‘Surprise’ cell towers arouse La Jolla residents’ ire


Police arrive at La Jolla home to ease tensions as residents protest cell tower installation

After David Haney spent nearly a year investigating and fighting the planned installation of a cell tower in front of his Mt. Soledad home at Westknoll Drive and Calle Vaquero, workers arrived at his residence early June 29 to begin installing the 30-foot-tall cell phone tower. A handful of residents in the neighborhood were there with him to protest the installation. Police officers were called in to prevent the confrontation from getting out of hand.

City officials say the new installations are legal and they are not required to notify residents in advance of their installation on private property. Crown Castle says the so-called DAS towers are necessary to improve residential cell phone coverage and improve safety, in cases where residents may need to phone 911.

Residents in Haney’s neighborhood retained an attorney to help them discuss the installation with Crown Castle GT Company, which is contracted to install the cell towers throughout San Diego.

In an e-mail to La Jolla Light, Haney said Crown Castle agreed to delay its work until its staff met with neighbors to discuss their concerns and options to move the proposed tower to an alternate location. However, Haney said instead of meeting with residents, a Crown Castel representative e-mailed their attorney June 26 to notify them there would be no such meeting, and Crown Castle would proceed with the work Monday morning, June 29.

Haney and his neighbor, Louis Cumming, say they are leery of the “secret process put in place to install these towers.”

Sheri Carr, with the office of District 1 City Council representative Sherri Lightner, told Cumming she was advised by the city attorney’s office that because residents hired an attorney “the city will not be responding to the issue until the litigation is resolved.”

Meanwhile, Michael Oldstone, a professor with Scripps Research Institute, called to say SDG&E installed a more than 30-foot-tall Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) wireless antenna on his property last month, without notice. “I was not told anything — zero — and my wife was not told anything,” Oldstone said, noting that the pole was installed between the sidewalk and his house, in a recently planted garden that workers partially dug up to make room for the pole, without replanting. The antenna has yet to be installed atop the pole.

Betsy Oldstone, who was home at the time, said workers told her they did not know what the pole was for.

The Light will follow up on this report, seeking clarification on the law that permits DAS tower installations, and why residents are not notified when the city allows one to be installed on their property. To read earlier reports about this issue visit and

• La Jolla Light’s POLL OF THE WEEK: