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ON THIS PAGE:
08-23-2008:  Gorena's overview of the 08-18-2008 Council meeting discussion of Lewisville translating city documents.

09-16-2008:  Watch the Video portion of the Council meeting on this topic.

10-02-2008 - The Agenda for 10-06-2008 is available

10-03-2008 - WFAA Channel 8 runs a news story on the subject.

10-04-2008 - In the News about the 10-06-2008 council meeting

10-05-2008 - Channel 4 runs the story in three versions - See the Videos.

10-06-2008 - The Council is not for declaring that English is the Official Language.

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08-23-2008: Lewisville Translating Documents Discussion or should it be making English the Official Language Discussion?

      There were three of us that showed up to the City Council meeting on 08-18-2008 to oppose translating into other languages. Two of us spoke and one filled out a card.

     First read the Newspaper Article online or the PDF version

     OK, Let me start from the beginning.  Councilman Lathan Watts brought this topic up to the City Council to discuss making a policy about what gets translated to other languages.  The points that he related were very modest and basically limited to the cost of translating and the fact that it would open the door to having to translate more documentation in other languages.  Watts did not really propose that English be the Official language for the City of Lewisville.  He stopped short of making that statement.  However, I suggested that Lewisville make English the Official Language when I spoke.

     According to the list of translated documents offered by the City of Lewisville, the City currently voluntarily offers 11 translated documents and are required to offer another 14 translated documents.

  • Here were my talking points when I spoke that night:
    • I stated that I am an American of Hispanic heritage (Latino).  I am bilingual.  To speak more than one language is a blessing on a personal level but it divides us as a community and a nation if everyone cannot speak the same language.
      • [I wish I thought of it at the time but the story of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11 shows the consequences of people that speak different languages.  It divided them and split them.  This was a punishment from God to make them spread out over the world which they were not doing.]
    • I asked the Council to make a statement that English is the Official language of Lewisville.
    • I asked the Lewisville City Council to not translate anything except those documents required by law.  I do not like this law but it is the law and therefore do it.
    • If we continue to have Multi-languages without a common language, then it contributes to the division of the community. 
    • It does not encourage people to learn English thus those who do not learn English may never become integrated into our society.

     The other speaker was Susan Davis-Duarte who spoke of coming to the USA and then sponsoring her own children to immigrate to this Country.  She talked about the importance of speaking English.  She did speak a little about illegal aliens and that translating makes it easier for them.  [Speaking to her later, we both stated that we are concerned that non-English speaking people will never elevate in society.  Nor could they become citizens without learning English - a requirement for immigrants to become a citizen.]

     During the Council discussion, FIVE of the Six members of the Council did not really agree with Lathan Watt's proposal of limiting the translation of documents.  In fact, councilman Rudy Durham basically called us racists for wanting to stop translating into other languages.  This fired up Watts (who was very civil and controlled his anger).  I was sitting next to Duarte and asked, "Did he call us racists?"  and she replied, "Yes, but against what race?"  Neither one of us mentioned race except our own heritage and her legal immigration status.

  • I broke normal protocol and interrupted to ask if I could address this remark from Durham.  Here were my points:
    • I stated that I mentioned my race to try and stop people using the racist comment. [I wanted to say that I am a lighter skinned American-Hispanic and I guess I was called racist because I was not dark enough. I am just guessing here because I do not know how else to take it.]
    • It does not matter what a person looks like and only speaks one language.  I mention my heritage because it is a perception that it is easier for me to get the point across if I mention I am not exactly Anglo.  Again, it does not matter what race you are - everyone should speak up.
    • It is not racist to want English as the Official language.
    • I can see the point of having staff that speaks other languages which is useful in the Fire and Police departments when dealing with the public.  [But doesn't translating the information bring up some personal liabilities to the staff?  The Laws in this Country are in English aren't they?]
       

TAKE ACTION:

     What we need is a room full of Lewisville Citizens at the City Council meetings that want to make English the Official language in Lewisville.  If you do not live in Lewisville, show up anyway and be another "banana in the bunch".  Not as a crazy person but at least let them know that this makes you go bananas - attend, speak or fill out a card.

     We need Lewisville Citizens to show up at every meeting and make statements or fill out cards to make English the Official Language.  Continue coming to every meeting until they vote on it.  Tell them not to table the issue which they may do if they do not want to discuss it.  If they table it, they will address it when the issue dies down.

     The City Council meetings are on the 1st and 3rd Mondays of the Month (moved where there is a holiday - See the City of Lewisville Calendar for scheduled meetings.)  The newspaper article stated that they would discuss this in the 1st October meeting (10-6-2008) but it was mentioned to me that they will address this in the September 15 meeting also.  Again, Lewisville Citizens need to come to every meeting until a decision is made to make English the Official language.  If you don't show up then I am just the lone banana.

