Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Ding! Dong! The English Only Referendum Is Dead for 2007!

Expecting Council Members to actually know the Metro Charter beforehand is probably asking too much.

UPDATE: Thursday's City Paper says, "[Eric] Crafton said his own legal advisor had told him the charter is unclear and does not specify the boundaries of the two-year periods." He has his own legal advisor?!


  1. whoa boy! not so fast. The language Mr Schulman is referring to applies to council initiatives.

    The people can demand a referendum question by petition.

  2. Whoa yourself. You better go back and read the news.

  3. No matter the outcome of the 2 year question...this issue WILL return to our ballot...and to haunt Purcell.

  4. When and if an English-in-your-Face referendum passes there will be lots of Hee Haw Laffs at the residents of Kornfield County, but Nashville will be much worse off, because it will open the door to needless litigation. Proponents of this referendum may be waiting expectantly, but so are the dockets and the knife sharpening lawyers who are just looking for the slightest opening on this issue.

    English is the de facto official language of Middle Tennessee, and nobody is threatening that fact or arguing that it should be otherwise. This bill will do nothing to bolster that. It will force law suits. It will force Metro employees to be that much less helpful to a segment of Nashville's population. It has the potential to foster resentment and misunderstanding in immigrant communities that Homeland Security may rely on at some point to give relevant information about future terrorist acts on our soil.

    Finally, such a referendum is just plain uninformed. Eric Crafton has never demonstrated that immigrants are not learning English because of the bilingual efforts of Metro employees, and no proponents of English-up-the-Wazoo can prove that immigrants are right now failing to learn English or are using bilingual services as a crutch. In fact, the research that I've written about earlier on Enclave shows that language assimilation is occurring quickly in immigrant communities and that even first generation immigrants place so much of an emphasis on their families learning English that their children's bilingual skill set, which could open the doors to future job opportunities, suffer.

    This referendum would merely prey on people's fears and take some pokes at ghosts that aren't there. Bill Purcell did the right thing in this situation, regardless of what the mob on your side thinks. We don't live in a mobocracy. Sometimes leaders have to make difficult and unpopular choices and I have no doubt that he will be respected for his decision, at least among the more level-headed Nashvillians.

    So, you go ahead and work on your little referendum, but you just better prepare yourself for the open Pandora's Box at the end of your mean-spirited rainbow. Karma can be a bitch.