Mary Bufwack, Ph.D., CEO of United Neighborhood Health Services, wrote in the Tennessean that the cost of providing interpreters is relatively low, but withholding them can be expensive:
Language barriers have resulted in the wrong diagnosis, the wrong medications, unnecessary hospitalizations and in one emergency case, permanent disability.
But the danger of a lack of language services does not only result in poor health care and harm to the individual unable to speak English. Entire communities can be put at risk.
By purchasing language services in bulk, all providers, no matter how large or small the volume, have access to high quality services at affordable rates. All native languages can be served, not just those that are common.
Language services are essential for an effective and high quality public health and health-care delivery system. In Nashville we need language policies that support the continued development of these services.
Conservative Vanderbilt journalist and former editor of the Vanderbilt Hustler Mike Warren writes on Vandy Right that he would otherwise be sympathetic to the idea of English-oriented legislation, but Nashville’s version is too shoddy:
The verdict? I hate to say no to an initiative I morally agree with, but the shoddiness of the language (no pun intended) in the actual referendum means the folks in support should go back to drawing board.
The governing body of the Second Presbyterian Church in Nashville has voted to oppose English Only. From the Church’s statement published on Faith Leaders for All of Us:
The “English only” requirement does not acknowledge the linguistic diversity that has always characterized the U.S. (the result of many factors, including voluntary migration, conquest, employment policies, and compassion toward refugees) and continues today.
Furthermore it does not manifest the hospitality toward immigrants and refugees that we have every reason to expect in our public and private life.
We urge the citizens of Nashville to vote No on Amendment One.
“It is sad that these voices have had to be raised”
The Tennessean daily newspaper has taken a position against English Only. Here is an excerpt:
Many public officials and civic leaders have criticized the English-only campaign. But in the end, it is sad that these voices have had to be raised just to make the case that Nashville is a tolerant city.
Nashville should want the world to know it is a diverse, welcoming city. An English-only amendment does not send that signal. Voters should reject the proposals that appear on the ballot starting today.
Read the entire editorial here.
NewsChannel5 reports here on two aspects of Amendment #2 that would likely lead to more ballot measures: a lower threshold and provisions allowing greater frequency. Here is an excerpt:
The second charter amendment would allow someone who wants an issue on the ballot to collect signatures of just 1 percent of Davidson County registered voters. Right now, signatures from 10 percent of voters who voted in the previous election are needed and those numbers vary.
If it passes, voters could potentially have a special election once a year.
The full story is here.
Bob Fisher, president of Belmont University, was named Tennessean of the Year by the Tennessean newspaper. Here is an excerpt from the story:
Largely, thanks to his leadership in bringing the state’s first-ever presidential debate to Belmont, Fisher now has another accolade to add to the walls — or the floor, as will probably happen: the 2008 Tennessean of the Year, as determined by readers and The Tennessean’s editorial board.
Fisher is one of nine local university presidents who signed a joint statement in opposition to the English Only charter amendment.
Gregg Ramos, part of Nashville for All of Us, has been named Nashvillian of the Year by the Nashville Scene. Here is an excerpt from the cover story:
On the eve of this city-defining election, the Scene is proud to recognize Gregg Ramos as its 2008 Nashvillian of the Year.
Now here’s the surprise: That’s not why Ramos gets the honor. Not entirely, anyway. If fighting English Only were all it took to be Nashvillian of the Year, we’d quickly (and gladly) use up the city’s reserves of trophies, plaques and engraving. The coalition gathering against the amendment can be said to encompass three basic groups: those with the most, those with the least, and those in the middle. Their ranks include university presidents and college custodians; pastors of every denomination and their parishioners; the mighty Chamber of Commerce and little-funded neighborhood organizations. Not for nothing is their broad movement affiliated under the name Nashville for All of Us.