AT&T Cell Tower Proposal Puts Ashland Food Angels in Jeopardy

This statement was was made by Pamala Joy at the Ashland City Council Business Meeting, Sept. 7, 2021. She sent the written statement to the Council after she made the public statement.

Dear Mayor Julie,

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak at the city council meeting tonight.  I am writing to recap what I said, as I spoke very quickly.

* The Ashland Food Angels has been operating for 26 years, collecting food for the Ashland Emergency Food Bank and the community free meals program, keeping up to a quarter million pounds of food out of the landfill and redirecting it to hungry folks who need it.

* The Food Angel project operates seven days a week, overseen by myself most of those days. My intention has been to continue with this project into the next decade.  Most of the work of the food sorting and storage is done in my garage at 472 Walker Avenue, close by the location chosen by AT&T to situate a cell tower.

* The cell tower proposed by AT&T poses a very real threat to the Food Angel project because of the impact of the EMF’s coming from a tower only 300 meters away.  I have learned that a distance of at least 500 meters is recommended for general safety.  The proposal places the tower on the side of the SOU track, opposite Walker Elementary school, and the closeness of this location frightens me a great deal.

* I have letters from two of my doctors verifying my electronic sensitivity, and my fear is that having a cell tower so close by will prevent me from doing the work I now do.  When too close to EMF emitters I experience headaches, tiredness, sudden energy drops, itchiness and other symptoms which definitely limit what I am able to do.  For this reason I have no WiFi at my house and do not use a cell phone and I generally avoid places with strong WiFi signals.  The signals from a cell tower would be much stronger than from a WiFi router.

* Many of the Food Angel volunteers are over 70 and are concerned about being in such close proximity to a cell tower when working. I may well lose some of my volunteers and we are already working with a smaller crew than usual.  Elderly people are more at risk from the impact of living and working near cell towers.

* The tower would also be very near to the Head Start building, the Walker Elementary school and SOU dorms. Recent news questioning the FCC (lawsuit by Children’s Defense Fund) and demonstrating the danger of such towers to children offer you the impetus to create ordinances keeping cell towers at a distance from all schools.

* The increased danger of fire around cell towers is also an alarming point, as the nearby trees would inevitably dry out and be more of a fire hazard.

* Property values around cell towers are also prone to drop, putting myself and my neighbors at a financial risk as well as physical.

* I am asking the City of Ashland to take a stand and prevent the cell tower from being erected in that location. Please protect the children in our schools and please support the Ashland Food Angels by protecting those of us who run it from working in harmful conditions.

Thank you for your time.  I am counting on you for your support and protection.

Pamala Joy, Founder and Director of the Ashland Food Angels