West Seattle scene: Cell-antenna opponents’ beach rally

About a dozen people rallied on the sand at Alki Beach tonight to call attention to their campaign against 12 cell-phone antennas planned on the roof at Stevens Crest Apartments (61st/Alki), as previewed in our Monday report. They had a bonfire, as announced, burning items representing the antennas, and displayed signs and exhibits about their concerns, which range from the antennas’ appearance to possible health effects. The next major step in their appeal of the city approval of a variance allowing the antennas is a conference later this month, in advance of the July 22nd hearing scheduled in the Hearing Examiner’s chambers downtown.

34 Replies to "West Seattle scene: Cell-antenna opponents' beach rally"

  • VBD May 7, 2015 (8:56 pm)

    These protesters don’t seem to realize that since an increasing number of kids are carrying cell phones to school, putting some antennas close to the school will DECREASE the kids exposure.

    A cell phone will adjust it’s transmit strength based on the the incoming signal. If the phone is close to a cell antenna, it will transmit at a lower power. As much as 10 times less. Since phones are carried on or near your body, the phone’s output is MUCH more dominant than the cell antenna. So putting some antennas close to the school is a good thing if you want to reduce exposure to cell phone frequencies.

  • Steve May 7, 2015 (9:00 pm)

    Sorry but I’d rather have better cell coverage on the point. These neo-luddites, all twelve of them, can wrap their three houses in aluminum foil and stay inside the rest of their lives…avoiding electromagnetic fields, microwaves, solar radiation, wireless routers and tv remotes.

  • B May 7, 2015 (9:36 pm)

    I’ve yet to hear of any actual health effects, but not sure about the property values.

  • cjboffoli May 7, 2015 (9:38 pm)

    Maybe they ought to have a bonfire in support of a ban on hair dryers as those devices, held close to the head, expose people to significantly more RF energy on a regular basis than cellular base station antennas. There’s clearly a lot of emotion on display here but not a lot of respect for actual science.

  • Star55 May 7, 2015 (10:15 pm)

    Has anyone noticed all of the mini cell towers going up on telephone poles. They are the large light brown boxes all over Genessee Hill. I was told by the workers that there are for Verison.

    • WSB May 7, 2015 (10:19 pm)

      Can’t say without seeing them but also keep in mind that fiber optic providers such as CLink are installing cabinets too.

  • ChefJoe May 7, 2015 (10:31 pm)

    It’s nice to see that we can have protests out here in Best Seattle that don’t descend into spray painting public art, flash-bangs being tossed around, [strike]setting things on fire[/strike], and targeted property destruction.
    Well, 3 of 4 is pretty good.

  • Huh May 7, 2015 (10:49 pm)

    Why is this even worth covering? Only twelve people protesting.

  • Oakley34 May 7, 2015 (10:59 pm)

    any links to some hard science on the supposed dangers? if it was so dangerous one might expect the residents/owners of the building to not have made the decision to build it.

  • gina May 8, 2015 (3:29 am)

    T-Mobile has blank spots along the beach. Missed a call Thursday while I was down there. And can’t make a call out. If there was an emergency, then what? I am glad to imby cell antennae in Admiral.

  • Militant Moderate May 8, 2015 (4:17 am)

    If that cell tower had been built, maybe these folks could’ve gotten on their smart phones and Tweeted invites and had more than 12 science-illiterate people show up.

  • Jim May 8, 2015 (6:19 am)

    Having good cell reception where we live and where my kids play is actually pretty important to me.

  • star 55 May 8, 2015 (6:29 am)

    @WSB I spoke with the installers and they are just cell boosters not fiber optics boxes.

  • Mike May 8, 2015 (6:48 am)

    @Oakley34: The FDA has a page on it here: http://www.fda.gov/Radiation-EmittingProducts/RadiationEmittingProductsandProcedures/HomeBusinessandEntertainment/CellPhones/ucm116335.htm

    A quick summary: a small number of studies have shown some connection between RF fields and cancer, but attempts to replicate them have failed. The great majority of studies show no connection. WHO does classify RF fields as possibly carcinogenic, but puts them in the same category as coffee and talc, which are also classified as possibly carcinogenic. Maybe they should protest the Starbucks on Alki, too?

  • miws May 8, 2015 (7:09 am)

    Why is this even worth covering? Only twelve people protesting.


    Ummmm….because a short note on the Newspage is probably a more efficient use of WSB’s very limited time than individually answering potentially dozens of emails/texts/calls inquiring as to what is going on with the bonfire down at Alki?



  • bemused May 8, 2015 (7:30 am)

    My neighbor is nuts about cell phone radiation and keeps yakking about something that City Light is doing to its meters, yet she has a big power inverter bolted to her house for her solar array (which is perfectly safe, but if you google solar energy and EMF you’ll see that in certain circles it’s a death warrant. I’m kind enough not to suggest that to her).

