"Until we are certain of the health effects of these towers, our growing children should not be subjected to radiation on a daily basis," Vallone said. He sent a letter to the company saying it has until Jan. 6 to remove the antennae on a building across the street from PS 122 at 21-21 Ditmars Blvd. The school has nearly 1,300 kindergarten through eighth grade students. Nextel spokeswoman Diane Rainey was on vacation last week and could not be reached for comment even though she returned a phone call after returning to work Vallone said that in a Dec. 7 meeting she told him the contested location met suitable safety standards and was an appropriate site for a cell tower. She told him she would take the issue up with her superiors. "Nextel Communications has stated that this location is appropriate even though it could affect the health of hundreds of teachers, students and residents," Vallone said. "Nextel is more concerned with their bottom line than the health of New York City residents."The councilman led a rally with state Assemblyman Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) in November at which 50 people protested the cell tower. Gianaris proposed legislation in November 2003 seeking to establish more stringent oversight of the placement of antennae. He is trying to establish a four-month waiting period for new cell towers that would include public hearings and state evaluations. "While we all agree that wireless companies need to improve service and eliminate dead zones, this need does not justify the reckless placement of cell phone towers where they are not needed and cause great harm," Gianaris said. Vallone and Gianaris have both sent letters asking the company to move the antennae. Vallone's Dec. 20 letter to Rainey lays down an ultimatum. "We will not take any further action until Jan. 6, 2005," he wrote. "If by that date we have not received word that the antennas are coming down, we will begin to once again protest at the location, take out advertising space to organize a boycott against Nextel and take any other action which we deem appropriate. In addition, the landlord's attorney, Peter Lagonikos, will begin legal action." Reach reporter Matthew Monks by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.
©2005 Community News Group
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