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Friday, March 19, 2010

Exposing Brugmann's Cell Phone Tower Scheme

Posted By on Fri, Mar 19, 2010 at 10:59 AM

click to enlarge brugmann_cell_tower.jpg
Today, residents in Potrero Hill were sent a letter from SF Weekly's executive editor, Michael Lacey, alerting them to an issue being ignored in the pages of the Bay Guardian. Guardian publisher Bruce Brugmann wants to erect a cell phone tower on the rooftop of the paper's Potrero office building to generate revenue.

The hypocrisy of Brugmann's plan was unintentionally exposed in an 11,000-word story in The Stranger about the legal fight between the Guardian and SF Weekly. In a scene in that story, Brugmann escorted the writer to the rooftop of his building -- where he plans to put the cell phone antennae -- and pointed to Sutro Tower and grumbled, "Another big scandal. A huge tower that was done secretly, very quietly."

Funny thing, we haven't heard a lot about your cell tower project, Bruce. And, by the by, back in 2002 the Guardian ran a story trumpeting a study that linked cancer rates to "sources of low-microwave radiation such as cellular antennae. More than 2,000 of these antennae can be found throughout the city."

Here's the letter from Lacey to the Guardian's neighbors in Potrero Hill::


San Francisco Bay Guardian owner Bruce Brugmann plans to erect a cell phone tower on the roof of his office building at 135 Mississippi. Brugmann's latest scheme comes despite the fact that his own paper printed an article publicizing the appearance of a spokesman linking cellular antennae to increased rates of cancer. (See the enclosed Guardian story, which appeared before Brugmann hatched his plan to put four antennas up.) It also appears Brugmann wants to put up the cell phone tower and collect rent despite concerns from neighbors. (See SF Weekly story enclosed.)

In addition, just last week a committee of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved a resolution urging the federal government to study the issue of potential health and environmental harm from cell phone towers.

And yet we can find no discussion by Brugmann in the Bay Guardian about his plan to erect his own cell phone tower before the federal study is undertaken.

The Planning Commission is scheduled to consider the erection of Brugmann's rooftop antennas on Thursday, March 25 at 1:30 p.m. at City Hall, room 400. Currently, the Guardian's proposal is on the Commission's "consent calendar," meaning it will pass without comment unless neighbors like you demand a public hearing. Any individual may ask that this issue be scheduled for public debate. If you want a hearing of the application, call city planner Diego Sanchez at 415-575-9082 or email him at

As you may already know, we at SF Weekly are engaged in on-going litigation with the Bay Guardian initiated by Brugmann. And, of course, we compete with him and the rest of the Bay Area media for readers. Notwithstanding our own conflicts with Mr. Brugmann, we thought the intersection of his cash flow and your health might prove of interest. Certainly, a public hearing is the forum to put to rest any lingering questions.

This cell phone tower could have a negative impact on your neighborhood for decades to come. If you have concerns about the possible effect on your health or your property values, we suggest you read the stories included and attend the meeting to voice your opinion.

Michael Lacey

Executive Editor

Illustration | Fred Noland

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