Arizona woman off ballot after high court agrees her English isn't good enough
Alejandrina Cabrera answers questions about her ability to speak English in Arizona's Yuma County Superior Court.
February 8th, 2012
12:31 PM ET

Arizona woman off ballot after high court agrees her English isn't good enough

A woman trying to run for the San Luis, Arizona, City Council will not appear on the ballot after the Arizona Supreme Court upheld a ruling that her English was not good enough.

Alejandrina Cabrera has been locked in a political battle regarding her proficiency in the English language.  But her story is more than a local election dispute, with possibly widespread implications in a country that prides itself as a melting pot.

In the border town of San Luis, 87% of residents speak a language other than English in their homes, and 98.7% are of Hispanic origin, according to 2010 U.S. census data.  Most of the people there, by all accounts, speak both English and Spanish.

“I think my English is good enough to hold public office in San Luis, Arizona,” Cabrera told CNN en Español in an interview conducted in Spanish.

“I am not going to help (at the White House). I will be helping here.”

Last month, Yuma County Superior Court Judge John Nelson ruled the woman's name should be taken off the ballot after testimony from linguistics experts and Cabrera. A U.S. citizen born in Yuma, Arizona, Cabrera moved to Mexico and then returned to Yuma for the last three years of  school, graduating from Kofa High School.

Cabrera was able to tell her attorney her name and where she was born but struggled with what school she had graduated from, according to the Yuma Sun. After being asked the question three times, without being able to answer in English, the judge allowed Cabrera to leave the witness stand and issued his ruling, the paper reported. In his ruling, Nelson said he wanted to be clear he wasn't saying that Cabrera had an "intelligence" issue but felt she should be removed from the ballot because of her lack of proficiency in English.

Cabrera appealed the ruling to the Arizona Supreme Court, which upheld the lower court Tuesday. CNN has not been able to reach Cabrera, her attorneys and city officials for responses to the ruling.

“It is ordered that the trial court's judgment and orders filed January 27, 2012 are affirmed,” Supreme Court Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch said. “The City Clerk shall not include appellant's name on the March 13, 2012, City Council election ballot. A written decision of this court shall follow in due course.”

At present it's unclear what factored into the justices' decision, but Cabrera's story has caught the attention of people nationwide and sparked a debate about who is best able to represent the people of a certain community.

“When he took my right to be on the ballot, he took away the right of the people who want to vote for me,” Cabrera said after the judge's initial ruling.

As Cabrera's story attracted attention, much of the debate centered on two issues. First, some of CNN's readers said candidates for public office should be able to speak English well. But others argued that the people of San Luis could decide if Cabrera was qualified and choose whether or not to vote for her.

The dispute began when Juan Carlos Escamilla, the mayor of San Luis, said he was concerned that Cabrera might not have the proper grasp of the language for the job. Escamilla filed a lawsuit in December asking a court to determine whether Cabrera's skills qualified her under state law to run for the council seat.

Cabrera admits she isn't the most fluent in English.

Instead of the confident, strong way she speaks in Spanish, Cabrera talks a bit more slowly, and perhaps with less conviction, when she switches to English. She says she can communicate at the level she needs to in English, given where she lives. She grades her English proficiency as a 5 on a scale from 1 to 10.

“I am a very honest so I can tell you I’m not fluid in English, but I do understand it. I can read a letter. I can read a book,” Cabrera said. “Right now I have a private tutor helping me improve my English.”

In 2006, Arizona passed a law that made English the official language of the state. Nearly a century before, in 1910, Congress passed the Enabling Act, which allowed Arizona to become a state with certain requirements. Among them was one that addressed the English language.

"The ability to read, write, speak, and understand the English language sufficiently well to conduct the duties of the office without aid of an interpreter shall be a necessary qualification for all state officers and members of the state legislature," a section of the act reads.

But Cabrera's attorneys argued in court that her disqualification was unfair and may be unconstitutional, saying there is no standard for a specific level of proficiency for a City Council candidate.

“Unbelievable,” John Minore, one of Cabrera's attorneys told the Yuma Sun after the high court ruling. “This is a fine example of judicial activism. Arizona now has a English standard to be on a ballot but doesn't tell you what that standard is. It's amazing that people in government who are in power can spend taxpayer money to keep people off the ballot. This is Hispanics keeping Hispanics off the ballot, compliments of the San Luis City Council.”

The court battle is part of a growing discussion about English in a country where people come from a variety of backgrounds. During a recent presidential debate, GOP candidates said that English should be the official U.S. language and should be the only one taught in school.

