LA County Sued Over New Wireless Ordinances

By Brenda Martinez

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LA County Sued Over New Wireless Ordinances
Photo by #Jarochelo FiberFirstLA lawyer Armita Ariano (at podium) from the office of Mitchell M. Tsai announced the lawsuit against Los Angeles County from the steps of Resurrection Catholic Church in East Los Angeles on March 8. To the left of Ms. Ariano are Monsignior John Moretta, pastor of the church, and (center) Brenda Martinez of FiberFirst A.
Groups say recent changes eliminate community involvement, flout environmental laws, and ignore safety concerns. A coalition of community non-profits and environmental groups staged a press event on March 8th at Resurrection Catholic Church in East Los Angeles to explain their recently-filed lawsuit against Los Angeles County. Led by the non-profit organization FiberFirstLA, the coalition includes Mothers of East LA, the Boyle Heights Community Partners, Children’s Health Defense (CHD), the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians and other groups. The groups contend that recent changes to the Los Angeles County Code adopted and approved by the LA County Board of Supervisors have taken away their right to be consulted about the placement of antennas in their communities, flagrantly violated important protections contained in California’s Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and failed to include important safety measures designed to protect the life and property of Los Angelinos in a rapidly changing weather environment. The groups have asked the court for a temporary stay and temporary injunction, pending resolution of the lawsuit. “The right of citizens to have a voice in important decisions about their health, their safety, and their future is fundamental to American democracy,” said Brenda Martinez, a local community organizer in East L.A., and a founding member of FiberFirstLA. “The L.A. County Board of Supervisors has clearly put the interests of giant telecoms ahead of the interests of the people they’re supposed to represent. There’s no other reason to take away the right of people in our community to be heard,” she said. “We will continue to fight on behalf of the people of L.A., California, and the entire country,” said W. Scott McCollough, a former Texas assistant attorney general and telecom and administrative law attorney with CHD. “Policies implemented in California rarely stay there; they quickly spread to other states. We need to stop this free pass for telecom giants while we still can, so we are taking L.A. County to court.” “When it comes to broadband access, our community is underserved. But that doesn’t mean we should give up important legal and environmental rights that protect the people,” said Monsignior John Moretta, pastor of Resurrection Catholic Church in Boyle Heights. Rev. Moretta is a forceful environmental activist, who has led his community in fighting EXIDE lead pollution from the former battery recycling plant in Vernon. “We have worked hard to make sure the little guy who doesn’t always have a voice has certain protections. This legal action will help restore those protections,” he said. The lawsuit was filed March 8th in Los Angeles County Superior Court. For more information: FiberFirstLA.org; Brenda Martinez, Fiber First LA, (323) 347-1142.

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March 17, 2023

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