The front-page article on Feb. 14 in advance of President Obama's visit contained a great laugh: developer Darius Assemi in the role of air-quality advocate. What irony.
In recent weeks, Mr. Assemi has gained approval to wrap several hundred acres of almonds around the new state Veterans Home in west Fresno. It's hard to imagine a dirtier, more toxic source of air pollution placed more closely to more vulnerable people.
He is also gaining ground on his leapfrog sprawl development 20 miles north of downtown in Friant. All true air-quality advocates know that vehicle miles traveled are among our greatest challenges. His pawns on the Fresno City Council are blocking the clean-air friendly Bus Rapid Transit system for our entire metro area because he wants them to reverse a recent vote on the General Plan Update in order to open thousands of more sprawl acres west of Highway 99.
These are not the priorities of someone working for clean air. Yet he apparently manages to say he cares with a straight face and in a convincing manner. But actions speak louder than words, and these actions will directly harm the health of thousands of people for many years to come.