Bob Vandevoort of the advocacy group ProEnglish said that the country would be more cohesive if English were made the standard language in government.

"We are concerned as far as government goes; we don't want to see us become a multilanguage nation. We want to see a nation that has one language as far as government is concerned," he said, adding that what people speak at home is a different issue.

Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, said there should be more opportunities to ensure everyone has the resources to learn English. He said there are long lines to get into classes in several cities, with so many people trying to learn English.

But Vargas argues a candidate doesn't necessarily need to have full English proficiency to run for office.

"I think it should be up to the voters to decide what kind of representative they want," he said. "I don’t think it’s necessarily fair to not be able, to not allow someone to present themselves to the voters as a candidate because of their language abilities."

It's unclear what Cabrera's next move may be, but there may still be one way for her to run for the San Luis City Council: as a write-in candidate.

Nevertheless, Cabrera's battle will surely advance the debate about language in America and politics.

Let us know what you think about the issue in the comments below. Do you think the right decision was made?

soundoff (2,004 Responses)
  1. Songlian Chen

    Please delete the post above. It's most likely a troll post

    February 8, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Al Sanchez

      WHAT? EXPLAIN?

      February 8, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bubba™

      She passed English class in high school???? lol ;-(

      February 8, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • RanXerox

      you never hear of people flunking out of school anymore.....i teachers who teach in the ghetto and as they tell me they just pass everyone....to get them through school. you wonder how someone who talks with the trade mark much mouth how they managed to graduate

      February 8, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike B

      The same could be said about you, considering your poor grammar and punctuation.

      February 8, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • John 3:16

      What a stupid remark. As if all people from "ghetto" schools were just passed on through school. The university where I attend is full of rich white kids who have horrible writing skills, so I have a funny feeling that English grammar needs to be addressed everywhere. Furthermore, if one of those darn kids say "like, like, like" while trying to explain their point one more time...

      February 8, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jed Clampett

      It's not just in the ghetto that they pass students on GP. it's the same thing in Beverly Hills most of those kid drop out of school before the 12th grade. I lot of rich white suburban kids who graduate at the top of their class fail their first year of college because they don't know anything, so they are being passed for the same reason.

      February 8, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • youarekiddingme

      Dear RanXEROX – your post makes absolutely no sense. You need to first master the language before you post on this board.

      February 8, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • riverhorus

      Not so surprising. We have thousands of supposed high school graduates in this country who can neither speak nor write English correctly. Hell, most of our politicians, celebrities, journalists, etc. cannot.

      February 8, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • marycontrary

      And those high school graduates are the college graduates that paid (see Craiglist) and cheated their way through college. Dumb as door knobs but they got their degrees.

      February 8, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • AL

      Was thinking the same thing...how did that happen?!?!

      February 8, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • one-time86

      I passed english in high school...our eduacation system cant be trusted

      February 8, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Justin

      It seems, like she said, that she can read and write it fairly well. English 101 isn't the problem. It's the Speech 101 class she probably should have taken as an extra summer school class.

      February 8, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tent

      No, they did not have any English classes, it is basically mexico.

      February 8, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carmellia

      Chen - whatever your native language is, it is apparently not English if my correction of this "candidate's" poor verbal an written English bothered you. You must be the troll on this thread.

      February 8, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jake

      Chen is definitely a trolling...his favorite post: Please delete the post above. It's most likely a troll post

      February 8, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Engrish Major

      Prease derete thee rabove posht! Obvriousry ah Trorrl!

      February 8, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Maria

      lol lol ha ha ha that is a RIOT!

      February 8, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Redjerry

      hahahahahaha

      February 9, 2012 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Phearis

      Uhhhh, exactly how is my post "Trolling"?

      February 8, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • joe

      Your being baited, by a troll.

      February 9, 2012 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Dan G.

      Troll is a term used by Liberals when they can make a real argument.

      February 9, 2012 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
    • NoRa

      Really? I think I excercised my right to free speech and expressed an opinion! The fact that you don;t like it does not mean you get to have it removed! Sounds liek someone needs to go read up on their and everyone elses rights! 🙂

      February 8, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Twoolf

      Why delete it? It makes perfect sense.

      February 8, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • bfd007

      And what exactly is a troll ? Someone who has seen the country over run and our rights stomped on, or maybe the bleeding hart people that think the American Government is still a good thing? or someone who speaks their mind and you don't like it.

      February 8, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ken Andrews

      Song: They do not erase things just because you don't understand them.

      February 8, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Slim_Sammy

      Except that it's not.

