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"
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
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
How high is the tide, seemingly set to engulf the public
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.
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
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.
Senior Analyst, Union of Concerned Scientists’ Clean Vehicles Program