Grangeville City Hall photo

The Grangeville City Hall.

GRANGEVILLE — Concerns about 5G communication drew more than 25 people to last week’s council meeting with the focus on the alleged health hazards and what the city was doing about it.

“I want to ask what your opinion on 5G is and do you have concerns?” said Kurt Largent, speaking to the Grangeville City Council at its Monday, Oct 18, meeting. Mayor Wes Lester prefaced the discussion that Largent, who was listed on the agenda, was the only one to speak on the matter, clarifying it was not a public hearing. Prior to this meeting, a social media posting encouraged community attendance at the meeting, noting multiple health and life 5G concerns.

“I want to place the citizens just like a jury,” Largent said, so that we can vote, 'cause we’re taxpayers. I’m a taxpayer. We fund the machine, and if we fund the machine we need to know how that machine works and what the effects are of the machine and what your feelings are on 5G technology.”

Largent said he was made aware a 5G tower was installed on the Blue Fox Theater, and he was concerned most people were not aware of this, nor were they given a public forum on this matter, “because there are health hazards involved with 5G technology.” The Free Press contacted theater owner, Chris Wagner, who said that is not the case; the tower in question is actually 3G.

Questioned by Largent, Lester said he has read articles on both sides of the matter, but hasn’t formed an opinion on this. This was the same for councilor Beryl Grant, who clarified the packet of information supplied to the council by Largent is still being reviewed.

“At this point I don’t have an opinion. I will when the point comes, I’m still educating myself,” Grant said. “Right now I’m not going to have you put me on trial because I don’t have an opinion.”

City attorney Adam Green clarified jurisdictional responsibility in this issue, saying Grangeville has an ordinance that regulates the height and placement of antennas but not rules that regulate the content of the data that transmits over them.

“The city doesn’t have the jurisdiction to control the content of any sort of transmissions,” Green clarified. “So, the city couldn’t say you can’t use any type of machine to do any kind of communication. That falls under federal jurisdiction and not the city.”

In the back and forth that followed, Green reiterated regulation of content, as well as testing of tower broadcasts is not within city jurisdiction.

“Are you concerned about the health hazards?” Largent asked Green.

“What I’m concerned about doesn’t matter,” Green replied. “I’m just an attorney. I just sit here and answer questions.”

“Where’s your allegiance,” Largent responded.

“My allegiance is to the city,” Green replied. “The city pays me to be their attorney.”

“What jurisdiction do you operate under?” Largent asked, at which point Lester intervened: “Ok, we’re moving on.”

As the council room emptied, one unidentified woman addressed the council, “Good luck sleeping at night with your conscience,” and an unidentified man referenced a COVID connection with 5G towers.

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