Democracy Under Attack

All democracies struggle with corruption and undue political influence by non-elected special interests. Whereas most of them preserve the direct and indirect links of accountability between the people and government through laws regulating corporate and other special interests’ contributions to political campaigns and elected officials, as well as strict revolving door policies that prevent high-level government employees from moving into lobbying and industry positions and vice versa, the United States has seen a deterioration of such protections over the last several decades. The 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which effectively opened up for unlimited corporate campaign contributions, is perhaps the most famous example of this attack on democracy, but in recent years, the number of high-level corporate employees taking on high-level government positions has been staggering, and the effects of this trend are immense.

This section of our website will focus in particular on the undue influence of the telecommunications and wireless industries on policies regulating and fast-tracking the deployment of small cell antennas, paving the way for a 5G cell tower in close proximity to virtually every home in our city. The Harvard Press book “Captured Agency: How the Federal Communications Commission is Dominated by the Industries It Presumably Regulates” provides ample evidence of the ties between the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the wireless industry, which is the very reason this website needs to exist.

“It is these hardball tactics that recall 20th century Big Tobacco tactics. It is these tactics that heighten suspicion that the wireless industry does indeed have a dirty secret. And it is those tactics that intensify the spotlight on an FCC that so timidly follows the script of the fabulously wealthy, bullying, billion-dollar beneficiaries of wireless.”
(Norm Alster, 2014. Captured Agency…)

Because of the scenario outlined above, local governments, more than ever, play the role of acting as gate keepers of our democracy, protecting the interests of their citizens. This is particularly true when federal agencies such as the FCC are largely captured by industry interests. Hence, it’s also more important than ever for citizens to stay engaged with their local governments (in our case both at the city and county levels) as well as their state governments, to preserve our rights, and ultimately to restore democracy.

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