Forums / Political & Legal / Well DOH

2 years 23 weeks ago, 5:58 PM

samD

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Well DOH

Candidate barred for English deficit vows appeal

Associated Press – 1 hr 26 mins YUMA, Arizona (AP) — A city council candidate in Arizona who was barred from running because she doesn't speak English proficiently is vowing to appeal the judge's ruling.

Alejandrina Cabrera conceded in an interview with the Yuma Sun that she needs to improve her command of English. But the San Luis resident said the judge's decision that she doesn't satisfy a state law requiring elected officials to be proficient is unjust.

"He can't take away my constitutional rights, and if he takes away my rights, he takes away the rights of the community," Cabrera told The Sun's Spanish-language edition on Saturday.

Her language skills are adequate in a southwestern Arizona border city where Spanish is used as frequently as English, Cabrera said. She declined to give details of the appeal.

The case has brought national and international attention to the city after San Luis Mayor Juan Carlos Escamilla filed a court action last month asking for a determination on whether Cabrera had the English skills necessary to serve on the council.

State law requires elected officials to know English, but Cabrera's attorneys have argued the law does not define proficiency in the language.

An expert testified that in tests he administered to Cabrera, she did not demonstrate the level of proficiency needed to serve on the council. Yuma County Judge John Nelson said he also based his ruling on Cabrera's failure to respond correctly to questions posed to her.

Cabrera said, "the specialist is right that I have to continue (studying English), but I don't agree that my English is not satisfactory for (the council). I clearly have the ability to be a councilwoman here. I'm not (campaigning for) the White House.

"I know that many people know both languages, but the truth is that, whether we like or not, all the people speak Spanish. If you go the market, if you go to the post office, if you go to pay your water bill, nobody speaks to you in English," she said.

Cabrera was one of 10 candidates who had filed nominating petition signatures to run for four council seats in the March primary election. As her attorneys seek an appeal, Cabrera said she will keep campaigning for three other candidates with whom she was planning to run on a slate for the council seats.

2 years 23 weeks ago, 6:46 PM

LLE

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It may hinge on the definition of the word "know", as in "know english", if that is the phrase used in the specs for candidacy. [apology to Bill Clinton who still does not KNOW what the definition of "is" is!]

My guess is a court might find that "know" means the ability to converse verbally or read and understand written material such that normal comprehension is demonstrated. The plaintiff's argument that, in effect, english is really not necessary in that community does not invalidate the current specifications--nor does her implication of discrimination, since there are probably many other bi-lingual candidates who have no problems meeting the required ability spec. I doubt that she has a "constitutional right" NOT to meet an arguably valid and neutral job specification.

Too old to fight, Too old to run, guess that's why I carry a gun! "would someone show this asshole the way out of town".[Rabbi Avram Belinski-aka "The Frisco Kid"]
2 years 23 weeks ago, 6:53 PM

daisycutter

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Everyone speaks Spanish.
That's nice but she is supposed to represent her constituents in an English speaking world. If her skills are weak her work for her people will be weak.

"He can't take away my constitutional rights, and if he takes away my rights, he takes away the rights of the community," Cabrera told The Sun's Spanish-language edition on Saturday.

I'm at a loss as to which "rights" are being taken.
IMHO the "rights" of her constituents are at risk if she is illiterate in English.

iyaoyas
2 years 23 weeks ago, 8:33 PM

Vaquero

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Well DOH

Speaking and understanding spoken English is just a part of the issue. Documents presented to council for consideration will surely be in English and reading comprehension is certainly necessary. The spoken language aside, she most likely is not fit to represent her constituency.

The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth!
2 years 23 weeks ago, 8:41 PM

Ishootdaily

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Boggling

When I consider that in the late 90's or early 00's there was a group in Florida that went to the State Supreme Court suing to get the Official State Language changed to Spanish. This does not shock me in the least....

It isn't Mexico, Russia, Israel, Serbia, Japan, India, Spain or any other place but the USA.

Take the classes and at least meet the requirements then run for council. There was a reason that requirement was put into the books, why allow anyone to forgo it?

No sir, he fell into that bullet... Never argue with a stupid person. They'll just drag you down to their level and beat you with experience!!
2 years 23 weeks ago, 8:48 PM

samD

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ISD & all

Then why are our friggin ballots in every other language on the planet? When I left Calif, they were in Chinese, Hmong, Vietnamese, Tagolog, Spanish and I forget the rest. It is just more BS

2 years 23 weeks ago, 8:55 PM

Ishootdaily

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Because they allowed it to get that way...

I think diversity is a good thing, but damn it, I do not know why anyone would think that as an American living in America I should *have* to learn any other language that English....

If I lived in France I would damn well have to learn French, or any other place I would have to learn their language...

No sir, he fell into that bullet... Never argue with a stupid person. They'll just drag you down to their level and beat you with experience!!
2 years 23 weeks ago, 8:55 PM

Vaquero

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Ballot language

Maybe I've led a sheltered life. I aint never been presented with a ballot in any language but English. I'd likely be retained till arrival of the authorities if I ever was presented one.
TMI sam.

The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth!
2 years 23 weeks ago, 8:57 PM

Ishootdaily

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which I don't have an issue with for the most part, but with all the Serb's and Bosnians living here and the Polish immigrants growing in numbers, I can see that changing in the future.

No sir, he fell into that bullet... Never argue with a stupid person. They'll just drag you down to their level and beat you with experience!!
2 years 23 weeks ago, 1:07 PM

Saint J.M. Browning

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And she's a Democrat

hmmm. I am shocked. Personally, I don't have an issue if she speaks English as a 2nd language, and I do get the point of where is the line that defines adequate and who draws it, but don't make this a constitutional issue. Nothing in the constitution says poor speaking allows you to run. And, in fact, Arizona DOES have a official state language. And it's English. We need to make it official federally.

"I don't think Hank done it this way" - Waylon

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