Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor - Sierra Star week of July 28

Majority of quarry supporters do not live near site

There is nothing more irritating than financially supporting someone and then having them dictate how you must live your life. Does it sound like that can’t happen in the “land of the free?” That’s what happened at the July 19 Madera County Planning Commission meeting regarding the proposed Vulcan Austin Quarry project.

The quarry, which claims to work so well with the community, had all the seats in the hearing room filled with Vulcan employees and supporters. The vast majority of these people do not live anywhere near the proposed quarry site and most were from Fresno - I know because I asked several where they were from.

It was disconcerting to see many of the people who should have the most input - those living within three miles of the proposed site - relegated to the hallway outside the chambers. The commissioners, who knew this was a contentious issue which would draw many people, made no allowances for seating. It would have been very easy to reserve four or five rows of seats for the people who live in Madera and have the most to lose with this project.

The first three-and-a-half hours of the hearing were devoted to the quarry supporters, with no time limits on the quarry representative and their attorney, who repeated what was already stated and presented in writing.

Opponents of the quarry were finally allowed to speak at about 8:30 p.m. after being forced to listen for two and a half hours about what a great company Vulcan is.

When the opponent’s specialists requested the board delay the vote on the project because the 11,000-page EIR was only recently delivered to them, only commissioners Thomas Hurst and John Reed recognized this fair request.

Commissioners Luis Ceja, Ross Thornton and Larry Pistoresi, Jr. didn’t recognize the need to be fair on this issue and seem bent on rushing through a project with minimal financial benefits to the county, and awash with serious issues.

Wake up folks. It is time to take our county back. We pay their salaries and it is time they learned that the people most affected by a project should have the final say, not politicians with an agenda.

Watch for the project to come before the Madera County Board of Supervisors in the near future and be prepared to voice your opinion.

At election time, it might be good to remember which supervisors are responsible for appointing such inexperienced people to these once respected planning commission positions.

Join the Madera Oversight Coalition by calling (559) 868-4400 or visiting www.moc1.org.

Bing Hojlo, Coarsegold

Fire risks remain high

Despite the wetter winter, firefighters in California are already facing another active fire season. Why? Because of all the dead trees.

This year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported 66 million trees have died in California due to historic drought and bark beetle infestations. That means we have 66 million good reasons to focus on preventing wildfires.

And that’s why PG&E is partnering with local California Fire Safe Councils and other agencies for a third consecutive year to complete wildfire prevention projects in high-fire risk counties.

Here in Madera County, PG&E provided $203,600 to the Yosemite/Sequoia Resource Conservation and Development Council in North Fork to fund seven tree mortality and fuel reduction projects.

Local partnerships like this are essential, but they’re only part of the solution.

We all have to take an active role in protecting our families, homes and communities. Learn more by visiting www.fire.ca.gov.

Together, we can prevent and prepare for wildfires.

Rich Garcia, Senior Manager, PG&E Yosemite Division

Islam can’t be reformed

Marc Sobel’s passionate and extremely thoughtful letter to the editor in the July 7 issue of the Sierra Star is a perfect example of how impossible it is to find any rational reason for Islamic terrorism. The hope that Muslims will finally understand the insanity of it all, and then decide to transform their own religion, would indeed be a true blessing to the entire world. But, it won’t ever happen.

Unfortunately, Islam cannot be reformed. For a Muslim to criticize the Quran, let alone suggest changing it is a death sentence. Those who we, in this country, lovingly call moderate Muslims are actually “moderately Muslim.” Therefore, they are referred to as “Apostates” among faithful Muslims. In many Islamic countries this is also a death sentence.

Establishing a religious belief system was never Mohammed’s only goal. Islam, from its very beginning in 629 A.D., was also a political movement based on military power and global conquest. If it wasn’t for Mohammed’s success as a military leader, Islam would have remained a minor Middle Eastern religion.

Islam has always been a religion of violence. By 689 AD, the sword of Islam had already conquered the entire predominately Christian Middle East. Few Christians were left. Then, Islamic forces invaded southern Europe through Spain in 711 A.D., long before the first Crusade in 1100 A.D. Then, Mohammedans invaded northern Europe through Constantinople in 1453 A.D.

Today, Muslims are actually at war with themselves to determine who will lead their new global empire, the Shia Muslims who believe that the leader of Islam must be a direct descendant of Mohammed or the Sunni Muslims who don’t.

It is simply delusional to believe that Islam is a peaceful religion, and that Islamic terrorism is a distortion of the true faith.

Rick Kosnik, Oakhurst