Who is the proper role of governments, both local and national?

As defined by the U.S. Constitution, part of the legitimate role of a government is to protect citizens' rights to " ... life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

However, I believe that the fundamental rights to "life" and the "pursuit of happiness" of neighbors living in close proximity to a cell tower on a hill in Alpine are being jeopardized by city leaders who refuse to consider potential health threats to citizens from a cell tower bombarding their neighborhood with radiation 24 hours a day, year-after-year.

Extensive research suggests a correlation between human exposure to electromagnetic radiation which is known to excite cells, to development of cancer in people living close to electric power lines, cell towers, even electrical appliances.

Therefore, scientists recommend humans practice "prudent avoidance" of electrical sources and fields.

Homes in our neighborhood were built and occupied long before the cell tower was erected on the hill in our midst.

Unfortunately, since the cell tower construction, some neighbors living in close proximity to the tower have developed various cancers and auto-immune diseases and at least one has died from cancer.

One cancer survivor has developed three different types of cancer in the past two years and also suffers from chemo-induced neuropathy in hands and feet, making daily tasks impossible or difficult. This individual and a neighbor have developed different chronic auto-immune diseases.

Besides the intense physical and emotional suffering of these affected individuals, their immediate and extended family members also feel grief and loss. Survivors and their families often suffer debilitating handicaps, job losses, home forfeiture and medical bills. Lives are often ruined forever and folks post-tragedy are seldom as productive or happy as they were before.

Government entities — including cities — also suffer economically when residents get sick or die from preventable causes. They lose revenue when citizens, due to illness, lose jobs, stop buying luxuries, lose their homes, declare bankruptcy, go on welfare and move their families to cheaper locales with lower taxes, utilities and living costs and safer environments. When cities lose multiple families, they must rebrand to attract new homebuyers and tax-and rate-payers.

Even though neighborhood residents show up in large numbers for various reasons to protest proposed upgrades and additions to the cell towers, Alpine City refuses to consider their well-researched healthy concerns. Why? Is this local or national policy?

As a chronic cancer, chemo-induced neuropathy and auto-immune survivor, since I developed these conditions two years ago after living close to the cell tower for several preceding years, I have the following questions for Alpine City leaders:

1 - How much do you know of the effects of electromagnetic radiation on human chemical and electrical systems? Is vital health information being hidden from the public?

2 - Do you consider the potential deleterious effects of electromagnetic radiation emanating from cell towers and the wisdom of "prudent avoidance" when making decisions that could harm people's health?

3 - Are residents of cell tower neighborhoods unknowing "guinea pigs" in a cell tower technology whose long-term effects on human populations may not be understood?

4- Will the City of Alpine, and will you personally commit to funding independent research into the health problems of residents in the neighborhood before voting to upgrade or add to the present cell tower arrays?

5 - Do you research and ponder the potential pain and suffering to residents arising from decisions you make?

6 - Since today's human population is already exposed to many known polluting, carcinogenic and mutation causing agents in the environment, should you chance introducing cell phone towers into neighborhoods, when such dubious features could be located in non-populated places where they can't harm human health?

7 - Have you personally studied electromagnetic health issues before saying "yes" to cell phone company applications?

8 - If you and other city leaders have not done your homework relating to potential health issues associated with cell phone tower installations, upgrades and additions, have you voted unprepared and blind?

9 - If you and other leaders have said "yes" to cell phone companies before educating yourselves regarding potential dangers of all towers to human health, have the cell phone companies stepped in to fill the void and dictated city policy on cell phone installations, upgrades and additions without regard to the safety of residents of the neighborhood?

10 - Who protects residents if city leaders fail to consider their needs?

11 - Could profits and incentives from cell tower installations outweigh leaders' health concerns about people living near cell towers and the money residents pay to medical providers when they develop serious illnesses potentially related to electromagnetic radiation from cell towers?

12 - Would you vote for a cell tower in your backyard?

13 - Is there an alternative to locating cell towers in cities? I will answer this question.

Yes, but it would probably cost cell phone providers big bucks to place their towers on mountainsides and other uninhabited places away from cities.

However, city leaders should "err on the side of caution" and consider potential costs in human suffering and used up family resources as well as costs to governments resulting from catastrophic illnesses potentially caused by electromagnetic radiation emanating from cell towers.

Consider the costs to taxpayers, who pay for Medicare and Medicaid treatments for cancer, auto-immune diseases, etc., which costs might be eliminated if people are not potentially exposed to electromagnetic radiation from installations in their neighborhoods.

Governments large and small, and the people who make decisions for citizens make judgments that can have serious and fatal consequences for others, affecting others' rights to "life" and "the pursuit of happiness."

Please attend the meetings on proposed upgrades to the cell towers, write a letter to the city editor and do everything you can to protect your family and neighbors from potential harm.

Janet Butler lives in Alpine.