Letters to the Editor

In defense of cell phone technology

I would like to respond to your front-page article in the Feb. 10 edition regarding changes to regulations that affect wireless communications in San Juan County (“Hearing Feb. 19 on cell changes”).

The majority of the article was factual and fair, but the final six or seven paragraphs were devoted to the unfounded and unchallenged opinions of a known outspoken opponent of all things technological, Steve Ludwig of Lopez Island and the Green Party.

I have great respect for the Green Party, but Mr. Ludwig’s personal assertions are pure speculation and a knee-jerk response to any proposed development of this kind. His e-mail address should shed some light on his viewpoint: deathtodevelopment@yahoo.com.

You quote him saying “I think it’s doubtful they’ll get improved emergency service out of this [cell tower ordinance change]”. He cites no studies, facts, or any references at all, simply his own pessimistic speculation. He also cites “health risks” and “potential loss of property values” without any substantiating evidence.

The article concludes with a quote from Mr. Ludwig about the “big battle” yet to come. From whom? Anyone who has used a cell phone to call for emergency assistance will welcome better coverage, and many remote properties would likely enjoy improved property values if cell coverage were available, negating the need to pay for expensive phone line installations. That, of course, is my own speculation, but I know that I (and many others) have benefited from the ability to eliminate land-lines and rely on wireless communication.

Please continue your valuable and timely reporting of this and other issues, but a more circumspect use of one person’s unsubstantiated views would make for a better, more balanced presentation of the story.

Tom Eagan
Friday Harbor

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