Signal to Noise: Here’s the latest development in the saga of anti-Wi-Fi activist Arthur Firstenberg, most recently seen leading a small band of fellow “electrosensitive” individuals to demand justice at Santa Fe City Hall. Not long before that, Firstenberg made headlines for suing his neighbor, Raphaela Monribot, in 1st Judicial District Court, claiming her iPhone use made him sick and forced him from his home.
On Feb. 21, attorneys for Monribot entered a new filing in support of their motion to dismiss the case. Those who hoped the lawsuit would settle the Wi-Fi safety debate once and for all will be disappointed: Monribot’s motion sticks to questions of legal precedent, rather than the scientific basis (or lack thereof) of Firstenberg’s claims.
The motion does, however, note that the Federal Communications Commission, charged by Congress with regulating electromagnetic fields, does not recognize any ill health effects from low-level
electromagnetic fields. In questioning Firstenberg’s decision to sue his neighbor—and no one else—it also cites a 1996 case in California:
“‘There are electric and magnetic fields wherever there is electric power. In the typical home, fields of various strengths arise from the wall and ceiling wiring, the ground currents, and all electric machinery, equipment and appliances. Keeping fields out of the home would mean keeping any electricity from coming into or being used in the home.’”
Given the ubiquity of electromagnetic fields, Monribot’s attorneys argue that Firstenberg should also be going after companies like Apple, Comcast and Qwest for exposing him to radiation. Monribot’s attorneys, Christopher Graeser and Joseph Romero, are asking District Judge Sarah Singleton to award Monribot attorney fees, and to sanction Firstenberg for “filing a complaint without adequate grounds to support it.”
Bank Bill Bummer: “I’m bummed out,” state Rep. Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe, tells SFR. What’s got him down? Not the fact that he spent a Sunday afternoon at a Democratic fundraiser instead of playing in the snow. No, it’s the failure of his “bring the billions home bill,” which would have steered state business away from national megabanks like Bank of America and toward community banks, including, perhaps, Los Alamos National Bank.
Is there a chance the bill will get a second chance in the special session, which begins March 1?
Egolf says it depends on whether Senate leaders didn’t call the bill for a final floor vote because they didn’t want it to pass or because they simply ran out of time. Senate Majority Floor Leader Michael Sanchez, D-Valencia, did not return SFR’s message asking about the chances of Egolf’s bill getting a floor vote in the special session.
The date of the special session was changed to March 1 after SFR's press deadline, and the online version was corrected to reflect the change.