Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.

This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.


Woman Freaked Out By New Parking Meters Sues Santa Monica for $1.7 Billion

Photo by jimmay bones via the LAist Featured Photos pool
Before you
Dear reader, we're asking you to help us keep local news available for all. Your tax-deductible financial support keeps our stories free to read, instead of hidden behind paywalls. We believe when reliable local reporting is widely available, the entire community benefits. Thank you for investing in your neighborhood.

A woman who claims that the new parking meters installed in Santa Monica are bad for her health is suing the city and claiming $1.7 billion in damages.

Santa Monica resident Denise Barton says that the wireless signals emanating from the new meters is causing ringing in her ears, an ear infection as well as tightness in her neck and back, according to the Santa Monica Daily Press. She said her health problems started in April not long after the parking meters were installed. (Recently, the World Health Organization did release a statement labeling radiation from cell phones "possibly carcinogenic," but, uh, they didn't mention anything about earaches.)

Barton explained to the Daily Press why her claim is so large: "I know it seems a little big but they can't do things that affect people's health without their consent. I think that's wrong."

Barton isn't the only Santa Monican concerned about the wireless signals coming from the parking meters. Local resident Cai Dixon told the Daily Press that she plans to move out of town within the year because of the ubiquity of wireless technology. Liz Barris, who founded The People's Initiative, said she's also worried about how wireless transmissions affect her health.

Support for LAist comes from

But city officials are trying to assure residents that there's nothing to worry about. Assistant Finance Director Don Patterson told the Daily Press: "The Wi-Fi is very low level and only communicates between the meter and the sensor, about 5 to 8 feet."

He added: "It’s the same as someone using a cell phone walking on the sidewalk."