Louie worked on his hands and knees last night, smoothing grout into a space between tiles on the second floor of the newly renovated Metro Courthouse. Upstairs, the men and women on the Metro Council would soon be moving the English-only law, one step closer to passage.
Louie is from Cuba, and his English isn't great. He estimates that 70 percent of the workers who rebuilt the guts of the new courthouse don't speak any English at all.
So the building was remodeled, for the most part, by people who can't speak English. Yet if a certain council member has his way, those same people would be denied any meaningful access to many of the services that the building is there for in the first place. There's a word for this. It begins with "I" and ends with "ronic."
And for what?
My guess is that Eric Crafton introduced this just so he could get his picture in the paper and on TV. His bill is so vague as to be useless. If he were serious about keeping people who don't speak English from engaging Metro services, he would have offered a hard-line stance with no exceptions. No multilingual emergency operators, hospital workers or cops. Nada. 911 call para el ataque de corazon? Sorry buddy, no hablo.
One look at the original legislation shows it to be unworkable. There's no way it could elicit any meaningful change without being absolute. Of course, a bill like that would have had real consequences. It could cost the county federal money, open it up to lawsuits and create headaches for the clerks, 911 operators and others who would have to serve non-English speakers without the aid of translators.
The fact that this council member didn't stake out such unbending territory shows that this was just more political pandermonium, used to rile an easily excited electorate.