South Tampa parents win battle on cell phone tower listen01/09/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday | Listen to this entire show:
Two days after dozens of concerned parents criticized plans to construct a cellular phone tower in front of Coleman Middle School in South Tampa, the principal of the school said he would not allow the tower to be built.
Michael Hoskinson said today he personally believed the cell tower would mpt pose any danger to the children at the school, but the issue had become so divisive that it was not in the best interests of those at Coleman to construct the facility.
Opposition had been forming for months by local parents and neighborhood activists, and coalesced Wednesday night at the local town hall meeting.
In rejecting the tower, Hoskinson was also rejecting $36,000 that the school would have received per year, or over $400,000 for a 10-year lease with the local company who wanted to build the tower, Collier Enterprises.
Dr. Peter Valberg is a human health risk assessor at Gradient Corp. in Cambridge, Mass., which does health risk analysis. He has been involved in the potential health affects from electro magnetic fields.
He said the cell phone issue has received significant attention because it a relatively new issue, but says the scientific evidence shows that the towers used for cell phones are very weak transmitters.
That was the feeling of Coleman principle Michael Hoskinson – but many others in the local community were vehemently opposed, including most who spoke at Wednesday night’s meeting at the cafeteria at Coleman Middle School.
One parent said the cell phone industry is still relatively new to have sufficient epidemiological data to ensure the safety of the towers.
Local parents had collected around 1,000 signatures on a petition opposing the cell phone towers.