English First may not file financial disclosure

Thursday, January 15, 2009 at 1:45am

Nashville voters may have to wait until after the Jan. 22 English Only special election to find out how the Nashville English First group has funded its controversial referendum campaign.

Leaders with the English Only referendum movement to make English the official language of Metro government would not say if they intended to file the group’s financial disclosure statement by today’s deadline when reached by the The City Paper this week.

In fact, according to Davidson County Election Commission employees, a representative from Nashville English First inquired about what the penalty would be if the committee missed the filing deadline.

Although Bellevue Councilman Eric Crafton and other leaders of Nashville English First have been extremely accessible to local media throughout the English Only process, multiple phone calls were left unreturned on the issue of meeting today’s disclosure deadline. Crafton told The City Paper he was merely the spokesman for Nashville English First and not responsible for issues like disclosing campaign contributions and expenditures.

Jon Crisp, former chairman of the Davidson County Republican Party and fellow leader of the English Only movement, failed to return multiple phone calls for this story.

The group filed a committee formation document with the Election Commission last year. The filing listed Lewis Lampley as the group’s treasurer. When reached by The City Paper Wednesday, Lampley said he had no comment on the “rumor” that Nashville English First intended not to file.

Last year, Crafton acknowledged Nashville English First had been supported by the advocacy group Pro English. The group was founded by Dr. John Tanton, who is allegedly tied to hate groups according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based non-profit that tracks hate crimes nationally.

Election law allows a five-day grace period before a $25 daily fine is issued for missing the filing deadline.

The group opposing English Only, Nashville for All of Us, told The City Paper it would meet today’s disclosure deadline. The group’s unofficial spokesman Mike Kopp said Nashville English First would be showing a lack of transparency if it missed today’s disclosure deadline.

“Let me emphasize we think it’s important that anyone participating in this process needs to respect the letter of the law and that’s why we intend to file and be transparent,” Kopp said. “It does raise a lot of concerns, I would think from a lot of people, any time you’re not willing to be transparent and up front about who’s involved in your campaign, how you’re conducting you’re campaign and where your support is coming from.”

A first-quarter disclosure is also due on April 10, but political committees are not required to file a statement at that point if there is a zero account balance on hand. The Election Commission mails out a certified letter alerting a campaign it has missed the disclosure deadline, but the fine period does not kick in until after the receipt is returned. That means Nashville English First could conceivably dodge lofty fines until after the Jan. 22 election.

“Election laws are put into place so the public can be informed about what’s going on behind the political curtain,” Kopp said. “The public has a right to know and the laws are there to be respect and not ignored.

“Specifically, does this mean they have ties to a group and they’re afraid to disclose those ties? And will those relationships have any bearing on how this plays out?”

While voters may be deprived of an opportunity to review how Nashville English First is funded, they will also miss an opportunity to see the English Only issue debated on Friday evening.

Nashville Public Television (WNPT-Channel 8) confirmed that Crafton had pulled out of a scheduled debate appearance with former Councilman David Briley. Crafton and Briley were scheduled to discuss English Only on Friday at 7 p.m. The show will go on, only without Crafton or another English Only supporter having the opportunity to plead their side, WNPT program manager Justin Harvey said on Wednesday.

Harvey said Crafton confirmed his appearance in December.

“We’re still hoping he will come and do it, and we left the door open, even for him to send another supporter,” Harvey said.

The Jan. 22 special election, for which early voting lasts until Saturday at the Howard School complex, will decide whether English becomes the official language of Metro government. The proposal would also state no individual has a right to services in other languages, although it does state Council may make certain exceptions for health and safety.

A wide-ranging opposition group, highlighted by Mayor Karl Dean and the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, has blasted the proposal as divisive and sending the wrong message about the city.

Crafton maintains English Only is merely about whether voters want Council, board and commission business to be conducted in English.