    At the end of the day, everything emits radiation of some sort – even us! And while there are always legitimate concerns and a need for healthy skepticism, when people go off the deep end based on something that some homeopath or massage therapist wrote on the internet, it just becomes a joke.

  • jwright May 8, 2015 (7:44 am)

    How much toxic smoke did their bonfire emit?

  • Gawdger May 8, 2015 (8:47 am)

    How many of them have a mobile device in their pocket.

  • Alkiobserver May 8, 2015 (9:37 am)

    Awesome comments. This is such a classic “First World Problem” protest. What a farce. But, I totally support their non-violent and non-distructive bit of foil hat wearing NIMBY ranting. Lets all chant… Tune in. Turn on. Add antennas. Stop cell call drop outs.

  • Vincent Dakotah Langley May 8, 2015 (10:09 am)

    Why oppose a cell phone tower anywhere? The installation of each new cell tower means better cell reception for everybody, than what existed in a certain area before a new tower is put there! This is not “the wave of the future”, people, but rather and for many years now, has more like been (and is, today) “the wave of the present” !!! …I guess that some folks just can’t find anything really quite “constructive” to do — no pun intended here!…

  • G May 8, 2015 (10:51 am)

    As I get older and more cynical, I’m becoming more and more skeptical that there is such a thing as “hard” science on any issue. Everyone has an angle, as Denzel W. alludes to in “Malcolm X.”

  • Barb May 8, 2015 (10:53 am)

    Hi Oakley34 — Here are a few study links:

    1. Cancer rate is 3 xs higher after 5-10
    years living within ¼ mile (1312 feet) of a cell antenna. (2004: http://www.emf-health.com/PDFreports/Germanreport_celltower.pdf) •

    2. Cancer rate is 4 xs higher after 3-7 years (2004: http://www.emf-health.com/PDFreports/Israelstudy_celltower.pdf). •

    3. Cancer rate “substantially” higher within 1/8 of a mile (660 feet) from cell antenna after 5 years (2008: http://www.emf-health.com/PDFreports/Austrianstudy.pdf).

  • wsgal May 8, 2015 (11:12 am)

    Hoping the antennas are added, ws has pretty bad reception in certain areas, ESPECIALLY on alki in the summer when it’s busy down there. Can’t call in/out from down there.

    It’s surprising how few we have in WS:


    • WSB May 8, 2015 (11:39 am)

      WSGal – just one note, as unofficial websites like that are numerous and their info sometimes fragmented: I can’t tell whether that is a site tracking TOWERS (as in standalone poles/structures that are ONLY being used for cell antennas) or ANTENNAS. Please note that we have been *very* clear in reporting on this campaign to describe the antennas as *antennas*, as clarity and accuracy are among our hallmarks.
      As with any advocacy group, this one chose their own name, and they chose to include “towers” in it, so if we refer to their name, it is formally Stop Alki Cell Towers, but what are proposed for the top of Stevens Crest are *antennas,* not *towers.* So if you’re looking for a map of what’s up around West Seattle, look for “antennas,” as well as “towers.” I read the DPD application files daily and frequently see antenna applications – many multifamily/commercial buildings have them. Here’s the Wikipedia page defining cell “towers,” aka “sites.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cell_site
      Certainly the issues that are raised by the group relate to antennas as well as towers. This is just to clarify the nomenclature, especially for anybody doing independent research looking for cell antennas and towers in the area.

  • Barb May 8, 2015 (11:12 am)

    Science is always faster than government legislation. It took the Surgeon General 35 years after scientists linked smoking to cancer. For those 35 years, doctors and the government said the same thing — that it was not “proven” to cause cancer, so everyone kept smoking and dying of lung cancer and of second hand smoke without warning for those 35 years.

    The studies I just posted linking cell antenna to cancer rates 3 xs higher for those who live within 1/4 mile of the cell antenna began coming out in 2004. I wonder if it’ll be another 35 years from 2004 before we finally get a government warning about it, or simply ensure those antenna are not near schools?

    We have enough data to be proactive and protective. Just like smoking, there are gonna be haters who gang up and fight the inconvenient truth: we’re all addicted to these devices, but the electromagnet radiation that they emit and the towers that connect them are deadly.

    Towers are like second hand smoke — they are always on. so the kids and the residents have higher exposure at all times.

    Our laws on maximum standards for electromagnetic radiation emitted from phones and towers/antennas were wriitten when 10% had cell phones; Now 90% do. The laws in place were never intended to protect us from electromagnetic radiation at these levels and there is no enforcement whatsoever of cumulative radiation coming from so many towers and phones on all around us all the time.

    I’m confident that one day, the government will repeat the warnings that other governments have made to their citizens about cell radiation, just as they eventually did for smoking. Until then, what’s the harm in artfully positioning towers away from schools and public parks, just as a precaution?

