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Charges Dropped in Case of Novato Woman's Arrest at SmartMeter Protest

Ilona Gallo, who says new meters are a health hazard, said no reason was given for Sonoma County case being dismissed.

Misdemeanor charges against a Novato woman were dropped Tuesday in a case stemming from a protest in Rohnert Park against a company that installs SmartMeters for Pacific Gas and Electric Co.

Bahia resident Ilona Gallo called it “jail for justice” when she was hauled off in handcuffs Jan 11 for blocking a driveway entrance to a company that installs the controversial wireless devices that allow for remote readings of power and gas usage.

“I’m happy about it,” Gallo said. “I had never been in jail before. I’m still kind of shaking from this morning."

Gallo, 59, and Deborah Tavares, 62, of Sebastopol appeared in Sonoma County Superior Court in Santa Rosa for just a few minutes Tuesday.

“We walked in and had barely sat down when they said it was dismissed,” Gallo said. “They didn’t give any explanation.”

The two women were among about 15 people who blocked a driveway at 5531 State Farm Drive on Jan. 11. The protesters said they believed a big-rig that was waiting to pull into the driveway of an unmarked building was delivering SmartMeters. They objected to the installation of SmartMeters because they claim the wireless devices can cause illnesses.

The women were arrested for misdemeanor resisting or obstructing a police officer after they refused to move out of the truck's way. They posted $2,500 bail and were released from custody.

Gallo said the dismissal “confirms they don’t want the exposure and don’t want us to penetrate the truth. They want to keep it hush-hush. For me, it’s amazing to realize what’s going on and how most people don’t see what’s going on.”

Court records do not show any charges were filed against the two women, who were making their first court appearance. The misdemeanor offense was punishable with a fine up to $1,000 and/or one year in the county jail.

The California Council on Science and Technology released a long-awaited report in early January on the health effects of the wireless meters. The conclusion was that the meters emit lower levels of radio frequencies than many household products, are well below federal standards even under worst-case scenarios and that FCC standards are adequately safe for possible thermal health effects.

However, the report also concluded that not enough is known about the non-thermal health effects from radio frequencies and that more information should be provided to consumers about emissions of all devices, including SmartMeters.

Gallo said she wants people to educate themselves by checking refusesmartmeters.com and watching a video called “The Dark Side of SmartMeters.” Tavares, who acted as the protest leader Tuesday, said the group was advocating on behalf of the website and the EMF Safety Network.

— Bay City News Service

Jerome J Ghigliotti Jr February 02, 2011 at 04:52 PM
It is good to see citizen involvement in local issues. Ghandi taught us well about the power of civil disobediance. It works. It freed a nation, maybe it can free us.

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