Photo courtesy of LA-RICS
New LA-RICS Towers located Downtown at the L.A. County Fire Command and Control Center.
Two towers designed to integrate emergency respondersâ€™ radio and communication operations in Topanga are planned for construction this year as groups organize in opposition.
The Los Angeles Department of Regional Planning has approved two 18-foot-high lattice communications towers at 24480 W. Saddle Peak Road as part of LA-RICS (Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications System).
Additionally, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 on Nov. 24 to approve the towers.
â€śThe Woolsey fire and the after-action report analyzing overall responses to the fire, made it very clear that our emergency information systems need some improvement,â€ť said Third District Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. â€śThese two towers are necessary to ensure the future safety, not only of the communities in the Santa Monica Mountains, but throughout the county.â€ť
According to the LA-RICS Project Team, the towers will provide improved radio and later, Long-Term Evolution (LTE) 4G broadband communication for the public safety providers of the greater Los Angeles region.
â€śPlacement of the LA-RICS Towers at Saddle Peak will provide coverage in areas where gaps are currently experienced by first responders and includes day-to-day operation coverage, emergency, and mutual aid response coverage,â€ť wrote LA-RICS Executive Director Scott Edson.
â€śAt the Board of Supervisors Public De Novo Hearing on Nov. 24, 2020, Sheriff and L.A. County Fire Departments provided testimony as to the importance of this site due to current gaps in coverage.â€ť
Edson said the site will resolve coverage gaps in a known High Fire Severity Zone providing first responders with a robust and reliable communications network.
â€śThe Woolsey Fire Action Report noted communications coverage limitations in this area,â€ť he wrote. â€śThis site is compliant with all FCC emissions limit requirements. The LMR (land mobile radio) tower will not be affiliated with any co-located telecommunication users or 5G; the LMR System is not a 5G network.â€ť
In Southern California alone, the system will support 81 public safety agencies with 34,000 first responders, 40 different local public safety communications systems, and fulfill the need for inclusion of 17,000 secondary responders (such as T-CEP, DRT, Arson Watch, CERT) for millions of people over 4,000 square miles.Â
â€śTopanga residents will benefit from knowing that the people on the front line who provide public safety service in this area will have a robust system, operating within the guidelines set forth by all applicable jurisdictional agencies, so that public safety agencies are better able to protect their structures, lives, and natural resources of the region,â€ť Edson said.
TCEPâ€™S POSITION ON LA-RICS
According to James Grasso of the Topanga Coalition for Emergency Preparedness (TCEP), LA-RICS was conceived and envisioned after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. Grasso wrote that on 9/11, first responders arrived on scene from neighboring jurisdictions using incompatible communication systems that were unable to readily communicate with each other, creating confusion, delays, and loss of life.
â€śLA-RICS was envisioned and designed to provide unified interoperable communications for all first responders across multiple platforms to allow and enable them to communicate together,â€ť Grasso wrote. â€śLA-RICS is a public service communications service meant for first responder agencies. There are provisions for secondary responders and utility companies so we will have to see if that is something TCEP could capitalize on to enhance our ability to communicate with first responders in an emergency.â€ť
Julie Levine, coordinator of 5G Free California, commented on the Nov. 24 approval by the Board of Supervisors. Her group stands in opposition to the tower structures.
â€śThe vote was a clear indicator that we are not living in a democracy,â€ť Levine wrote. â€śJust like the initial vote, the appeal hearing brought over a hundred people opposed to the two proposed LA-RICS military grade towers, one of which is on Saddle Peak. The speakers were cut off at one minute each and many were never called on. After everyone was done, our Supervisor Sheila Kuehl spoke out in support of the tower and in denial of everything that had been shared about health, harm, safety, etc., and said the towers were healthy and safe. The vote once again was unanimous and the people were ignored.Â For theÂ record, the bogus cosmetic appeal hearing would never have happened if our two groups had not spent thousands of dollars on an attorney appeal letter. So now what?Â I am sick from wireless radiation and will fight to the end to be able to survive here in my community of choice.Â There are dozens of people in line of sight from the now approved tower who, like me, are already having symptoms from wireless radiation.Â For the record, we are not giving up.Â Please join us atÂ 5gfreecalifornia.orgÂ to find out more and how to get involved.â€ť
THE PEOPLEâ€™S INITIATIVE
Liz Barris, founder of The Peopleâ€™s Initiative in Topanga, commented on the Board of Supervisorâ€™s vote of approval and the rejection of their appeal.
â€śTopanga can get ready for 5G military experimentation on its population (now completely legal thanks to Congress), more IoT (internet of things) and IoB (internet of bodies) irradiation and more radiation in general as the most powerful of cell towers, the LA-RICS/First Net Towers, were approved by the BOS despite clear evidence of map manipulation and the towers providing â€średundant coverage,â€ť both of which are illegal,â€ť Barris wrote in an email. â€śWe may now sue LA-RICS and L.A. County for this detrimental setback to health and safety,â€ť she said.
For more information: ThePeoplesInitiative.org,Â or sign up for the newsletter by emailingÂ contact@