Ordinance M: Moratorium

July 28, 2020 Petaluma Planning Commission Testimony

I attest and affirm that the following statements are true, accurate, and within my personal knowledge.

Thank you for all you are doing to help Petaluma during this National Emergency. ”On March 13, 2020, President Donald Trump issued a “Proclamation on Declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak.”

President Trump’s proclamations states:

“NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America. . . do hereby find and proclaim that the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States constitutes a national emergency, beginning March 1, 2020.”

This national proclamation led to similar state and local proclamations.

California Governor Newsom’s Executive Order No. N-29-20 States

“All residents are to heed any orders and guidance of state and local public health officials. including but not limited to the imposition of social distancing measures, to control the spread of COVID-19.

The Sonoma County Health Official Order No. C19-03
Order No. C19-05 (Extended) and
Order No. C19-15 (Extended Again) . . . all say the same thing . . .

All individuals living in the County are directed to shelter at their place of residence, except that they may leave to provide or receive certain essential services or engage in certain essential activities and work for essential businesses. . .

What are those essential activities?

Definitions and Exemptions.

§ 10(c) For purposes of this Order, individuals may leave their residence to provide any services or perform any work necessary to the operations and maintenance of “Essential Infrastructure,” including, a number of activities relating to water, sewer, gas, transportation and a single mention of internet, and telecommunications systems

So let’s recap. We have a federal national emergency — Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak — and a local county order that specifies that only the work necessary to the operations and maintenance of telecommunications services is essential.

This Does Not Cover the Building of New Wireless Telecommunications Facilities (WTFs)

Petaluma can and should join Simi Valley, CA, Easton, CT and Keene Nh and take full advantage of this novel set of circumstances to legally declare a moratorium — a legal temporary delay on the processing of applications, placement, construction or operations of Wireless Telecommunications Facilities (WTFs) of any size and any G — until the federal national emergency has been declared over. This is even expressly stated in FCC Order 18-133 which supersedes FCC Order 18-111, both mentioned below.

There are advantages to voting though such a moratorium:
  1. The City will have the benefit of receiving two Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Ruling in two important cases that were argued on Feb 10, 2020 in Pasadena:
    • a. Case No. 18-72689, the City of Portland et al v. FCC re: the repeal of FCC Order 18-133, the FCC’s Small Cell Streamline Deployment Order
    • b. Case No. 19-70490, American Electric Power v. FCC re: the repeal of FCC Order 18-111, The Self-Help, One-Touch/Make Ready order

In the words of attorney Jonathon Kramer, who was in the courtroom on Feb 10:

“As someone who was in the room watching the body language that didn’t make the video feed . . . I thnk more significant portions of these Orders are doomed and maybe just all of both of them.”

By passing Ordinance M, the Local Telecom Moratoria order, the City will have time to pass other important wireless ordinances to improve its wireless code, including Ordinance VHP to regulate power output and Ordinance WE-WANT-IT to ensure that the City has objective data upon which to base its siting decisions.

We request this Ordinance M to be put onto the agenda for the next meetings of the Planning Commission and/or City Council, if executed as an Urgency Ordinance.

I have expressed no matter of mere concern but solely matters of substance, fact and law. I accept your oath of office.