      February 8, 2012 at 10:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • douglas

      Troll huh? I think you know nothing of the United States. The United States is not great because it's made up of different cultures. It's great because different cultures come here and WORK TOGETHER to better the US, their home. Part of working together is communication...not ignoring your neighbors.

      Sorry, my great-great-great grandfather came over here and learned English. If he can do it, so can everyone else. He did this because it was the respectful thing to do...to get along with those you've moved in with.

      If you want Mexico, go to Mexico. If you want to be an American, be an American. If you just want to get your pre-war Mexican land back, at least have the courage to admit it.

      February 8, 2012 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • soapbox

      "Came here to work together to better the US?" Wow, that was a very nostalgic kind of world that our ancestors lived in! <–This would be sarcasm if you need it spelled out. People came here for their own personal reasons: freedom to practice their religion, a chance for prosperity, to escape with their life's,etc. I don't think the world came together and said "Let try to do this better in another place, but only if we have one language we can assimilate to" as your statement says. And no, your great-great-great grandfather didn't learn English, his son did.

      February 8, 2012 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      Well stated, Douglas.

      February 9, 2012 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Alan

      Mine??

      February 9, 2012 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      When in Rome, do like the Romans do. If I moved to Germany to live there and become a participating member of their society, I would learn to speak German. Likewise if someone moves to the US, they need to learn to speak English.

      Further, two languages can be divisive. Think I am being extreme? Review the history of Canada, and how a huge portion of French speaking Canada came VERY close to succeeding from the rest of Canada. This took place in the last decade.

      There can be only one primary language!!!

      February 9, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • aebe

      You're mighty quick on the draw.Me,I'm just a stove up vet.So be nice.

      February 9, 2012 at 1:18 am | Report abuse |
    • jim

      Chen-lets delete you

      February 9, 2012 at 2:13 am | Report abuse |
    • maglor

      Why do you consider my post to be troll post? If we accept that minimum English proficiency must be demonstrated, the best way to do so that would be free from political meddling would be using some standardized test that great number of people takes. We can't trust an individual or two to give pass/fail mark on this as it is too easy to corrupt just one person. If idea of using some sort of standardized testing is unacceptable, then only objective recourse we have is to let the voters decide if someone's English skill is good enough to lead them.

      February 9, 2012 at 6:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Chenalingdong

      Your post is the troll post. God bless America.

      February 9, 2012 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      Please delete this post. It is MOST DEFINITELY posted by a TROLL

      February 9, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • stateschool

      You need to click on the "reply" button in order to respond to a specific post. Your comment is not posted below the one you think is a troll post (a deliberately inflammatory, uselessly nasty post).

      February 9, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  2. TORI ©

    Happy that the Az Supreme Court made the right decision in this case. Sure St. Luis is a border town but it is in the US. This woman care barely read English let alone speak it.

    February 8, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • KPB

      Really? How did you come to that conclusion? What you saw on a 30 second tape? Would you like to be judged that way? Think not. This woman graduated from a US High School. If there any rocks/stones to be thrown it's at the educators. Too often folks are passed on through the education system. It's a well known fact. If I was her lawyer, I be harping on that fact. What was brought up in the tape was that she opposed the Mayor twice and tried to have him removed. Pay back? 98% of the city speaks Spanish, hell the Mayor speaks spanish.....and city council????? She is not running for Mayor, but at this point I think she should....lol It's about common sense, which it seems some seem not to grasp.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      The Supreme Court agrees with TORI ©< so arrently her opinion isn't off base.
      Why are you ranting against tis most obvious of facts?

      February 8, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • LetsGetReal

      @KPB: To graduate in the US and not be able to speak and read/write English well is a disgrace. Still the court made the right decision.

      February 8, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Atticus

      Blame it on the educators? How about blame it on the very person who is supposed to be learning. Everyone wants to blame someone for something – how about she learns English and runs for government.

      On the other hand – they could let the people decide for themselves with their votes. Those are the very people she is representing – let them decide.

      February 8, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike

      KPB–This woman was born in the US, but moved to Mexico and grew up there. She only came back to the US at the start of high school. Given that Yuma is a border town, I'm willing to bet that many of the teachers taught classess in spanish.

      February 8, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Allen J. Duffis

      You have hit the nail on the proverbial head! It’s amazing how many here appear to have missed this important point.
      If I and a few of my native born American neighbors move to her town, in order to exercise our rights as citizens – must we learn Spanish? Hell no!

      By the way, my father was born in Colombia South America and came to this country in 1927. He learned to speak the language because – he knew he had to. Why should she be able to follow his track as with all former immigrants – in her native language? This is very destructive Extreme Liberal – Minded foolishness.

