English Only early voting runs until Jan. 17

Monday, January 5, 2009 at 1:02am

The legal wrangling is over, the Metro Council debate no longer matters and there will be no more emotionally charged Election Commission meetings.

Early voting began Friday for the English Only special election, bringing with it continued opposition from Mayor Karl Dean.

The Metro charter amendment proposal would state that English is the government’s official language and that no one has a right to services in any other language. Nashville English First, the group led by Councilman Eric Crafton, added a provision stating Metro Council can make exceptions for public health and safety.

Another amendment would make petition-driven charter amendment proposals easier to accomplish.

The arrival of the early voting period for the referendum carried with it another message of opposition from Mayor Karl Dean, who has called the English Only proposal divisive and said it sends the wrong message about Nashville.

“The proposed charter amendment will have absolutely no effect upon efforts to curtail illegal immigration or to reform current national policy,” Dean said in an e-mail statement sent to his supporters. “Rather than permitting voters to send a message to the government, the referendum alters our charter in a way that will create legal, political, social and even moral consequences for years to come.”

Early voting at Howard School building will continue through Jan. 17. About 20 voters approached by The City Paper on Friday during voting hours were running about 50/50 for and against English Only.

Among those who arrived to vote Friday were former Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice A.A. Birch in addition to District 8 Councilwoman Karen Bennett.

Birch told The City Paper that he voted against both charter amendment proposals, but did not elaborate beyond that.

Carson Salyer was one of the Nashville voters who came out to vote against the English Only proposal. Salyer said English Only would make Nashville seem like an “exclusive community” if it were to pass.

“I think that if this passes it would hurt the justice, diversity and the cosmopolitan nature of our city,” Salyer said.

Marie Stevens voted in favor of English Only, because she felt it would encourage immigrants to learn English and assimilate better.

“I don’t think it’s right that our children should have to learn Spanish,” Stevens said. “I think they should learn English when they come here.”

Here is the full early voting schedule at Howard School:

Jan. 5-9: 8 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.

Jan. 10: 9 a.m. until noon

Jan. 12-16: 8 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.

Jan. 17: 9 a.m. until noon

Filed under: City News
By: idgaf on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Notice the 2 to 1 slant in that article.Thanks Mayor Dean and Sue Cain for costing us an extra 300K we didn't have to spend.

By: Dore4Life on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Yeah, I want to move to China and demand they learn English so they can better communicate with me too. LOL! Interpreters are the way to go...not putting everything in multiple languages. The goal is for immigrants to assimilate to United States' culture in EVERY way in order to live here just as one is expected to do in order to live anywhere else in the world. The USA is going to eventually destroy itself by continuing with this kind of promotion of multiculturism. We have stopped being the "Melting Pot" we originally were. I believe wholeheartedly that this country's Founding Fathers would be absolutely apalled at this.

By: pandabear on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Exactly to both of the above.Karl Dean and Sue Cain need to go, and I'll vote that way when the time comes.Whichever way the vote goes, I'd like to thank Crafton for remembering that the people have the right to vote. We can agree on that.

By: Time for Truth on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Eric Crafton is the one who needs to go. He is a poster boy for term limits. Hopefully when his time is up he'll crawl back into his hole but I doubt he could survive without attracting constant attention to himself.

By: Fundit on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I agree with that too, voted NO and all my friends and family voted NO. Now, when can we vote to recall Mr. Crafton? I'll be first in line.

By: girliegirl on 12/31/69 at 6:00

So what's wrong with assimilation? Aren't you delaying that very process by not encouraging immigrants to learn the culture AND the language? And it's not "languages" like it is in Europe, it's "language" meaning English. Some of the posters sound like they don't care much for the American way of life anymore. We have a beautiful flag, a beautiful language, and melodic patriotic song, and so on.

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 6:00

"English Only" will not make immigrants assimilate any faster and, if not passed, will not end the "American way of life". LOL

By: dogmrb on 12/31/69 at 6:00

GG: Why do we speak "English"? Would it have something to do with a country in Europe? English is known as one of the most difficult languages because it has assimilated so many words and phrases from other languages and has a infinite number of exceptions to every "rule". And our national anthem is very hard to sing unless you can comfortably cover 2.5 octaves. Red, white and blue are beautiful colors and many other countries have these colors in their flags too. None of these comments disparge the USA, it's just what is.

By: bfra on 12/31/69 at 6:00

The immigrants that come here, but act like they still live where they didn't want to be, is disparging the USA. Don't want to learn or use our customs, don't want to speak our language, so they must just be here for all the FREE social services they are using & bleeding dry. Vote YES for English only!

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 6:00

How do you know they don't speak English? Maybe they just don't around YOU. What a joke. I'm embarrassed for TN.

By: nsvlbimmerguy on 12/31/69 at 6:00

While I agree that people whom make the choice to immigrate to this county should make it a priority to learn the language, we have to be realistic and take into consideration that, from time to time we have to augment our inner workings to meet the needs of the community at large, many more of which, in Davidson County today are Spanish speaking. The basic tenets of this bill are weak as it is and the only person whom should be faulted for costing the city both the economic costs, but also the cultural and societal costs is Crafton. I generally take pride in my belief that Metro Nashville is usually a much more progressive part of the state and region as a whole, its divisive issues like these which test those beliefs.

By: revo-lou on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I was pretty sure America was founded on the FREEDOM to live with what you want, as long as you are not hurting others. I didn’t know that you had to check your beliefs and customs at the border and do it OUR way, which strangely is a mixture of MANY ways. Hmmmmm!

By: bfra on 12/31/69 at 6:00

gd - You do have a point, because if they would sneak into a Country illegally, they wouldn't hesitate to lie & steal.

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Why aren't you directing your anger where it belongs....with our immigration policy and/or (lack of) law enforcement, rather than a language?Maybe if they ENFORCED the law, you wouldn't be so inconvenienced by hearing a language you don't understand.

By: slzy on 12/31/69 at 6:00

the issue is way past English First now.the question is whether special interests represented by fat boy dean and the chamber of commerce will rule by decree, or will the city e governed by law.if English First passes,and it appears it will,every politician who opposed it should be recalled,and pulled through an IRS grater,along with their businessmen conspirators.

By: Fundit on 12/31/69 at 6:00

or visa versa.

By: pandabear on 12/31/69 at 6:00

If you have an account at a bankand there's money in that accountyou can withdraw some money from that account.How would you like it if the bank let anyonewalk up to the window and withdraw money fromyour account, anytime they wanted, without asking you......and all they'd have to do is show a "need" for your money ?The next day you go there to make a withdrawal they tell you you're overdrawn.Would you like that ?That's what's happening.

By: Time for Truth on 12/31/69 at 6:00


By: Time for Truth on 12/31/69 at 6:00

One thing this vote will do is show what kind of city Nashville is. I won't elaborate, my views on this idiot bill are well known already.

By: Fundit on 12/31/69 at 6:00

unless the person walking up to the window was spawned or lives in a cave, then in some way they too have no doubt put money into that account through sales tax, road tax and food tax...what a silly analogy.

By: slzy on 12/31/69 at 6:00

time for truth,time to move,is'nt it?

By: sidneyames on 12/31/69 at 6:00

This is what Dean said: "Rather than permitting voters to send a message to the government, the referendum alters our charter in a way that will create legal, political, social and even moral consequences for years to come.” Having one language is more "uniting" than having 2 languages. You have to draw a line somewhere. Dean's comments are abstracts because he does not clearly define the "legal, political, social and moral consequences". What is immoral about expecting people to learn English? Again, if we expect to be "united" we all need to come from the same place, ie, speaking a language we can all comprehend. It's safer. I remember when an entire apartment complex on Blue Hole rd burned to the ground. The "foreign speaking person" who started the fire, didn't know how to call 911; didn't understand the value of calling 911 and didn't call 911. The fire dept said that when they came over the hill, the entire building (18 units) was engulfed in flames. Get a grip, people. Knowing how to call 911 in English is a fundamental safety issue. So let's all learn how to say "help" in English. I think we are enabling people to be babies and not do the right thing when we are complacent. I will always stand up for English being the first language of our country. If the people want to speak another language, then let them pay for their own translators. Also, people, we won't lose business. Business people of any substance already speak English and yes, even the ones from other countries. Panda Bear I get what you said. There are some who did not get your point. But remember, you have to have a high IQ to get some types of comments and they just don't get it.

By: abrahamlincoln on 12/31/69 at 6:00

as a spanish speaking person, I agree english should be the official language and everybody should learn to speak english, I was born in texas and so were my parents who spoke spanish and english and I don`t ever remember my parents insisting or demanding that everything be written on spanish as a matter of fact they insisted that we learn english, what I see from todays immigrants is that they don`t want to really lose there language and expect the u.s.a. government to keep it alive, personelly I don`t care what a person speaks or how many languages they learn as long as english is the language that all american speak.Here in st. paul mn. in the public school system there is dozens of dialects , languages spoken imagine if everybody had to spek all this languages, imagine the cost involved as all this people demand that everything be written in there language