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Group rallies against cell towers

Gathering at Harbour View Park was organized by the Committee for No on Measure Q.

October 13, 2010|By Britney Barnes, britney.barnes@latimes.com

Toddlers pushed around inflatable beach balls bigger than themselves and parents mingled in vibrant yellow shirts as music blasted in the park, but the gathering was anything but a party.

Community members gathered at Harbour View Park, next to Harbour View Elementary School, on Wednesday afternoon to rally against two cell towers being built in the park and at Bolsa View Park, two locations where children play.

The rally was organized by the Committee for No on Measure Q, a grass-roots organization made up of parents from Harbour View Elementary, to send a message to voters, but also to the City Council to keep fighting the towers.

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"If anything is worth fighting for, it's the people of Huntington Beach, especially the children," said Lori Burrett, a spokeswoman for the committee.

Measure Q asks residents if they want mobile telephone antennas at Harbour View Park and Bolsa View Park.

The vote is only an advisory tool for the city, and potentially for the judge, in a lawsuit against the city over the cell towers, to gauge how residents feel, City Atty. Jennifer McGrath has said.

Opponents of the cell towers are concerned about their proximity to children at Harbour View Elementary and Bolsa View Park's playground and have been fighting the tower since word got around that a 55-foot-high cell tower at Harbour View Park and a nearly 52-foot-high tower at Bolsa View were going in more than a year ago.

"There's other places you can put it," Janie Yee, a resident and mother of four, said at the rally. "This is not the spot."

Parents are concerned about the towers' effect on property values, the safety risks the towers would create for children climbing up them or something falling off them, but also the health risks, Burrett said.

Even though the federal Telecommunications Act bars health concerns from being a factor in denial of a cell tower, Burrett said it is a real concern for parents until it is proven safe.

"We'd rather be safe than sorry," Yee said, echoing Burrett's sentiments.

Burrett said they are asking the citizens to vote down Measure Q, but also for the City Council to stop this from happening to anyone else.

She said she wouldn't be happy with the towers being moved to someone else's backyard, but wants the city to revise its zoning to prohibit another cell tower from being built so close to a park, school or residential area.

"We don't want this to happen to any other resident," she said.

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