Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Confusing Words on "English Official" at the NCP

The City Paper Metro beat writer's explanation of the differences between "English Official" and "English Only" bills confuses rather than clarifies the differences. He writes:
The Metro Council last night voted to make English the official language of Davidson County. The Metro Council at its next meeting, in February, will again vote whether to make English the official language of Davidson County. The English resolution approved Tuesday was a peace-making attempt that newly-elected Councilman Jim Hodge introduced intending to put an end to tensions created by an English ordinance sponsored by Councilman Eric Crafton that also would make English the city’s official language but that could possibly, as opposed to Hodge’s resolution, have some hard effect on Metro.
It is not exactly true that both measures would "make" English the official language. Last night's resolution, a "memorializing" resolution, declares the position and intent of the council without the coercion or limits of imposing a law. By voting for last night's resolution, the Council was voting essentially to recognize and to promote English as Metro's official language.

Eric Crafton's English Only bill would force Metro employees to limit their interaction with the public to one uniform way. Using vague terms like "hard effect" or cynical insider descriptions like "peace-making attempt" lends nothing to understanding that difference. I do not know how much the City Paper's standing as a "center-right" publication affects their reportage, but they need to tighten up the clarity of their reports so as not to confuse the subjects.

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