    The World Health Organization has labeled Cell Phone and Cell Tower Radiation (electromagnetic radiation) a Class B2 Carcinogen – the same designation given to pesticide DDT, lead, gasoline engine exhaust, dry cleaning chemicals and Jet Fuel. (http://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/pr/2011/pdfs/pr208_E.pdf)

    – World Health Organization scientists cite that cell towers are included in the Class 2B Carcinogen status: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4E2i5XFX9M

    – The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the nation’s largest pediatricians group, has urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reconsider its radiation standards. (http://healthland.time.com/2012/07/20/pediatricians-call-on-the-fcc-to-reconsider-cell-phone-radiation-standards/) 

  • ChefJoe May 8, 2015 (11:16 am)

    Here is one of the informative websites…. http://www.celltowerdangers.org/index.html

    Just wait until they start rolling out the smart electric meters. :-/

  • bolo May 8, 2015 (11:28 am)

    We who promote cell antennas close to housing, do we also just as comfortably use:
    Smoke tobacco?

    Remember many of these were touted for many years to be safe, some were even promoted in peer reviews as superior and was not until several years later found to be dangerous.

    Not saying cell antenna is similarly dangerous, just that the opponents are taking a more risk-averse stance.

  • Coldheart Craig May 8, 2015 (11:37 am)

    Barb, why are your WHO links from organizations other than the WHO? How about this WHO link:


    Are there any health effects?

    A large number of studies have been performed over the last two decades to assess whether mobile phones pose a potential health risk. To date, no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use.

    Citing your source from a youtube link is not winning over any hearts and minds, regardless of your good intentions.

  • Militant Moderate May 8, 2015 (12:09 pm)

    The people who are concerned about the supposed “risks” over cell phone towers ought to learn some science, specifically what the “Electromagnetic Spectrum” is and how it works. Hint: Radio waves are of a longer wavelength than visible light, which has a longer wavelength than the stuff capable of damaging organic material such as UV, X-Ray, and Gamma. Shorter wavelength==higher energy.

    If visible light (by itself) can’t cause cancer, than less-energetic radio waves aren’t harmful either. Any “study” linking radio waves and cancer is a case of correlation not equaling causation and should viewed with the utmost skepticism.

  • rob May 8, 2015 (12:35 pm)

    it is funny how people protest a cell phone tower going up in there hood. They say it is bad for your health. I hope none of these people have cell phones. Because if they do then they support cell towers in other peoples hood.

  • Tinfoil Hattie May 8, 2015 (8:00 pm)

    “Science is always faster than government legislation.”

    And science – real science, not flakey time Homeopath nonsense – says that’s there’s nothing to show harm.

    “The World Health Organization has labeled Cell Phone and Cell Tower Radiation (electromagnetic radiation) a Class B2 Carcinogen – the same designation given to pesticide DDT, lead, gasoline engine exhaust, dry cleaning chemicals and Jet Fuel.”

    Along with Coconut Oil, Coffee, Pickled Vegetables, and working in Carpentry. If you want to pick and choose from the Class B Carcinogen list, we all can.

  • ChefJoe May 8, 2015 (10:05 pm)

    Wow, the hydrochlorothiazide that’s in my blood pressure medication is a 2B, as are many surgical implants.

  • sarah May 9, 2015 (9:18 pm)

    Wow…the above comments are from my West Seattle
    community??? What ever happened to respect for other people’s opinions? Can’t believe the venom and lynch mob mentality. I don’t know the folks in the protest group, but what I am sure of is that they are not a band of thugs. Instead they are obviously concerned people, who care enough to spend their valuable time, energy, and finances to ask questions, and promote a badly needed discussion.
    I’m thankful that there are people like that in our midst. Otherwise we are a society of sheep. Eyes-closed “yes” people to anything handed our way.
    You can agree, or disagree, but to ridicule or say that these people do not deserve news space on the blog, or should be silenced, is frankly, frightening.
    How ironic that (I thought) we had evolved to a high enough level that we show respect to people who are different from us in race, sexual orientation, economic level, etc., but its OK to ridicule and throw stones at people who’s opinion we disagree with.
    I consider this Alki group admirable, and I thank them. I am old enough to rememeber when no one questioned the use of chemicals. Like technology now, they were a good thing we couldn’t get enough of. It’s taken decades for us to admit what using them with reckless abandon has resulted in. And now we have immersed ourselves in technology the same way. Anyone who says there are no health ramifications, are reading studies/political stances backed by industry big $$$. Go back layer after layer, and follow the money.

  • scientist May 10, 2015 (8:47 am)

    Peer reviewed studies are more valid than feelings and emotions. There are a lot of scientists and engineers in this town who went through years of training, and put a great deal of pride and devotion in their work. It’s aggravating to hear the same old cliches trotted out about corporate dollars by people who haven’t a clue what they are talking about. Not everything is a conspiracy, and not everyone with a cause is legitimate, no matter how well intentioned.

    And there’s a whole cottage industry out there to make people afraid of just about everything. Documentaries, products, “experts” all with the intention of muddling the issue and making someone a buck. You can follow the money on both sides. After all, money is what make the world go round.

Sorry, comment time is over.