Phallic cell tower arouses concerns

For the past six months, a 60-foot cell tower erected along Castro Valley’s Lake Chabot Road has served as a Rorschach test for residents: What do you see? A tree? A cellphone tower? A giant penis?

For many who have stopped to ponder the tall, narrow cylinder and its rounded dome top, the answer is clear. It’s most definitely a penis.

Among the giggles and complaints, Alameda County planning officials have ordered T-Mobile, the tower’s owner, to alter its shape to more resemble of its intended design of an Italian cypress.

County planner Sonia Urzua told SFGate simulated foliage needs to be added so the tower’s top is not so round:

“It was supposed to look like a tree, and, well, there’s no delicate way to describe what it really looks like.”

Located unfortunately next to an elementary school and a church, the tower has been undergoing a makeover this week. T-Mobile spokesman Rod De La Rosa said he thought the original design did indeed look like a tree, though the company is happy to comply with the county’s wishes.

Drew Mboya, a mechanic at the 76 gas station next to the tower, called the situation ridiculous:

“Little girls point and laugh. People are pulling up taking pictures. … They said it was supposed to look like a tree. It looks nothing like a tree. They’re not fooling anybody.”

To a gal familiar with the male anatomy who can also Google image search “Italian cypress,” the Castro Valley cell tower looks like neither.

Though it’s not clear what the tower will look like fully disguised, it’s entirely possible to masquerade a cell tower as a tree without attracting any undue attention. Faux pines, palms and even cactuses can be constructed to hide unsightly cell towers.

I’ll agree with Abdi Fugfugosh, owner of the 76 station: The people of Castro Valley just have dirty minds.