As we noted last week, