Category Archives: English Only

I Don’t Think Human Rights Means What They Think It Means

I hate to tromp all over my last post but this just crossed my desk and I’m just … dumfounded:

A former Metro councilman known for spearheading Nashville’s failed English-only referendum is set to serve on the board of the Tennessee Human Rights Commission after receiving an appointment from Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey.

Eric Crafton, long ridiculed by Democrats for his unsuccessful push in 2009 to make English the official language of Metro government, will begin his service on the nine-member volunteer board Friday after getting the nod from Ramsey last month.

I’m sure Sheila Butt was unavailable.

Here’s a medley of Eric Crafton’s hits.


Filed under English Only, Eric Crafton, Nashville, Tennessee

Eric Crafton: Liar


In comments, nm correctly points out that Crafton is technically being weaselly, though not necessarily lying.

I feel so bad now.

No, not really.

It appears when I called Eric Crafton a “serial embellisher” I was being too kind.

Because Eric Crafton is a liar. He lied to the media and he lied to the people of Nashville. On January 19 he said this:

Crafton said the majority of the donors supporting his side of the campaign are private individuals. He said he has only raised about $50,000 to $60,000.

Today we learn this:

Nashville English First raised $89,722.76 for its campaign, according to campaign financial disclosures released today.

Of that, ProEnglish of Arlington, Va., contributed $82,500. A second donor, Nashville businessman Lee Beaman, gave $6,000, meaning two donors funded more than 98 percent of Nashville English First’s campaign.

So, not the majority of donors after all. Not even close. And not $50-$60,000.

Eric Crafton, you flat-out lied. Did you think we wouldn’t find out? Did you think we wouldn’t care? Did you not care?

What else have you lied about, Councilman Crafton?

Jon Crisp is also, quite possibly, a liar. In July he said this:

Roughly 46,000 postcards have been sent altogether now at a cost of around $18,000, according to Crisp. Most of that, Crisp says, has come from Crafton himself, who gave around $5,000 of his own money to his campaign.

However, Crafton’s name does not appear on any of the financial disclosure forms. I’m giving Crisp a pass, because it’s quite possible Crafton lied to him, too.

The people of Nashville and the entire Metro Council is now put on notice: Eric Crafton is an established liar. Nothing he says can be trusted.

Comments Off on Eric Crafton: Liar

Filed under English Only, Eric Crafton, Nashville

Yet Another Reason To Hate Lee Beaman

I’ve been boycotting Nashville auto magnate Lee Beaman for years, ever since I learned he gave a few thousand dollars to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. Now every time I see a Toyota Prius with that little “Beaman” emblem I cringe.

I just can’t imagine giving one penny to a man who so freely opens his ample wallet to such heinous wingnut causes as the Presidential Coalition LLC (organized to Swift Boat Hillary Clinton), the Swift Boat Veterans smearmongers, and now, surprise surprise, passing English Only:

Nashville English First raised $89,722.76 for its campaign, according to campaign financial disclosures released today.

Of that, ProEnglish of Arlington, Va., contributed $82,500. A second donor, Nashville businessman Lee Beaman, gave $6,000, meaning two donors funded more than 98 percent of Nashville English First’s campaign.

Way to go Lee Beaman! Now you’ve joined forces with a group identified as a hate group.

By the way, this certainly reaffirms my belief that English Only was supported by the local Republican Party merely as a way to generate a mailing list of registered wingnut voters in Davidson County and get an outside group to pay for it.

You know, I’ve been a loyal Toyota customer for about 20 years, but I bought my last car from Alexander in Franklin. I have no idea what that guy’s politics is down there, frankly I don’t care. But I do know he isn’t financing divisive political battles on the local and national stage.

Lee Beaman: bad for Nashville.

1 Comment

Filed under English Only, Lee Beaman, Nashville

>English Only Fails

>Not only fails, but fails big: 57% to 43%, according to the local news.

Nashville, forgive me. I doubted you. I said you’d pass this lame ordinance. You surprised me yet again. I humbly apologize.

Eric Crafton, did you get the message? Drop this ridiculous campaign now. We don’t want it.

The people have spoken. Satisfied?

Comments Off on >English Only Fails

Filed under English Only, Eric Crafton

>And Now A Word From Our Redneck Faction

>Shorter Linda Wheeler:

All immigrants are illegal, and all illegals are lazy slobs. All except for that nice lawyer feller, who knows better than to speak Mexican.


Linda Wheeler is this city’s worst nightmare. I pray Nashville appeals to the better angels of its nature.

Comments Off on >And Now A Word From Our Redneck Faction

Filed under English Only

>Miami Says: Just Vote No

> Nathan Moore , one of the many conservatives opposed to Eric Crafton’s English Only bill, posted this piece of advice from Miami yesterday:

Obviously, the good folks in Nashville didn’t ask for our opinion. We’d be remiss, however, not to say that we’ve been there and done that — and we didn’t like it. Dade County, as it was then known, enacted an English-only ordinance in 1980. It quickly became a source of endless legal headaches, heated community debate, political embarrassment and bureaucratic wrangling. Finally, it was repealed in 1993, to near-universal relief.

It is fitting that Miami should serve as a testing-ground because this is one of the most diverse communities in the country, often the first to experience the changes that eventually reach other places. In 1980, the human tide of Mariel rattled Miami and Dade County, undermining two decades of progress in absorbing smaller waves of Cuban migration. The English-only law was a reaction to the shock of Mariel.

This bears a little examination. Reactionary legislation such as this is always a response to some crisis, and the Mariel boatlift was indeed that. That was when Fidel Castro basically gave Cubans a one-time ticket to America for anyone who so desired, including prisoners and mental health patients. Wiki says 125,000 Cubans arrived in Miami over a six month period.

That kind of concentrated immigrant wave is bound to overwhelm the city economy, city services and create resentment. Human nature being what it is, it’s no surprise that the response in Miami was to circle the wagons and pass laws like English Only.

But that’s not Nashville. What “crisis” are we responding to? Yes, immigration has increased here, as it has across much of the Southeast. But certainly not of the level of a massive Mariel wave.

The new immigrants in Nashville, especially those of Hispanic origins, have provided cheap labor for our once-booming housing market. It seems to me that Nashville has absorbed these new arrivals fairly well. I’m not seeing the crisis here. The only reason anyone would think Nashville needs English Only is out of pure meanness.

Continuing on with Miami’s example:

What happened next made matters worse. There were lawsuits and legal challenges from the federal government over issues such as bilingual ballots. Civil libertarians argued that linguistic restrictions violated the equal-protection clause of the Constitution’s 14th Amendment.

Mass-transit schedules were printed only in English. Doctors at the public hospital were forbidden to give Haitian mothers a brochure in Creole about caring for their infants. Bilingual signs at the zoo were permitted to remain, but when a new section opened up, the signs had to be English-only (until private funding was found).

That’s the kind of nonsense that English-only laws engender. Nashville is a welcoming and inclusive community. Why trade that renown for a reputation as a center of xenophobia? The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, whose members foresee the damage this can create, is an outspoken opponent of this measure.

If the objective is to get immigrants to learn English, there are any number of better ways to do that without alienating the growing immigrant, largely Hispanic, community. Their numbers in cities like Nashville and Atlanta have been growing for the last few years.

It makes little sense for a community to rely on language or ethnicity to forge the bonds of unity. Miami’s experience has been that new arrivals strengthen us, not make us weaker. They should be welcomed, not rebuffed. We are a people with forebears from other lands whose offspring have enriched our past and our present, and ensure our common future. For evidence, look no further than our newly inaugurated 44th president, Barack Obama.

Indeed. As I wrote two days ago, it is inconceivable to me that two days after we inaugurated the son of an African immigrant to the highest office in the land we would put up a sign saying “immigrants not welcome.”

The nation is moving forward in one direction. Nashville must go with it, or be left behind.

Comments Off on >Miami Says: Just Vote No

Filed under English Only, Eric Crafton, Nashville

>English Under Attack!!!!!!!!


Laura Creekmore puts it simply:

it is hard to make a case for a charter change undone by its own exceptions.

And it is even harder still when Crafton’s only legitimate example to date–New York City–implemented its current policy precisely because existing policy conflicted with Federal law.

Crafton’s still got nothin’ ….
Yes that’s right! According to English Eric Crafton, the English language is under attack! Run for your lives!!!!

And as proof of this he brings us examples of California state legislators, oops I mean Oregon firefighters, sorry, I mean New York City services which he says by law must be provided in “up to seven languages …. at enormous cost to taxpayers.”

Oh, New York, how could you! First you allowed 9/11 to happen and now this!

(BTW, I am still waiting for the example of “English under attack” here in Nashville. Apparently Crafton still doesn’t have one ….)

Of course, Crafton doesn’t give any specifics as to which services he’s talking about. This could be yet another Fox News fantasy, which he’s become fond of repeating without any fact-checking. So I am left to assume that he’s talking about the Equal Access To Human Services Act of 2003, aka Intro 38A.

It provides foreign language assistance for those seeking Medicaid, food stamps and similar forms of welfare assistance. The law was expanded this year with Executive Order 120 to include a broader range of government services, provided in the six most common languages found in New York City.

Eric Crafton, do you really want immigrant children denied food stamps or medical care because their families are not yet proficient in English?


Shame on you. For shame. Eric Crafton, what do you have against brown babies?

An overview of the 2003 law, citing 2000 census figures, states:

One in four New Yorkers, over two million people, are limited English proficient (LEP).

Wow, that’s a lot of people — and that was five years ago. Nashville’s entire “Combined Stastistical Area”–that’s Metro Nashville and the ring counties–contains fewer people than the limited English proficient residents of New York.

One might almost think New York City was some kind of melting pot or something. Weird.

But let me go on:

Hundreds of thousands of families eligible for public assistance have historically been unable to fully access services. The New York City Human Resources Administration (HRA), which is responsible for administering government benefits such as Food Stamps, Medicaid, and welfare, was found to be in violation of Title VI of the Federal Civil Rights Act in 1999, but the agency failed to take corrective action.

Wow, so there’s like a federal law requiring equal access to government services for all?

And as some Nashville bloggers have calculated, violating Title VI puts us at risk of losing over $276,000 in federal monies that are tied to Title VI?

So why are we having this metro-wide referendum again?

And as for that “enormous cost” New York taxpayers must shoulder? Well, maybe not quite so much:

The mayor refused to be specific about how much the services will cost, saying only that it was a “relatively small” amount given the size of the city’s budget. He added: “This executive order will make our city more accessible, while helping us become the most inclusive municipal government in the nation.”

“The fundamental basis of government is its interaction with its citizens,” the mayor said before signing the executive order at City Hall on Tuesday. “If people don’t know what we do, don’t know what they should do, what the law requires them to do, don’t know how to get services, all the money that we’re spending providing those services, providing those laws, is meaningless.”

The order requires that agencies translate essential public documents, pamphlets and forms in the six languages. But its reach is broader, as it allows for the use of a telephone-based service that can link immigrants with interpreters who speak Urdu, Hindi, Arabic and dozens of others less-common languages.

A telephone-based service? Like the ones metropolitan areas around the country already use, like, say, Language Line, which I’ve already mentioned in previous posts?

So in other words, cities don’t have to keep one Urdu-proficient staff person on salary, twiddling his/her thumbs until the rare once-every-three-years occasion that an Urdu translator is needed. They simply pay for this service when they need it.

So, compliance is not so hard after all, is it?

I’m starting to think that this “English under attack” thing really isn’t amounting to very much.

Eric Crafton is going to have to do a lot better than this.

It is inconceivable to me that two days after the nation swore in its first African American president, ushering in a brand new day in our country’s race relations, that Nashville would take this regressive step. Eric Crafton is out of touch with the direction this nation is moving. Nashville does not need to go with him.

Comments Off on >English Under Attack!!!!!!!!

Filed under English Only, Eric Crafton, Nashville, New York City

>They Just Don’t Get It

>Once again, for the gray-matter impaired:

It is not “racist” to speak English, or require English proficiency. This is America. We speak English here. That is no secret.

It IS racist to by law prohibit the use of any other languages to better communicate with people. We are a nation of immigrants. It is divisive and exclusive. It can even be dangerous. And it is completely, wholely unnecessary.

The “War On English” is a farce. Not one of Eric Crafton’s examples of “English under attack” has held up to scrutiny. They’ve all been misrepresentations of actual law or outright lies.

And now Crafton is afraid to reveal his funding sources because he’s afraid of death threats? I’m calling bullshit on that one. Crafty Crafton’s racist money stream is more like it.

So all of you yahoos calling me a racist for not offering my blog in Tagalog need to get a clue. That’s not what English Only says. English Only says I can’t offer my blog in Tagalog (and yes, this is an analogy. I realize the referendum has nothing to do with my actual blog, since I am not a part of Metro government.)

If you don’t understand what the argument is about, you shouldn’t be opening your mouths.

Comments Off on >They Just Don’t Get It

Filed under English Only, Eric Crafton, racism, rants

>More Crafton Bogus Language Hysteria, Oregon Division

>Once again, Eric Crafton picks on a favorite punching bag of the wingnut right: “liberal” Oregon. And once again, his allegations, culled from Fox News, are just … well, wrong.

The homepage of Crafton’s English Only website prominently displays this Fox News clip about an Oregon state rule requiring firefighters for the Dept. of Foresty be bi-lingual. Crew bosses are even being “laid off or demoted” because of the rule, warned the Fox News anchor.

Oregon’s ABC affiliate, KATU, interviewed this Oregon firefighter on the rule:

Jaime Pickering, a squad boss overseeing 20 firefighters, says the rule means “job losses for Americans. The white people.

Ah yes, you just can’t hide the bigotry of the English Only crowd. Hate to break it to you, Mr. Pickering, but Americans come in all sorts of colors.

According to Fox News and KATU, the rule, which applies to contractors not state employees, was enacted because there were so few firefighters in the state, contractors were hiring people from out of state who do not speak English. The state thought it was a good idea to require crew bosses to speak both English and the language of their firefighters, hence the rule.

I guess Eric Crafton hopes this will push some “war on English” fear buttons. But, as with so much that one hears on Fox News or coming out of Crafton’s mouth, it’s all wrong.

From the Oregon Dept. of Forestry website, under “Contracting for Wildland Firefighters”:

English is the language of wildland firefighting.  It is the national standard.  It is spoken in briefings and on two-way radios, and is the language of operating plans, reports and other documents.

Hispanic and Native American contract crews have operated in the west with bilingual leadership since the 1960s.
The number of Hispanic crews in the Northwest has increased markedly in recent years. A count of Spanish surnames on crew rosters suggests that about 85 percent of current contract firefighters are of Hispanic descent. This rough estimate doesn’t indicate how many crew members speak English.
There is no contract requirement that supervisors on contract crews speak any language other than English. There is a requirement that supervisors be able to communicate with the workers for whom they are responsible. This is essential to ensure that all personnel are made aware of safety hazards that can develop quickly in firefighting.
Consequently, if private companies elect to hire crew members who do not speak English, those supervisors must be bilingual or multilingual.


Public agencies have not found it necessary to require all frontline crew members to speak English. Bilingual supervision has proved successful in ensuring adequate crew safety and performance.
Due to the nature of the work, English proficiency is required for direct employment by ODF.
No ODF employees have been fired or demoted because of any language requirement; there is no requirement other than English proficiency for agency employees.

Once again, Fox News and Eric Crafton are wrong wrong wrong.

Hoping to scare Nashvillians into passing their pet referendum, Crafton & crew have resorted to fear mongering and outright lies. Way to keep it classy, guys.

Comments Off on >More Crafton Bogus Language Hysteria, Oregon Division

Filed under English Only, Eric Crafton, FOX NEWS, Oregon

>At Least He’s Picking On New York For A Change

>The Nashville Scene points us to Eric Crafton’s fear-mongering radio ad:

It begins with strains of “America the Beautiful.”

”America. One nation, under God, indivisible-until now.” The ad goes on to say that English is “under attack” It cites examples of government services in New York City being offered in multiple languages, and presents the amendment as a way of preventing the same thing from happening in Nashville.

English is “under attack”? Really? The–pardon the pun–lingua franca of global commerce is “under attack”? Is he nuts?

Am I the only one picking up a “War On Christmas” vibe here?

Personally, I don’t see what anyone loses by offering government services in multiple languages. But so what. That’s New York City. Again, I ask: of what relevance is it to us here in Nashville what they do in New York City?

New York is America’s most populous, diverse city. Walk down any street in New York and you will hear a variety of languages spoken all around you. It’s the home of the freaking United Nations. Maybe multi-lingual government services are needed in New York. Who cares? In case Eric Crafton hasn’t noticed, Nashville is not New York. Trust me, we aren’t even close.

If the whole language war thing were truly an issue for us here in Nashville, Crafton wouldn’t have to keep trotting out examples of how they do things in California and New York. He’d cite some examples right here at home. The fact that he can’t seem to find any that would muster the proper amount of outrage tells me this really is only an issue in Crafton’s mind.

Of course, by picking on coastal metropolitan areas like New York City and Oakland, this campaign hits some nice “coastal elite” hot buttons. He could easily pick on some small towns in Texas, which I suggested earlier, but that doesn’t push the same social and cultural buttons. I’m sure that worked very well in some of the smaller communities where the English Only movement has found success.

But Nashville isn’t Culpeper, Virginia. We’re the “third coast.” I question how well the big city-vs-small town message resonates here. Indeed, I question how well it works at all these days. It certainly seemed to cause a big push-back in the last election when the GOP tried to use it.

Anyway, as Crafton’s campaign gets increasingly squirrelly, he’s starting to remind me of Bill O’Reilly, picking up factually-flawed stories from WorldNet Daily and repeating the juicy bits, promoting the idea there is a “war” going on that only he and a handful of anti-immigrant crusaders can see.

It’s all very strange.

Comments Off on >At Least He’s Picking On New York For A Change

Filed under English Only, Eric Crafton, Nashville, New York City