 

That's the way I see it.

John Gorena.


09-16-2008 - Watch the Video online

I have gotten many requests on how to watch the video from the City on the discussion for this Lewisville translating issue. Here it is :
    First, I want to apologize about not being the best speaker. The two of us that spoke learned of this issue being on the agenda about an hour before we spoke. Not much time to prepare. I think we did OK.


10-02-2008 - The Agenda for 10-06-2008 is available.  It appears that the meeting is going to be a long one.  They put the most controversial issues on the end.  I am not trying to discourage citizens from attending.  By all means, All of you should be there and I encourage you to also attend as many council meetings as you can.

  • Item 15. Tabled Item: Discussion of Policy Related to Translations of City Publications and Communications (Requested by Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Watts).
  • Item 16. Consideration of a Resolution Establishing English as the Official Language of the City of Lewisville (Requested by Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Watts).

10-03-2008 - WFAA Channel 8 runs a news story on the subject.  You can watch the Video until they take it offline.  The Text/transcript is online or our PDF version.

  • The person they interviewed is offended by the desire to make English the Official Language.  But I wonder, was he offended when El Cenizo, Texas (you-tube video here) made Spanish their official language?

10-04-2008 - In the News about the 10-06-2008 council meeting where this topic will be discussed.


10-05-2008 - Channel 4 runs the story in three versions - See the Videos.

  • Lewisville, TX Considers English as Official Language Ver 1. Aired on 10-05-2008, at 5:00 PM broadcast. See Version 1.  This is the shortest.
  • Lewisville, TX Considers English as Official Language Ver 2. Aired on 10-05-2008, at 5:30 PM broadcast. See Version 2.  A little longer and more information.
  • Lewisville, TX Considers English as Official Language Ver 3. Aired on 10-05-2008, at 9:00 PM broadcast.  See Version 3.  Revamped and has other video.

10-06-2008 - The Council is not for declaring that English is the Official Language.
     Those that oppose Lewisville declaring English as the Official Language are using the term "English Only" and this is not what this is all about.

  • Quick Overview:  Thank you for those of you that attended. It was a packed room. The other side of the issue out numbered us physically but there were more people who filled out cards and spoke in favor of this declaration.  I am very disappointed that we did not have more supporters. Many of the people that told me that they would be there did not show up.  The other side was filled with a bunch of hateful mean people that said they opposed that English be the official language. They did a lot of name calling and comparing to racist groups. Our side did not do name calling although I stated that the name calling was racist in itself.  LULAC was there and I suspect that they brought a few people too.  The funny thing to me was that the LULAC representative stated they care about all races - that was a lie of course.  Their organization is only about Latinos hence the name.
         Watching the news casts that we taped did not reveal that we wanted to declare English as our Official Language.  Most changed it to English Only.  I want to also clarify what the news casts are saying.  Most news stories say that the Council voted against making English our Official language. Technically, what the council really did was vote that they were not going to vote on it. Maybe that means the same thing – it does to me.  Only Lathan Watts wanted to have an official vote.
  • On Item 15 about translating documents. They voted to leave that the same. They will continue translating what they feel is necessary to whatever language they feel is necessary. They presented that the City on spends about $400 a year on the printing of these documents per year. It is not the point but they made it seem negligible.  I would have thought it was a lot more considering that they pay people to translate, etc...  Again, not really the point.
  • Item 16. Making English the Official language. This was more of a symbolic gesture to say that we recognize English as the Official Language and that we will do business in English. The Exceptions would have allowed them to still translate what they wanted to translate. They brought in the current mayor of Oak Point, Texas who was against ever having the resolution saying that it divided and caused problems for their City. Not from what I hear.  I am not sure of this but I understand that he was not the Mayor at the time of the resolution in Oak Point - can anyone verify???
    • Lathan Watts gave a fantastic speech (YouTube Video). {If you have a slow internet connection, then I recommend that you pause the video and let some of it download before listening.}
    • The other councilmen did not like the idea of this resolution.
    • Lathan Watts wanted them to vote for it or not but they would not second the motion. Another Council member made a motion to not vote on it and Lathan Watts was the only one with the courage to vote against not voting on it.  He wanted everyone to take a stand on this issue: For or Against.

     My thoughts are that we really should have been there in large numbers and we were not.  In either case, Two of these Council members are up for election every year.  Make your vote count.
     It would have been nice to have a City Council that recognizes the importance of promoting America’s values and patriotism. However, Lathan Watt’s is the only one that feels the way that I do.

 

Thanks the way I see it,

John Gorena


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