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By: pandabear on 12/31/69 at 7:00

"Crafton maintains English Only is merely about whether voters want Council, board and commission business to be conducted in English."That's how the bill is stated. Of course, there's no telling what it means in the delusional minds of drama queens.In the immortal words of Robin Williams:"The language we speak is English...learn it, or leave."
"51884

By: idgaf on 12/31/69 at 7:00

After what happened in Ca to the donors one cannot blame the group for holding the donors back until AFTER the election.People should take a good look at the un-holy alliance of those that tried to prevent us from voteing on which should have been a simple resolution.The public servants think of themselves as our Masters. To that I say *&%^ them.

By: producer2 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

So the lack of disclosure and droping out of a debate on such a critical subject is not a warning sign to you pandabear? Gee I wish the world was so black and white for me too....

By: JeffF on 12/31/69 at 7:00

The vote is merely a footnote. Everyone knows this is a lock to pass. Opponents are simply maneuvering for after the vote. Luckily illegal immigrants still are not allowed to vote. There are not enough "Sensitive" academic types in Nashville to make people forget about the economic disaster of Nolensville Road and the alien-caused drunk driving deaths and gang violence. Is Nolensville Road going to get worse if English Only passes?

By: Fundit on 12/31/69 at 7:00

here's what will come out: they're a bunch of crooks and liars

By: Dragon on 12/31/69 at 7:00

I'll agree with Id on this one. Seeing what is happening in California, where the contributors for the passage of Prop 8 are literally being targeted, serves as a warning. Holding off disclosure protects the safety and freedom of the supporters of this referendum.

By: idgaf on 12/31/69 at 7:00

They (anti prop 8) actually have maps online identifying individual donors with flags.Nothing good can come of that.The left don't want to fight terrorists wars but they are terrorists against their fellow citizens.

By: shmoore75 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

JeffF -- Please tell me how English Only will do ANYTHING to prevent the drunk driving deaths and gang violence caused by illegal immigrants. This amendment is an impotent piece of writing in light of already existing state and federal laws and regulations.

By: martial123 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

It's good to read there are a lot of us supporters of English Only, a week ago there was definite opposition in the postings. They have some slick advertising I received in the mail the other day, went into File 13 quickly.

By: JeffF on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Answer:"Demagnetization"Why come to or stay in Nashville when they are no longer going to bend over backwards to accommodate my illegal activities? There are dozens of other cities I can illegally live in that will ensure my never having to learn English.This is going to pass 70% to 30%. The politicians wasted their time showing us how sensitive they are. They should be putting on a show for actual citizens and voters instead of spending so much time performing for the non-voting illegal aliens. I am sure the Japanese and German companies operating in Mexico are operating just fine in their Spanish-Only government environment. Making sure Jose gets his EBT card in Spanish is not a concern for a multi-national corporation looking for a regional office.

By: JeffF on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Funny how the mayor and governor and other public servants spent more time rallying for illegal alien access to Spanish language services then the zero time they spent consoling the Wilson family for this loss. I sure hope we do not offend the non-voting, minimal tax paying, non-property owning, non insurance driving segment of our local society. We sure would not want all the takers and leaches to go elsewhere with a disparagingly attitude about us.

By: shmoore75 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Metro government will still be required to provide police, education, health care, etc. in other languages ... pretty much everything. Title VI as written by the federal government requires as much. The Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution outweighs even the might of Eric Crafton.You think that illegal immigrants will shy away from Nashville just because Councilman Crafton sits in Metro Council chambers twice a month and talks in English during meetings (which already happens, by the way)? Ooohhhh ... the zoning board won't repeat the latest bill in Spanish for me during their committee meeting, I better find another place to live. Please. Green Bay passed a similar law several years ago. Since then, illegal immigration has increased by 30%. Crafton himself has said the only thing this amendment does is make sure the Metro Council meetings and committees are conducted in English. That's it. And, since this already happens and is required to keep happening under state law, the English Only amendment is useless and just meant to heighten the profile of one councilman.