      Allen J. Duffis – Editor – The Conservative Independent – http://www.conserveind.com

      February 8, 2012 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse |
  3. DoNotWorry

    Paying the piper for Congress and the President's refusal to shut down the borders to illegal immigration for 200 years.

    February 8, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Fred

    Does this mean that if your ability to speak is handicapped (throat cancer, deafness, etc.) you are not allowed to hold public office either? If you can't speak at all, does that mean we should ban the blind and deaf from holding office as well? In my book, she is a US citizen. That's all that matters. If the public want to elect someone who can't speak English, then that is their right, their business, or problem, etc...

    February 8, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • sam

      Have you been huffing gas all morning? Thats a totally different scenario. If you loose your ability to speak for some reason you can still understand the spoken language, therfore you can use other means to communicate. This woman was asked a simple question multiple times and was unable to interpret it.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      WRONG

      February 8, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • BucksFan

      BRILLIANT reply, Sam!

      February 8, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • MadCityBabe

      She couldnt even answer what school she graduated from.................what's up with that – it's a simple question...............and she couldnt answer it...did she even graduate?................OFF THE BALLOT!

      February 8, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • RocketJL

      Your argument has merit Fred. However, when she is elected to the council, how well will she she represent the English speaking voters. Seems most laws are in English and many debates will be in English. Sounds as if she has no intention of improving her grasp of the English language. What's wrong with going to school to learn English and then get back on the ballot??? Press one for English.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • JBpa

      It is not a matter of "being able to speak" It is a matter of "being able to understand". She does not understand English well enough to respond to a question. I see that as a problem. This is the "United States" not the "United Nations". We cannot afford to start using interpreters in our political process. Politicians seem to have enough problems communicating as it is.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jake

      And if you put a hearing impaired person on the stand who could not read lips they could not understand the same question or answer it without the assistance of a person providing sign language...or an "interpreter", same with someone who cant speaks...oops they cant answer so then if you apply the same rule to all then people with speech and hearing impairments cant hold office either because it would not be fair to allow them to use an interpreter like this American citizen needed....does that mean they are stupid or uneducated...it don't thinks so....it is a double edged sword...fair is fair..but in the case of Arizona fair has it's own definition when it comes to Latinos/Hispanics....

      February 8, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      There will always be people who take a scenario to the extreme "what if" level.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • medschoolkid

      @Jake you fail to see the basic difference between a handicap and this woman's case. If you are handicapped for whatever reason, it is not your fault and something that you cannot change. She can get some good english schooling and come back in a few years and try again. Your argument is almost like saying since some people can't walk and need wheelchairs then you shouldn't have to walk if you don't want to and should get pushed around.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • JBpa

      Jake. . The difference is that an ASL to a deaf person is communicating word for word what is being said. They are not translating from one language to another. Not all words translate the same from one language to another.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rachel

      Sam, I think you've been huffing gas this morning...did you read the article? She can READ, and WRITE english, she just cannot communicate it fluidly through SPEECH. God, take another hit!

      February 8, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • JB

      Last I knew the blind could speak.

      February 8, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jim

    It's sad that someone has to display proficiency in English to run for office, since a Spanish-speaking official does not detract from the fact that the official proceedings will still be in English. It's not much different from allowing a deaf council member to have an ASL interpreter – it does not mean that all the records of the city will cease to be in English. But it is also telling that the CNN interview had to be conducted in Spanish.

    February 8, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • jjb1313

      so now once elected the people also have to pay for an interperter... so if a dog wants to run then we need to get a good trainer so they will understand the proceedings? gimme a break

      February 8, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Tom

    Please explain how she graduated from a high school without speaking English? Guess this is part of the non-violent take back .....

    February 8, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Idk

    I refuse to be mexicanized!

    February 8, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jake

      Nothing more than an ignorant response from a clueless ignorant person.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • scott h

      Jake, there was nothing ignorant about that response. Please enlighten us.

      February 8, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  8. DoNotWorry

    For all of those crying about how bad this is... all laws and regulations are in English. Inability to speak, read, and write English means the person cannot effectively represent his or her voters, whether they speak English or not. I'm sure they feel comfortable with her lack of language skills, but they are poorly represented by someone who cannot speak, read, or write the language.

    February 8, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • KPB

      And your reply to HOW DID SHE graduate from High school in the US? Love to hear your excuse/defense for the school system.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bassplaynfoo

      Exactly – that is the crux of the situation. It's not about democracy or even speaking English. It's the ability to perform and interface with a system that uses a language that she is not proficient in. It's one thing to speak English but quite another to understand and more importantly make yourself be understood and have your ideas and thought being communicated coherently with a minimum of work for the listener. The whole process takes more time when one party is deficient.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Really?

