Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Cell tower's worth the blight

The safety benefits of a cell phone tower at Galena far outweigh its appearance. A friend brought it to my attention that some of the people who adamantly wrote against any positive aspects of cell phone use in our Sawtooth National Recreation Area and the surrounding region, and who won't buy a phone on principle, think it's perfectly OK to borrow other people's phones to make their important calls.

Something else that's not being talked about much is that some people in small Idaho communities still unsecured by cell towers hesitate to speak their true feelings out of fear of being shunned—or worse—by the prevailing Flintstone-aged attitudes of their townspeople. In one community, this fever reached such a high, chirping pitch that even a physician went on public record to speak out against cell phone towers.

So far, though, I have not heard any police or emergency medical technicians make convincing arguments about how the potential unsightliness of Galena's cell tower—or any other tower—would outweigh its multitude of benefits. Some naysayers worry about how the safety beacon on the hill might smear the landscape if pine beetles munch their way over Alexander Ross' ancient pass. If this does happen, it is actually one more reason to install a cell tower on that exact spot, as it will have become more avalanche-prone in this dangerous area where young sports enthusiasts have already lost their lives after needlessly suffering because of extended communication delays.

Another anti-cell-tower argument is that telephonic technology will soon orient toward satellites, which will render cell towers obsolete. However, what happens when a satellite goes defunct, locks up or shot down by our enemies? In the eventual likelihood of one of those events, wouldn't most people hope that we had the foresight to construct a dynamic backup plan? Cell towers should complement satellite technology and vice versa.

When we develop an innovative device that operates off both of these great technologies, that's the kind I want. And no matter what the cost, I will happily share unlimited cell minutes with any party that comes up against sudden unexpected distress in our attractive SNRA, when we finally emerge from this digital dark age to implement cell phone service here.

Jim Banholzer


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