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Everyone wants better, faster, more reliable coverage

ED GALLO SPEAKS

“Hi Jack. Just wanted to follow up on what we discussed yesterday. Jack you there? Jack?” Darn it. Second call… “Sorry about the drop Jack. I don’t know if it was you or me. Anyway. Jack?” Geez, another dropped cell call. Has this ever happened to you?

September 19 at 3 p.m. the Escondido City Zoning Administrator will hold a public hearing in the Parkview Room at City Hall regarding AT&T applications for six new small wireless facilities. I will explain why this is so interesting—at least to me.

When I was on the Planning Commission from 1996-2000 we reviewed numerous cell tower applications. My problem was the they were coming to us one at a time with various providers having multiple locations. After many months of this, I asked a representative since his company knows where future locations will be placed if he could give us the list and we could approve or disapprove the applications in one meeting. His response was, “this is proprietary information.” Therein was the problem. Can’t let the competition know where we are going. I applaud AT&T for saving time now.

Two weeks ago the Planning Commission approved a new cell tower in East Escondido which was met by the same public comments in opposition that were voiced 20 years ago.

One objection is the appearance of the facility. Remember the faux palm tree from years ago? The first one in Escondido is still in place between the Arco Station on East Grand Avenue and the Albertson’s center. It is a beauty. You should check out the painted steel pole with a few palm fronds on top. When on applicant wanted a location just north of Escondido Hills by Center City Pkwy the palm was proposed. I asked the rep what other disguises he had available. When he was showing us pictures, I spotted what I call the “Petticoat Junction” water tank because it fit into the rural surroundings. It’s still there. If you don’t know, just Google “Petticoat Junction.”

Check out the pine tree between the 7-11 on N. Broadway and the YMCA. That also is a cell tower.

I’m reminded of the meeting I attended for the Planning Commission with a group, I believe to be the precursor to the Friends of Daley Ranch and to discuss preserving the Ranch House. Funding suggestions were sought out and I offered why not call the cell phone providers to put faux towers in the area to provide much needed cell phone service and all you have to do is cash checks every month? That went over like a lead balloon and for whatever reason I was not invited to another meeting. Hmmmm.

La Jolla is now objecting to more wireless facilities but the reality is that everyone wants better, faster and more reliable coverage so we don’t go through the opening conversation in this column. I have had a cell phone for over 20 years and I remember how terrible the coverage was then. I am satisfied with the latest technology but know that it will change many more times hopefully for the better. I do not download movies or videos so I am not affected. Spades, Hearts and Blackjack are fine with me in addition to some other apps such as Waze or Mapquest. Oh, and radio stations I listen to at the gym.

Now I want to address a topic in last week’s T-A, Pedestrian Safety Month. We have an ordinance as do most other communities in an effort to make pedestrians aware of the dangers of jaywalking. From June 2012 to June 2019, 441 citations were issued in Escondido for jaywalking. That’s 63 per year, over one a week and that’s without really trying to ticket people and numerous injury incidents. In fact, the second citation I received in Escondido was for jaywalking downtown on Grand Avenue, which prompted my first Letter to the Editor of the T-A so I can speak with some authority on the topic. Just remember this short phrase that I leaned in grade school, some years ago. “CROSS AT THE GREEN NOT IN BETWEEN.” Pass it on. I had a lapse of memory back in 1975.

*Note: Opinions expressed by columnists and letter writers are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the newspaper.

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