In Camas’ (WA) downtown, there’s a locally-owned retail shop called Navidi’s Olive Oils and Vinegars, owned by Ken and Gabrielle Navidi. The Navidis and their company have recently been the recipient of negative online reviews intended to put them out of business. The reviews have nothing to do with their products or services and everything to do with their decision to lease land to Verizon Wireless, according to Camas-Washougal Post-Record.
According to the account, once certain residents heard the Navidis decided to lease their private land to Verizon to build a 120-foot tower across from an elementary school, online bullying began. Navidi’s Olive Oils and Vinegars began receiving negative online reviews Friday, January 24, that intended to, “target the Navidis and hurt their business in Camas,” reported the Camas-Washougal Post-Record.
Dani West of Portland sent a message to the private Facebook page of the Camas-based Hills at Round Lake. He urged residents to take matters into their own hands and blacken the reputation of the Navidis’ business. “Verizon will never back down in the name of our children’s safety,” West wrote. “We need everyone to write a negative review.”
Another resident, Doina Graetz, wrote: “STOP KILLING THE CHILDREN!!!” on the Navidis’ business site. “I will not support a business that will consciously hurt children, by leasing their land to Verizon to build a cell phone tower,” Graetz stated in the email to the Post-Record. “The Woodburn Elementary School is the closest property to this cell phone tower — within 310 [feet] to be exact — hundreds of children are attending this school every day, and hundreds more children live in the community closest to the tower. Young children are more susceptible to the [RF] radiation from cell phone towers.”
Graetz noted that a Verizon representative told concerned parents at a January 22 meeting that, “the county has no reason to deny the permit since there is no requirement of distance from any school grounds.” She stated in her email, “If Verizon doesn’t have a piece of land to put their tower, we can solve that problem.”
Another parent, Emanuel Konstantaras, is taking a different approach to the tower location. As a founder of the “Camas — Proposed Cell Tower’” Facebook group, Konstantaras and supporters are trying to work with Verizon to move the tower at least 1,500 feet from the school. This distance is based on a standard being adopted in several other U.S. municipalities and multiple European countries, according to the Post-Record.
“In our group, we’ve made calls for civility and respect toward the owners of the 26-acre parcel who intend to lease land to Verizon to construct this tower,” said Konstantaras. “We are all parents and community members who have sprung into action, doing so with respect for all involved, no matter how difficult the situation.”
As for the business owners, Ken Navidi told the Post-Record, “I do not know any of the people in opposition [to the cell tower], yet [the fact that] they feel the need to attack me and my family personally is just sad.” He added he believed the opposition group should be focusing its efforts on Verizon as well as the three municipalities — Clark County, the city of Washougal, and the state of Washington — that have designated what is allowed on his property.
Many parents protesting the tower are citing research presented by fellow parent James Jang, a former employee of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ medical research agency, the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Jang presented research that showed the safety of cell towers had not been proven and that some studies conducted in Germany and Israel have shown an increased risk of cancer for children who attend schools within 1,500 feet of a cell tower.
“I have not seen any articles yet that prove cell towers cause harm,” Navidi said in December. “If there were a study that showed cell towers to be more harmful than the cell phones we carry in our pockets, then maybe I would reconsider putting (the tower) on my property.” (ed; if any of our readers care to buy products from the Navidis’ fine selections, please use this link).
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