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Look Before You Leap
Cricket Wireless and EMR from Cell Phones & Towers

December 19, 2001

Look before you LEAP! Leap Wireless is the parent company of Cricket Wireless. Or so I think. In the world of mergers and acquisitions it is sometimes difficult to sort through all the contortions: to tell the tail from the head, the arm from the armpit.

Anyway, it appears that Leap is the proud owner of Cricket. Leap is also busy acquiring other enterprising wireless data technology firms. When it is not busy acquiring, it is busy launching. Kind of sounds like the, dot.gone of recent years. We are hoping it all collapses (pyramid style) with Cricket at the bottom of the heap.

We are about to celebrate the first year of our involvement in the responsible placement of cell phone (PCS) transmission towers. Yes, someone wanted to put one in our backyard. That particular tower is history. By educating ourselves on the issues and organizing communities, we were able to encourage a small tower company to leave not only our neighborhood but others as well. We are still opposing the inappropriate placement of transmission towers site by site. However, we are also working towards establishing a meaningful ordinance at the county level.

The Federal Communications Act of 1996 makes this all very difficult because it stipulates that local jurisdictions may not use environmental factors (i.e. health concerns) as criteria in denying permit applications by tower companies/service providers. Potential health risks are our major concern. We want towers situated away from homes and schools. So until Federal law is changed, we oppose sites given the criteria local jurisdictions have established -- if they have established any.

So how does this all relate to Cricket Wireless? Cricket has come to our town and may be on its way to yours. Cricket targets metropolitan areas and establishes the infrastructure needed to handle the demand for their product -- unlimited local calls for a flat monthly fee, prepaid, no contract. In our area, Eugene/Springfield, Oregon, that will necessitate an additional twenty-nine (at least) Radio Frequency emitting sites. Log on to (Citizens and Professionals for the Responsible Use of Electromagnetic Radiation) for the relevant information regarding our concerns about low-intensity, non-thermal, non-ionizing radio frequency radiation.

Some of these Cricket sites are/will be near schools. The major school district in Eugene (4J) has issued a precautionary statement concerning the placement of towers on or near schools -- err on the side of safety. Children could be especially susceptible to RF radiation because of their still developing bodies. If that is true for towers, then you can imagine our concern about a cell phone company that seems to be targeting pre-teens and teens in terms of cell phone usage.

The Eugene/Springfield area has existing coverage from a variety of service providers. No doubt, as demand increases, those existing providers will add to their infrastructure. Does our area need another, new provider? No. Can local jurisdictions mandate that Eugene/Springfield has enough service providers? No. Can the consuming public say that enough is enough? Yes! As a community we can not create the demand for Cricket Wireless.

We have been saying that use of a cell phone is a personal choice. On a certain level, that is true, of course. Just as people have said that smoking cigarettes is a personal choice. Oh, but at what cost? Public health issues are just that, public. We all will pay the price if people do not use caution when using the cell phone as more than a useful tool. Using these phones in a frivolous, excessive manner creates a greater demand which creates the need for more towers. Neighborhoods are suffering the consequences of the American public's insatiable appetite for convenience. Cricket Wireless is just the new kid on the block, and we do not need this particular kid. Please say No to Cricket Wireless. Please use moderation when using a cell phone.

Mona Linstromberg
Member: Citizens for Responsible Placement of Cell Phone Transmission Towers
Veneta, OR 97487


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