Letters To The Editor

Dear Editor,
 I take respectful but substantial issue with the front page photo caption and headline “Islamophobia” on the cover of this week’s Capitol Weekly (Sept. 2) for the following reasons, which to me seem obvious to anyone following the Park 51/Ground Zero Mosque controversy.

First, the term “Islamophobia” is in my view and the view of a great many fair-minded Americans to be a political construct and a slur, used to stifle debate of an issue where the vast majority of Americans have legitimate questions and disagreements about Political Islam and its growing influence around the world for good or bad.

 Having thus maligned the good-faith opinions of over half the country by failing to note their concerns about the propriety (not legality) of the proposed Cordoba Center mere blocks from Ground Zero, the photo caption states as undisputed fact that there is a “rising tide” of “Islamophobia” “sweeping” the country.

 But there is no corresponding article anywhere in this week’s Capitol Weekly describing and detailing this “rising tide” and to what extent it is “sweeping” the country.

In fact, just the opposite is true: Americans of all faiths, creeds and colors have shown remarkable tolerance toward our Islamic fellow citizens both before and after 9/11.

Your readers are left to either accept this unproven claim at face value – there was no further examination of the issue in this week’s edition.

How high is the tide, seemingly set to engulf the public consciousness?

Where are the many verified and properly-reported examples of phobia violence or intolerance directed at Muslims in this country that would substantiate this outsized claim?

In what areas of the country is its rise so plainly in evidence such that people of good faith can see it and call it out as we should all do if it existed?

CW doesn’t say. This does a disservice to your readers who have come to expect and rely on you for fairness objectivity and good research.

I found this to be a very, very disappointing piece of work in an otherwise impeccably well-written and researched news weekly.

Mike Donovan,

Dear Editor,
A recent article on how the Air Resources Board is tackling pollution from diesel construction equipment (“California takes new look at diesel rules,” Capitol Weekly, Sept. 9) failed to mention that when the economy recovers, we can expect construction equipment diesel pollution to rise again. According to the air board’s new estimate, 9,200 people are expected to prematurely die annually due to particulate matter from diesel engines and other sources.

Construction equipment operators should work to achieve real, permanent pollution reductions, just as other diesel equipment operators have. For example, transit buses and garbage trucks have been complying with California’s air quality standards for years. They are cleaner thanks to pollution control devices and newer engines.

California’s air quality standards for diesel equipment are designed to gradually reduce diesel pollution over the next 10 to 15 years. Scrapping the rules entirely, as opponents advocate, would be unfair to companies who are already cleaning up their diesel engines and leave Californians exposed to toxic diesel pollution from construction equipment for years to come.

Don Anair
Senior Analyst, Union of Concerned Scientists’ Clean Vehicles Program

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