California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

Letter to the Editor

Shaun Nissen,
CSUEB senior, Carnegie SVRA user, and former high school newspaper editor

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The Pioneer Editor,

In regard to August 14, 2014’s edition – more specifically the article Carnegie park rides on report, that discusses the alleged expansion of Carnegie SVRA into Tesla Park, many facts within the article are skewed and purportedly untrue.

Reading through this article, I came across an unfortunate fact: It appears to have either accidentally or purposefully written extremely biased with a fair share of the content portrayed as untrue: something that goes beyond the ethics and ultimate goal of a journalist. Being detached from the opinions section of the newspaper, one would expect to read a fair and unbiased account of the issue at hand with both sides of the argument present equally for the reader to decipher.

However, this article allegedly appears to encompass only one side of the issue while leaving the other side in the dark and completely unaccounted for while negatively discussing their actions.

Furthermore, using immoderate and highly charged language to portray the writer’s standpoint disproportional to reality clearly falls into the ideology of reductio ad absurdum, or reducing one’s argument or stance (in this case, the unaccounted for opposition – i.e., OHV riders) to an absurd level in an effort to sway readers to the author’s apparent side.

Sentences from the article such as, “Consequently, dirt bikes pump oil and gasoline pollution into habitats provided by Tesla Park that numerous ecosystems are surviving off of” and others including “fumes fill the air” quickly paint an erroneous picture and shed a negative light on OHV riders which ultimately sets the reader up to distrust and dislike them from the opening sentence of the article.

With that in mind, I have never seen anyone “pumping” oil and/or gasoline into the surrounding environment, nor can I find any accounts of such negative behavior. If this were the case, I, too, would take steps necessary to reduce or combat such harmful acts by other riders. By using the adjective “pumping,” readers might easily and mistakenly believe that gallon after gallon of oil and gasoline are being purposefully dumped into the park’s environment when this is not true to my first-hand accounts and research.

By classifying all riders as polluters of harmful materials, the reader gains a false and distasteful perspective which groups those who are irresponsible with those who are not. For example, I do not “pump” oil and gasoline into the environment. Rather, I collect used motor oil from my OHV and bottle it for recycling.

It appears as if this issue has been intensely sparked as of recently, when most riders have been safely and respectfully riding and abiding by the rules for decades without the level of opposition that we see today. While some want the OHV to be shut down completely, others believe that by doing so, riders will be forced to take their sport elsewhere – both legally to other OHV parks and unfortunately, illegally on other public and/or private property.

To prevent this, OHV parks have been set up for safe, fun and respectful riding habits out in what can be seen as “the middle of nowhere.” Simply put, if places such as Carnegie SVRA are ousted from the OHV system, much more (what some believe as harmful) riding and ultimately “contamination” will result throughout the state instead of being contained to these dedicated parks.

Even if residents could hear the noise from the off highway vehicles, their noise is kept to a minimum with laws and regulations keeping their overall noise output below a specified decibel level with park rangers actively enforcing such regulations within the boundaries of the park. Concepts such as this are simply left out of the article making the argument, again, appear one-sided. Going even further, with these sanctions in place, an explosive test site, located directly adjacent and literally across the street from Carnegie SVRA makes far more noise than a dirt bike, ATV or any other legal off highway vehicle.

According to TeslaPark.org’s (organization opposing Carnegie SVRA’s expansion into Tesla Park) article, Brief History of the Tesla Area, “During the 1950’s, Lawrence Livermore Laboratories established Site 300 on the north side of Corral Hollow Road for an explosive test site…” Ironically, according to this same article on TeslaPark.org’s website, this very region did not begin to see OHV riders until the 1960’s – nearly a decade after the explosive test site first began operation.

Driving to Carnegie, it is easy to identify signs notifying people to keep out of the area due hazardous conditions, which includes explosive devices. One can hear multiple ordnance detonations on any given day which produces much louder and more powerful sounds than an off highway vehicle can attain.

Thus, if pollution from off highway vehicles is of utmost concern, one would think that attending to the explosive test site (which has been in operation longer than any considerable use from off highway vehicles) would be of higher priority than actively and aggressively targeting people utilizing the adjacent space to enjoy their OHV privileges. There are already many restrictions and rules in place governing the use and utilization of OHV parks and limiting rider’s environmental impact on them to a minimum, which this article again, fails to mention.

What this article appears to do is unnecessarily and biasedly politicize the issue at hand with false facts and rather charged or loaded language without giving the opposing views a chance to be brought to light.

As much as I enjoy reading The Pioneer, it is unnerving to be grouped into such a negative classification or group when I do not portray or partake in any of the aforementioned acts accused by this article.

While I respect the author’s opinions and right to express them, doing so (whether being an accident or not) with negatively charged, untrue, and biased language in an apparent effort to persuade readers and attack the opposing side while failing to adequately cover the opposing party’s views/facts via the CSUEB newspaper (with it being an apparent news piece and without it being designated as an opinion piece) is rather unethical, unprofessional, and highly disappointing, to say the least.

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California State University East Bay
Letter to the Editor