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Op-Ed: February 2015

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Op-Ed: February 2015
Task Force - Electro-Sensitivity

Sonoma County's Best Kept Secret

Can't make it out to go to a public meeting on a work night?  Do you have something you would like to say about police policy or the Andy Lopez death, but you can't stand crowds, or do not know where to turn? Well, now is the time and we know the place for you to speak out.

The county has provided us with a wonderful and easy to navigate website which has had little press coverage. The purpose is to both keep us informed and allow for our input, views, and comments on any of the Sonoma County Community and Local Law Enforcement Task Force recommendations made by each of the three subcommittees. Sadly the address for this website, regardless of all the articles in the papers, has been rarely published. It is: sonomacounty.ca.gov/Community-and-Local-Law-Enforcement-Task-Force

The subcommittees have spent months drafting these recommendations and now is the time for us to put the "Community" into the Task Force title by voicing our concerns. You need not respond to all the recommendations but there must be a few about which you feel strongly enough to respond.

Two of the subcommittees have finished their drafts and await your comments. The third will finish theirs on Feb. 2, 2015.

Sonoma Valley Peace and Justice would like to take a moment and add a few comments that we doubt will ever be discussed by the Task Force. First we express our agreement with one that is up for recommendation. We believe that the Coroner's Office and the Sherriff's Office should be separated for reasons of accountability.

Here are three more recommendations we would like to propose to the Task Force.

We have studied several models now used. We prefer the model of Eugene, Oregon. It is a rare two step model that could be reviewed once the public trust has been restored. Perhaps in twenty years? After all there have been close to sixty (60) police related deaths since 2/98 in this county alone. The average for the whole US is six hundred (600) a year, which we find shocking. The two step model in Eugene has an Office of Police Auditor to watch over the police. Then they have a Citizen's Review Board, to oversee the Office of Police Auditor. Tough but maybe necessary. After all Sonoma County has paid out around 2.5 million dollars in officer involved Civil Suits these past few years.

Our other two issues lay within the Sheriff's Department itself. We believe that the act of voting is in itself a form of accountability. Yet how can there be any accountability when for virtually the last 20 years the candidate for Sheriff has run unopposed. Yes, unopposed for 20 years! We want choice, we want accountability, and we want true democracy in this process. Otherwise who is there to "elect"?

For our third suggestion we wonder if there is any reason that the meeting of the Sonoma County Law Enforcement Chief's Association should not be open to the public? After all this is where police policy and procedure is decided. One of our members, a veteran, was told by the Sheriff that the policy in Sonoma County is "shoot to kill". We believe there is fodder for a great debate on this issue. Let us have that debate, like any community should be able to do, at anytime about any police or other policy or procedure. Open debate will go a long way towards restoring community trust. 

Sixteen years ago (1999) the United States Civil Rights Commission Advisory Committee met here in Sonoma County. They recommended that the County establish a Civilian Review Board. The police strongly objected so the recommendation fell on deaf ears. There is still a strong objection to this recommendation today. Therefore we hope that this time there will be change and action on the part of the county. We hope that all the time that the Task Force has invested in this project will not be in vain.

We would like to thank the Task Force for all their hard work and dedication. We thank all the journalists that have chosen to to spend their time informing us, the community, about these events. Most of all we thank the County of Sonoma for the hard work that went into this all too often not mentioned web site. Again the web site address is:

sonomacounty.ca.gov/Community-and-Local-Law-Enforcement-Task-Force

Patty Mount, Sonoma Valley Peace and Justice

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Wireless Woes 

I sit here day after day in the same chair positioned in the middle of my house, the only spot comparatively free from the bombardment of microwave radiation emitted by cell phones, Wi-Fi, smart meters, towers and antennas.

Everything is unplugged in my house except the oven, refrigerator and two small lamps. I am unable to watch TV, listen to music, converse on a cell phone, and use a computer or anything digital. I leave my house only for groceries, appointments and neighborhood walks.

It appears I am what is called “electro-sensitive.” That means most of today’s technology involving the use of microwaves or radio waves and producing electric or magnetic fields is seen as an enemy by my body that reacts in “fight or flight” mode in attempts to protect itself. I live in perpetual post-traumatic stress.

How did I get this way? From something everyone reading these words likely owns and could never envision living without – a cell phone.

I was talking on mine one day. It was producing heat, a usual occurrence, when suddenly I  felt I was being burned from the inside out. My whole body turned beet red as I collapsed helplessly to the floor.

That was the start of:

tremors

body pains

insomnia

irritability

diarrhea

lack of concentration

tingling sensations

hair loss

heart palpitations

pressure in my head

ringing in my ears

occasional sharp pain in my ribs, pancreas and kidneys

It was four years ago, my beginning of hell and still counting.

In retrospect, as a teen I always felt uncomfortable around the electricity surging through power lines, but as an adult, on that day, on that phone – it was the final straw.

Health physicians said it was a simple case of anxiety. After all, the scientific community had not conclusively proven the harmful effects of cell phones or other wireless devices. I later discovered otherwise.

And so began my retreat from the outside world which is filled with a deluge of technology to which I had become so sensitive. My friends, never hearing of such a problem, not only considered me delusional but were thoroughly frustrated that I could no longer participate in any social activities. I become unwillingly isolated.

In my unsuccessful attempt to heal I tried pendants, hats, and t-shirts all claiming to aid people like me, as well as vitamins, herbs, body work and hypnosis. I have accepted the possibility of remaining this way for the rest of my life, and daily as the world is increasingly polluted with newer technologies, I feel there is nowhere to escape. “Avoidance” is the advice in many books. Is that even attainable?

There’s a term “canary in the coal mine.” I am that canary. Actually there are many of us in Sonoma County, each with her/his own personal story. I’m sure I speak for all in the desire to stop this madness before others are subjected to this assault and forced to experience our pain and inability to function in today’s world.

My intention in writing this article is to disclose that a problem does exist and people are getting sick.

If you are one of them, please know that you are not alone.

For more information try:

1.         An Electronic Silent Spring by Katie Singer

2.         www.electrosmogprevention.org/

 

B.L. Love

Healdsburg