The committee passed SB 649 on a 6-1 vote.
This measure would give wireless providers unfettered ability to install bulky cellular equipment on any street light or traffic light and even many public libraries, schools and other public buildings without permission from local governments, input from the public or fair compensation for city and county residents. The industry already has broad ability to use readily available public and private utility poles to attach their equipment.
This bill silences local voices and will cost taxpayers around the state tens of millions of dollars. SB 649 is a giveaway from Sacramento to the industry without requiring that the industry deliver any meaningful public benefits such as free Wi-Fi in public parks or network access for public safety first responders.
Mayor Liccardo testified on behalf of the city of San José and the over 175 cities opposed to SB 649 Wednesday afternoon. He began his testimony by reminding the committee of the letter sent by the mayors of six of California’s largest cities who all oppose the measure. He focused his remarks on how SB 649 would have tax payers subsidize the wireless industry.
Also joining Mayor Liccardo were city officials from a number of other cities including:
- American Canyon Community Development Director Brent Cooper;
- Concord Mayor Laura Hoffmeister;
- Culver City Council Member Meghan Sahli-Wells;
- San Marcos Council Member Kristal Jabara;
- Vallejo Assistant City Manager Teri Kilgore; and
- West Hollywood Council Member Lindsey Horvath.
Representatives from dozens of other cities also testified in opposition to SB 649, along with the California State Association of Counties, the Rural Counties Representatives of California and the Urban Counties of California and representatives of dozens of counties.
SB 649 now moves to the Assembly Communications and Conveyance Committee.
The League urges all cities to officially oppose SB 649. A sample letter as well as the League’s opposition letter and bill language can be found at www.cacities.org/billsearch
by plugging SB 649 into the search function.