By: Kosh III on 12/31/69 at 7:00

"I'll agree with Id on this one. Seeing what is happening in California, where the contributors for the passage of Prop 8 are literally being targeted, serves as a warning."Yes. A warning that folks must take PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY for their actions and their votes. Boycotting a business which has promotes harm to yourself is not wrong. Avoiding people who hate you is not wrong. Stop whinging and OBEY the law that says file on time.

By: NashvilleEnglish on 12/31/69 at 7:00

wow, JeffF those were some great points you made. I mean, sure, the English Only proposal has nothing to do with illegal immigration, but why should that stop you from vomiting from the mouth? Brilliant stuff. And hey, JeffF, don't you hate it when the phone asks you to press 1 for English and 2 for Spanish? How dare the phone do that? Doesn't the phone know that this is America! We Speak English! Stop asking us that. And I am TIRED, I'm sure like you are JeffF, of watching Metro Council Meetings in all these other languages except English. It's like those government meetings in California, that Crafton didn't lie about, where they speak foreign languages. Bring English back! Vote Yes!

By: Dragon on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Kosh, it was not businesses identified but a Google map marked with the home address of the contributors.What other purpose does this serve except to intimidate or even encourage reprisals against the contributors and their families?

By: Carolyn7412 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

For those who do not know, Mayor Karl Dean declined a debate with Eric Crafton on WNPT(ch 8)for Friday night. For the lastest go to Nashville English First.com

By: Kosh III on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Businesses are being identified as well. So? Are they afraid to take PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY for their vote? How many of these traitors had yard signs and bumperstickers?

By: Anna3 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

No they are afraid of anarchists and those who would force their views on others through violence...do you defend their raiding and defacing a Catholic Church? Assaults of elderly women whom were voting their beliefs? I understand the fear they face completely....I hope English First waits until well after the Election to file.

By: Anna3 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Note to English First folks...Run an ad on Tom Negri and his connection to this issue and the Convention Center...and where he does...or doesn't live....you'll knock 'em dead.

By: Anna3 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Also...it seems that the means justify the ends for almost everyone on the "Nashville for All of ...Rich Folks" side...but now they want to be transparent? How about a little transparency on the billion dollar convention center they are funding without proper approval? Did you know that the Nashville for all of us President... Tom Negri doesn't even live or pay property taxes in Davidson County?? Wow! What hypocracy!

By: Fundit on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Karl Dean did not decline. Crafton and his boyfriend Crisp simply proving that they are indeed a coupla round-faced spineless chickens. http://blogs.nashvillescene.com/pitw/2009/01/arts_crafton_photoshopping_fun.php

By: Fundit on 12/31/69 at 7:00

http://www.liberadio.com/tag/wnpt/

By: LifeIsGood on 12/31/69 at 7:00

What does it matter who funded it anyway? Libs don't have a problem with George Soros or Tim Gill spending huge dollars in states far from where they live to promote the liberal point of view.That said, I've gotten about 5 mailings and a dozen phone calls from Nashville For All and nothing from the other side. Who is spending all of the money here anyway?

By: JeffF on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Sit back after the elction and let the elation of English First wash over you. IT will feel good and cleansing. Seriously if it won't do anything why fight it so hard? This is just a first step people. As with most causes, liberals are afraid of real change when it is for the masses. Change apparently must be only for the minorities?Cure the disease, vote Yes and start giving the first drug of many to help the people held hostage by the out-of-place language and culture. Make it harder for people to subsist on their misplace language when they could instead be thriving on English. If this is indeed a melting pot, it is time for these people to melt. We cannot afford to protect people's inedible lumps.

By: Fundit on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Jeff how is some guy speaking Spanish on Nolensville Road hold YOU hostage or impacting your quality of life?

