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Published by Cheryl Miller
Letter to the DeKalb County Office of Planning and Development in opposition to the special land permits which will be applied for by T-mobile based on a lease signed by the school board but not approved by the parents, residents or taxpayers.
Letter to the DeKalb County Office of Planning and Development in opposition to the special land permits which will be applied for by T-mobile based on a lease signed by the school board but not approved by the parents, residents or taxpayers.

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Published by: Cheryl Miller on Aug 28, 2011
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Print-Close Window  Subject: T-mobile cell towers being considered for 9 DeKalb SchoolsFrom: sayno2celltowers@yahoo.com (sayno2celltowers@yahoo.com)To: planDev@dekalbcountyga.gov;Date: Sunday, August 28, 2011 7:18 AMDear Planning & Development of DeKalb County,We are DeKalb County residents who are very concerned about a recent lease agreementwe think was signed by the members of the DeKalb County School Board. just prior tothe new superintendent being announced and hired to head up our failing andirresponsible system. We have waiting for a year and a half for the simple announcementof a candidate that would not be scared off by press leaks and character attacks by thevery board members who should have been acting responsibly to restore the public's trustin the leadership after we learned that our last superintendent and others were quite possibly involved in several illegal activities using our taxpayer dollars for personal gainswhile our children and schools have been largely neglected. The respect and goodreputation of our county, our government employees and our educational system have been rightfully questioned and we, the taxpayers and residents, have suffered steadylosses as a result.Perhaps when we try to speak out, our voices are too small. We resemble other disputes before you where an unlucky few did not get the dice to roll their way. Maybe "our county" or "our school system" just sound like they contain larger legions of support thanthe number you might imagine on the side of "the taxpayers," "the residents" or "the parents." So, please allow us to put a human face on the consequences that we are facing:1.) We have all seen our home values drop significantly.2.) One of our homes lost more than $75,000 or about 40% of its value according to themost recent tax assessment.3.) One of us has seen too much neglect at their public school that they felt they had nochoice but to take on a second job and tranfer the child to a private school.4.) One of us has given up on plans to start a college savings account with the state's Pathto College 529 Plan because the money is needed for a private school due to safetyconcerns not addressed at the local school level.5.) Several of us have received phone calls from other parents stating disbelief and anger that we did not inform them of the decisions being made. Since it was assumed our titleswithin groups like the PTA or the School Concil would have given us fair warning to takeaction in our schools. Sadly, we have all been misled and none of us has had enough timeto stop or even provide input into the decisions of the school board.
6.) Another parent fought during a difficult divorce to keep a child in the neighborhoodschool. Rather than being able to focus on what is best for the child, the parents may havefurther battles ahead due to the school board's decision which opens the door for newissues that were not previously discussed in court.7.) One of us is a hard-working single parent who tries hard to stay involved in their child's school, but has time conflicts that prevent attendance at school board meetings or after school functions. This parent had no way of knowing about serious issues that werevoted on during the short time frame that school was out for Summer.8.) We all have personal accounts of bulling at school and we all have seen our children'sclassmates completely change from one year to the next leaving our children unhappy becuase hopes of lifelong friendships are beinig stolen from them.9.) We have all witnessed the number of uncertain parents trapped in a system with solittle confidence in its own neighborhood schools that they believe the only choice is totransfer somewhere else and hope it is somehow better 'over there.'10.) We all want something better and yet we continue to get more of the same. We areunhappy and this subject takes up a large portion of our convesations at home, at work and with our friends every single day. Yet, we feel powerless and frustrated and we wantthings to change.We are working toward change by speaking to each other. We are also talking to our neighbors and other taxpayers who do not have children in the public school system.Their rights are being ignored even beyond ours because they are completely unawarethat ths school board's lack of attention on the core business of education is what is amajor cause of their inability to sell their homes, hire decent employees, find decent jobsor even retire on schedule.We are a growing group of residents who have come together to form groups like Get theCell Out - Atlanta Chapter and the Parents for DeKalb Schools. We are meeting, talkingand we are planning to take our complaints to whomever is necessary in order to getsome answers. We want to find out where our government is failing because our electedofficials are not listening to us, not asking us about what we think before taking votes ontopics that directly affect our way of life and the future of our children and we are nolonger a small sample of the population that can be set aside to deal with later.The more we talk to each other, the more we are learning - we are not alone. In fact, our complaints are the same ones that others have. And, in fact, the viewpoints expressed bythe school system are only reflective of the board members themselves and those theymay directly influence.During the short time frame that existed between the vague and low-profileannouncement that was made regarding a proposal to put cell towers at 12 DeKalbCounty Schools, one family felt obligated to reach out to the community near BrockettElementary School to ensure the residents immediately surrounding the school propertyhad been notified about the plans. What we learned was shocking. The residents whowould most likely suffer declines in their property values and who would be facing dailyissues with construction crews and maintenance workers allowed on school property 24/7
had not received any notification whatsoever from the school. A petition was started and100 names were delivered to the school board prior to their July vote. You may read thecomment they made here, under the "petition" tab. These online signatures werecombined with ones gathered on paper:www.thepetitionsite.com/1/Stop-Brockett-Cell-Towers.Brockett was removed from the list, along wth Meadowview and Medlock ElementarySchools based on community outcry in these areas. But, these were the exceptions. Theseschools involved only one or two individuals that were paying enough attention over thesummer, when school is not in session, to realize immediate action was needed. The other 9 schools heard little or nothing about the cell tower plans until the vote was over and thelease was signed. Since the school board has several rules that were not followed or discussed, we do not believe this was an authorized lease agreement.We appeal to you, the DeKalb County Planning & Development Group, because we believe that our concerns will be your concerns, too, if we will just be permitted anopportunity to present them to you.One of our parents has given up a significant portion of time to study this issue as fully as possible and has learned about the tactics that T-mobile has used to try to sneak celltowers onto school properties across the country. Sometimes they have been successful atrushing through the process, using loopholes, faulty data, incorrect drawings and outdated plans not even up to current construction codes. They leave as quickly as they arrive, andresident who pay taxes to support the very ground that T-mobile starts building in are leftin shock as they wake up to find a tower blocking their view of the sky, a sight that surelywill be even worse in winter when their will be no leaves to hide the industrial structure.Residents are left to wonder why no one questions how T-mobile 'needs' another tower inan area already oversaturated with towers, like Briarlake, Lakeside and Margaret Harris.We do not want to be left out of this process. We want to bring to light the many issuesthat have caused other markets to deny permitting to T-mobile for the same violations we believe they will try to sneak past you.We have contacted our county commissioners and they have told us they cannot help. Wehave attempted to reach our county's CEO and have not heard any response. We havecalled, but we are only told to talk to our school board. We have tried to put the issue onagendas at our schools, but the school board members have refused and told us they will back out of the speaking engagement if we push the issue further. We have written toevery board member, asking what we should do next if we want to be heard. What can wedo to protest now, rather than hire attorneys down the road and attempt to have thesetowers torn down, resulting in a much higher cost to the taxpayers and government.We are already losing ground with the reduction in property values leading to a reductionin taxes collected for the county services. Lawsuits down the road could result in further loss to the county, similar to the way this very issue unfolded in Cobb County only ashort time before the scenario was repeated here.

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