    What ever happened to democracy? Why not let her on the ballot and let the voters decide if she is qualified or not?

    February 8, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • jjb1313

      by that logic we could put Castro or Kim Jong Un on the ballot and if they win they win... right?

      February 8, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bassplaynfoo

      What happened to Democracy? Let try SuperPACs to start, big money and corporations, lobbyists, the religious right wing......

      I coud go on. It's time for change. Making sure that people can communicate properly with each other is pretty basic or is another tail wagging the dog. Americans should all learn Spanish and when the Chinese population explodes over the next century we should all learn Chinese? NOT!! Common sense, really.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • RocketJL

      Not real clear on how you want this done. Candidates should campaign for office. What would she tell folks and in what language? If a person does not want to speak the language of their country, I guess that is her right. However, to say that it is OK for this kind of person to hold public office is something that needs a lot of thought. When you start here, I guess the WH is next. Shucks, how would that be??

      February 8, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • KPB

      Simple, they know she will win...ha ha Dirty politics. Now that's real American :o))

      February 8, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • E

      The funny thing is thinking that the US is a democracy.

      We are not. Thank god.

      Otherwise, the tyranny of the majority / stupidity would have caused the self-destruction of this country long ago.

      Saying "let the vote decide" is a ridiculous slide toward the above.

      We are a democratic republic, meaning that elected officials make decisions on our behalf during their term. Whether we like it or not. Keep that in mind.

      February 8, 2012 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
  10. crabman

    she went to H S and has a hard time speaking english -– what dose that say about the high school-–just wondering

    February 8, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • KPB

      Exactly, the real person that should be in that court is the school department. Fire the lot.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Bassplaynfoo

    There must be one official language for government, unless there is some sort of historic precedent like Canada with the English conquering a large portion of French speaking people.
    An official that would be making far reaching decisions needs not only to speak it but to understand it and the texts and communications that will come her way in the performance of her duties. It's not a I can get by kind of thing. I can play guitar but I don't think I'll be touring with The Stones or Joe Satriani any time soon. I think Cabera shows some real naivete toward the profession she wants to be part of. There are plenty of opportunities for civic leadership beyond running for council and that might be where she needs to start along with some serious study of English.

    February 8, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  12. charlie

    Get of the boat, and learn to swim, before even consider get back in the boat again, that will be good just only for you,but for your own majority, that the order.

    February 8, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  13. peace

    It's hard to understand even when she is speaking english, so how gonna held a public office. I think the judge did a good job to disqualify her. I don"t think this is dirscremination. born the usa does not mean you know english well. if you went back your ancestries land mostly you will speak their language.looooooooool

    February 8, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • frmrma

      Judging from the lack of English skills in your post, it is clear that you would not be allowed on the ballot either.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  14. kmac

    Additionally let me add, ENGLISH is not the offical language of Arz. nor the United States. If it becomes so, Government will have to produce a dictionary and then i assume a Legislature will have endless debates on if the work is English, Spainish, Cagen, French, German, Latin. ect.

    February 8, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  15. MKBL

    I'm a naturalized US citizen, and sometimes I dream of becoming an elected official to advance my idea of managing public policy. However, unless I can assure myself that I can argue with other parties in English in an effective and efficient way, I will not run for such position. I don't mean that I should command perfect grammar and accent, which is close to impossible to achieve as I came to the US in my late 20s, but at least the possibility of misunderstanding and delayed communication should be minimized. OK, it's just a city council whose members are most likely fluent in Spanish. But, you are not living in Mexico, but in US, where all laws and official communications are written, spoken, and heard in English. Your vote in the council is not just limited in the small city, but will be intertwined with the county, state, and federal level of public policies. All US citizens deserve to expect an elected official can communicate with the majority of them, which can be possible only in English.

    February 8, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • KPB

      The real blame lies with the High School that passed her on. She graduated from a American High School, which is conducted in English (we hope). Personally I hope that she persues it even if she does not win (don't think she will), but at least the High Scool and those associated with will have lots to answer about.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bassplaynfoo

      Well said MKBL. Exactly – I have to disagree with KPB though. The person to blame is herself. Instead of pointing outward at her high school she may try to take some personal responsibility for her plight. It's called personal empowerment – it been around for quite some time now and shows what the folks in San Luis need – leadership not another victim who is crying foul..Some lessons in life are worth learning but you never see them if you don't have the guts to look in the mirror.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
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