By: JeffF on 12/31/69 at 7:00

It is their own quality of life being harmed not mine so much. Removing the prison of their previous language has always been the first step in acclimating people into our society (and other societies worldwide). Unfortunately today there are too many people here willing to keep immigrants in that prison, locked away from the rest of society. This dangerous form of empathy for some reason is applied primarily to only the Latino poor. Expectations are placed higher on emigrants from the rest of the world. Passive racisim? It probably is.

By: JeffF on 12/31/69 at 7:00

It is time for people to love the immigrant population by placing better expectations on them. The real haters are the ones protecting them from English.

By: JeffF on 12/31/69 at 7:00

and anyway this is not about some guy speaking Spanish on Nolensville Road, this is about the governement (and the rest of us) having to communicate back in Spanish. The Constitution is not about laws protecting us from each other, it is about laws protecting us from the government. Forcing the government to speak Spanish is abusive to the people who should be learning English.

By: Anna3 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Well said JeffF!

By: producer2 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

JeffF,As usual you are totally full of it. Obviously you have an axe to grind because for you it is only about Spanish and Mexicans. That pretty much says it all.....

By: Fundit on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Forcing Metro Council meeting to be conducted in English - which they already are - will do nothing to "remove the prison of their previous language." Making sure there are enough ESL classes for everyone would. Cheaper, too.

By: shmoore75 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

JeffF -- Even if English Only passes, the Metro government will be required to communicate in multiple languages in more than 97% of its functions (education, public safety, health, etc). Do you really think immigrants are going to be deterred by knowing they can't hear a Metro Council committee meeting being conducted in anything but English? This amendment does NOTHING to encourage immigrants to learn English.

By: JeffF on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Obviously it will prevent the movements you see in CA and FL where officials have to conduct press conferences in two languages as well as translate city council meetings on TV. This prevents a lot of whacky stuff that just has not made it here.Free the poor and oppressed. Make English the offical language of Nashville.

By: JeffF on 12/31/69 at 7:00

This amendment does NOTHING to encourage immigrants to learn English. Vote for it because of its harmlessness then.

By: JeffF on 12/31/69 at 7:00

A few people are fighting awfully hard against something that supposedly will not do anything. This sounds a lot like the arguments used against the Gay Marriage vote. Rremember the "it is already against the law, why bind the courts with this" argument. This while courts in other states were inventing rights in order to strike down the very same laws. People in Nashville and Tennessee are not stupid. You cannot hide the gameplan used in other states from us. We are proactively disabling a system that has destroyed other areas (CA, TX) before it can do further harm here. The frogs here are turning off the flames before the water gets to a boil. We will not let Nashville poor immigrants rot just because that we how they did it in CA.

By: Fundit on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Jeff won't you'll never understand is that English Only will do much more harm than good. It's really your problem if you can't crawl out of your hole long enough to figure out why.

By: shmoore75 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

shmoore75 -- I'm a conservative, so I am voting against it exactly because it is "harmless," at least legally speaking. Conservatives do not believe in creating extra laws for the heck of it. Remember limited government? Real conservatives are a fan of that founding principle of our government.This does not make English the "official language of Nashville". It makes English (redundantly) the official language of Metro government. And, I don't think it's harmless. I think it makes our city look petty and ridiculous.

By: Time for Truth on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Calling Crapton 'exremely accessible to local media' is like calling a hooker 'extremely accessible to sexual activity'.Since the Gay Marriage amendment was also divisive, hateful nonsense, Jeff is correct in comparing the two. But the vote will be a lot closer. And the Gay Marriage amendment was statewide so it did little if anything to threaten our viability as a desirable corporate relocation site.Hiding the gameplan is exactly what Crapton seems to be doing with his financial disclosure list. Wouldn't be surprised to see the Klan on there. Like everything else about this initiative, delaying financial disclosure until after the vote has a very bad smell.

By: Time for Truth on 12/31/69 at 7:00

I see pandabear got one of those 'comedian philosophy' emails and actually believed it was real. There's your informed voter! lol!