers on their school grounds, both the known and unknown dangers.
We have proudly worked with Unhappy Taxpayer and Voter to bring forth the truth behind the towers so that the people could stand up for their own rights as parents, taxpayers, homeowners and concerned citizens. And we have written and called the CEO, the Director of Public Works, the Director of Planning and Sustainability and others to ask that any permits for construction be routed through the county commissioners as that would be the proper process. But, we have received only a few vauge replies.
Most recently we asked the county commissioners to place a moratoria on all cell tower construction for the next 6 months so that we do not see construction begin without proper permits or under unrealistic deadlines that would require them to be completed before school begins in early August. But, a moratoria on cell towers will likely happen only if your county commissioners hear from you on this subject, too.
We can only do so much. Our goal has been to share the information as we have learned it ourselves. But, if you have a cell tower slated for your child's school or your neighborhood, the last stages of this fight will have to be left up to you. We estimate July 12 as the cutoff date for T-mobile to back out without penalty. After that, construction is likely to begin Aug. 1 and end before school starts.
If you feel your rights are being violated, please contact a lawyer in zoning, environmental, civil rights or FHA to deermine your next steps. You may also refer to our website for more details: www.GETtheCELLoutATL.org, "Like" us on Facebook and sign the countywide petition: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/GTCO-ATL.
Ths is not legal advice. This is just friendly advice from someone that you know, whether you know it or not.
Don't forget to vote NO on the cell tower referendum ballot question on July 31. And, research your options for school board representative as they decide the future of our county by the decisions they make about the education of our children today!