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A step backward for non-English speakers

Original post made by R.S., Downtown North, on Sep 9, 2006

I'm dismayed to read that the enviromentalists pushing a land-use measure on the November ballot, led by councilman Peter Drekmeier, didn't think it was important to print election materials in Spanish as required by law. A judge let him off the hook and let the ballot measure stand. Apparently the ends justifies the means. But since the Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965, we, as a nation, have come a long way toward enfranchising voters of different races, ethnicities and those who speak different languages. Every citizen has a right to vote and a right to be informed on the issues regardless of the language they speak. Short-cuts like the one Drekmeier used are a step backward in the fight for equality. I'm going to vote "no" on Measure A because I think Drekmeier ought to go back and do things correctly. If he does, I'll vote "yes" on a future ballot. Thank you.

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Comments (5)

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Posted by Rob
a resident of Ventura
on Sep 9, 2006 at 9:02 pm

Three cheers for Drekmeier. Only citizens can vote and you need to know English to be a citizen. Let's seal the borders!

Like this comment
Posted by A.P
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 11, 2006 at 1:10 am

The advocates for Measure A were gathering signatures to qualify for the ballot. The singatures did not have to be from a certain race- just registered to vote. Election materials are multi-lingual and prepared by the County so R.S. should not confuse qualifying for the ballot versus the actual ballot and accompanying materials. It is called democracy. Put it on the ballot and let people vote.

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Posted by Carrie
a resident of Mountain View
on Sep 14, 2006 at 12:50 pm

I'd be interested in knowing whether Drekmeier & Company did any kind of outreach on this ballot measure in the Latino community? It would seem that he gathered signatures only in lilly white areas like Palo Alto. One would hope that he and his team believe (and practice) diversity.

Like this comment
Posted by Pauline Navarro
a resident of Juana Briones School
on Sep 15, 2006 at 2:30 pm

Lily White Palo Alto? Hmmm...I am fairly certain that 40% of our school kids, at least in our school, are ELL. ( English Language Learners). As well, I believe that at our school, the second language is Korean. I am pretty sure Palo Alto is turning ....well, whatever color would be a mix of everyone..Diversity is one of the things I love about this area.

Like this comment
Posted by CD
a resident of Menlo Park
on Sep 16, 2006 at 2:23 am

I can't vote on Measure A because I live in Menlo Park, but I have a suspicion why the backers of this ballot measure might have avoided Asians, Latins, Pacific Islanders and other minority groups. Newer arrivals to this area probably find the lack of affordable housing to be outrageous and have figured out that regulations promoting open space, such as Measure A, have the unintended consequence of pushing up land prices, which means higher rents. Open space is much more popular among the Haves than the Have-Nots.

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