The time is now to  oppose the 5G pole placements

May 13, 2021

After reading last week’s article about the new 5G pole installations in downtown Rehoboth Beach, I have finally had enough of seeing our small beach towns being stomped on by big tech that has taken control of the process through false promises, and showing little respect for our precious natural environment.

For the record, I am writing this as a private citizen and not as a Dewey Beach commissioner.

The time when we have to follow the path of these large wireless carriers has ended, and the time to change the direction of where this is going has arrived. From the beginning, we have all been marginalized by a process dictated by big wireless corporations. Although these large tech firms publicly recognize their social responsibility, and say how they want to work with the local communities, it has become very apparent that their actions do not match their words.

These companies show little interest in addressing our concerns, and many times, representatives are invited to discuss them at meetings, yet they do not attend. The assumption of these carriers was that our small beach town wouldn’t make much of a fuss, and after a few months of complaints things would quiet down, and they would still have their poles on our beaches. These are corporations with billions of dollars in revenue, hundreds of lawyers, lobbyists,  strategic thinkers and planners who all knew the emotional phases we would go through as a town well before they showed up last fall. We were shocked, angry and we are now on the path to reluctant acceptance. We are playing right into their hands, and it is now time for us to start pushing back.  

This public letter is the first step toward taking back control from those that think placing a large, wooden telephone pole on our beach dunes near our families, ocean and wildlife is in any way an acceptable and necessary thing to do. This is not a battle against 5G technology, but we want poles located in a way that is more conducive to the needs and lifestyle of a coastal town.

Just because a big wireless corporation has a piece of paper saying they can place poles on beaches, doesn’t mean you abuse that power and you actually do it. There are better solutions. What happened to doing the right thing or  governing with integrity? 

    Where is the sense for corporate responsibility and citizenship?

As a town, we need to be honest with ourselves - these wireless carriers have the legal right to do what they are doing. As elected officials, we can create ordinances on aesthetics and density, but eventually these carriers will take us to court and win. 

The idea that there is a legal challenge or some permitting technicality that will save us from what is happening is flawed. There is no lawyer on a white horse on their way to save us. 

We need a new direction and a powerful grassroots effort from the people who care the most about this issue - the property owners in Dewey, Rehoboth and Lewes.

I am hoping there are a few great people out there who are passionate about this issue and want to help our collective community stand up and join the fight that our towns have faced for so many months.

I have received several hundred emails from residents pleading for help removing these poles off the dunes. Towns can only do so much, but the collective voice of the irritated and angry masses need to speak their mind to the direct source of these atrocities.

I would like to see us have a collective voice that is so loud that  everyone from Wall Street to Main Street will hear from us about what these big wireless companies are doing to our small beach towns.

Is there anyone out there willing to help?

Paul Bauer
Dewey Beach
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