Councilman Eric Crafton criticized the Metro Legal Department’s response to the lawsuit seeking to prevent the referendum on the English Only proposal and said the fact the complaint was filed by a Honduran immigrant was a “slap in the face.”
Davidson County Chancellor Claudia Bonnyman set a Dec. 3 hearing to consider Metro’s response to a lawsuit, which calls the English Only charter amendment proposal unconstitutional and seeks to prevent the special election.
In its response to the suit filed by Rosa Quinteros, Metro Legal admitted the English Only charter amendment proposal was substantively unconstitutional.
Metro Legal also requested Crafton, the leader behind the effort to amend Metro’s Charter to make English its official language, to be named as a party in the case. Crafton will be represented by Nashville attorney Jim Roberts.
“I’m glad they’re doing that, because I’ve asked [Roberts] to do the same thing. I want to make sure that not only me, but the 15,000 people that have signed the petition have adequate representation,” Crafton said. “[Metro Legal] has already admitted they felt it was unconstitutional, so I don’t expect them to vigorously defend this at all.
“Right away, [Metro Legal’s response] was a red flag to me. I would hope people would uphold the law and defend the law vigorously like they’re supposed to and let philosophical differences get in the way.”
Crafton also sounded off on the Honduran refugee who filed the complaint. Quinteros’s attorney David Randolph Smith filed a brief Monday detailing his client’s standing in the case. The brief lists Quinteros as a Honduran refugee, who works in a warehouse and has a child in Metro schools.
Quinteros alleges the English Only proposal is unconstitutional. Her complaint seeks to have a temporary restraining order filed to prevent English Only from being held on Jan. 22.
“It’s a slap in my face and it should be in every other citizen and taxpayer that the person filing this lawsuit is a refugee from [Honduras] that basically was under persecution and we opened our arms and welcomed her,” Crafton said. “And then one of the first things she does is file a lawsuit to prohibit citizens from this country from having a right to vote.
“I don’t like that at all and I don’t think most people would. She alleges this would be hard for her to communicate, yet she knows enough about our constitution that she knows what unconstitutional is. She knows enough she can hire an attorney and file a complaint.”
Smith filed a brief on Monday, which pointed to the fact that English Only has already been criticized by Mayor Karl Dean, Metro Council and the Metro Legal Department.
“The taxpayers of Nashville and Davidson County should not endure a divisive and costly process to have ‘the charade of a pointless election,’” Smith’s brief said.
Vandy professor apologizes for harassing Crafton, family
Vanderbilt professor David Lowe issued an apology in General Sessions Court this morning to Crafton and his family. In response, Judge Casey Moreland retired the harassment charge against Lowe.
The harassment charge stemmed from threatening phone calls and emails made to Crafton and his family.
“My wife and I decided to offer David Lowe a chance to apologize publicly and basically he would have a year to prove himself and not do anything like that again and that would be the end of it,” Crafton said. “We felt like forgiveness instead of retribution would be the way to go. Everybody has said something they wish they didn’t or shouldn’t have.”
Lowe’s attorney Stephen Young said his client had no comment on the matter.