By Rhyen Coombs
No, they weren’t trick-or-treaters three days late, though cell phone shoppers heading toward 1109 University Ave. Saturday could rightly be confused. Decked out with foil hats and folk songs, poster boards and a bullhorn, it was the Berkeley Neighborhood Antenna-Free Union, bringing their protest directly to Verizon Wireless’ doorstep.
Led by spokesperson Michael Barglow, about 20 members marched in a circle outside the store, chanting songs of protest against the lawsuit Verizon Communications has leveled at the city. Verizon wants to install five new cell phone antennas on the roof of UC Storage at 2721 Shattuck Ave., and says the Berkeley Zoning Adjustment Board violated the 1996 Telecommunications Act in denying both it and Nextel – which seeks to install another six antennas – use permits in May on health grounds.
The BNAFU activists, many of whom live in south Berkeley and say radiation emissions from the antennas are hazardous to public health, cheered the ZAB’s original stance. Now they’re hopping mad. (more…)