Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Council English Declaration Passes

[I]t's ludicrous to think that laws need to be created to help protect the language of Shakespeare.

- - Joey, West Wing


The memorializing resolution declaring English to be the "official language of the Metropolitan Government" passed overwhelming tonight. The difference between this resolution (co-sponsored by Jim Hodge and Randy Foster) and Eric Crafton's English Only bill (to be debated on third reading in February) is that the former does not codify English as the only or first language that Metro employees are permitted to use. It affirms English as the common language while still allowing latitiude to Metro employees to be flexible in offering services.

If you missed tonight's debate on it you missed Eric Crafton blowing a gasket and lashing out verbally at Vice Mayor Howard Gentry when Mr. Gentry prompted him to stay off discussions about his English Only bill in an effort to sink Hodge's bill. It was quite a yelling spectacle on Crafton's part. Mr. Gentry did exactly what he was supposed to do as Chair of the meeting, including keeping his cool when Mr. Crafton lost his. Ludye Wallace made perhaps the most intelligent point in the debate later when he said that the declaration of English as the official language was something members on all sides of Mr. Crafton's bill could agree on and Mr. Wallace added that it is contradictory to support any more coercive bill on the matter and vote against this bill. Nonetheless, 7 members showed how uncompromising they could be by voting against it.

It is said that being bilingual staves off the onset of dementia. Being bilingual surely did not stave off a temper tantrum by the sponsor of English Only tonight in Council Chambers.

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