Wednesday, January 21, 2009

English Under Attack!!!!!!!!


Laura Creekmore puts it simply:
it is hard to make a case for a charter change undone by its own exceptions.

And it is even harder still when Crafton's only legitimate example to date--New York City--implemented its current policy precisely because existing policy conflicted with Federal law.

Crafton's still got nothin' ....
Yes that’s right! According to English Eric Crafton, the English language is under attack! Run for your lives!!!!

And as proof of this he brings us examples of California state legislators, oops I mean Oregon firefighters, sorry, I mean New York City services which he says by law must be provided in “up to seven languages .... at enormous cost to taxpayers.”

Oh, New York, how could you! First you allowed 9/11 to happen and now this!

(BTW, I am still waiting for the example of "English under attack" here in Nashville. Apparently Crafton still doesn't have one ....)

Of course, Crafton doesn’t give any specifics as to which services he’s talking about. This could be yet another Fox News fantasy, which he’s become fond of repeating without any fact-checking. So I am left to assume that he’s talking about the Equal Access To Human Services Act of 2003, aka Intro 38A.

It provides foreign language assistance for those seeking Medicaid, food stamps and similar forms of welfare assistance. The law was expanded this year with Executive Order 120 to include a broader range of government services, provided in the six most common languages found in New York City.

Eric Crafton, do you really want immigrant children denied food stamps or medical care because their families are not yet proficient in English?


Shame on you. For shame. Eric Crafton, what do you have against brown babies?

An overview of the 2003 law, citing 2000 census figures, states:

One in four New Yorkers, over two million people, are limited English proficient (LEP).

Wow, that’s a lot of people -- and that was five years ago. Nashville’s entire "Combined Stastistical Area”--that’s Metro Nashville and the ring counties--contains fewer people than the limited English proficient residents of New York.

One might almost think New York City was some kind of melting pot or something. Weird.

But let me go on:

Hundreds of thousands of families eligible for public assistance have historically been unable to fully access services. The New York City Human Resources Administration (HRA), which is responsible for administering government benefits such as Food Stamps, Medicaid, and welfare, was found to be in violation of Title VI of the Federal Civil Rights Act in 1999, but the agency failed to take corrective action.

Wow, so there’s like a federal law requiring equal access to government services for all?

And as some Nashville bloggers have calculated, violating Title VI puts us at risk of losing over $276,000 in federal monies that are tied to Title VI?

So why are we having this metro-wide referendum again?

And as for that “enormous cost” New York taxpayers must shoulder? Well, maybe not quite so much:

The mayor refused to be specific about how much the services will cost, saying only that it was a “relatively small” amount given the size of the city’s budget. He added: “This executive order will make our city more accessible, while helping us become the most inclusive municipal government in the nation.”

“The fundamental basis of government is its interaction with its citizens,” the mayor said before signing the executive order at City Hall on Tuesday. “If people don’t know what we do, don’t know what they should do, what the law requires them to do, don’t know how to get services, all the money that we’re spending providing those services, providing those laws, is meaningless.”

The order requires that agencies translate essential public documents, pamphlets and forms in the six languages. But its reach is broader, as it allows for the use of a telephone-based service that can link immigrants with interpreters who speak Urdu, Hindi, Arabic and dozens of others less-common languages.

A telephone-based service? Like the ones metropolitan areas around the country already use, like, say, Language Line, which I’ve already mentioned in previous posts?

So in other words, cities don’t have to keep one Urdu-proficient staff person on salary, twiddling his/her thumbs until the rare once-every-three-years occasion that an Urdu translator is needed. They simply pay for this service when they need it.

So, compliance is not so hard after all, is it?

I’m starting to think that this “English under attack” thing really isn’t amounting to very much.

Eric Crafton is going to have to do a lot better than this.

It is inconceivable to me that two days after the nation swore in its first African American president, ushering in a brand new day in our country's race relations, that Nashville would take this regressive step. Eric Crafton is out of touch with the direction this nation is moving. Nashville does not need to go with him.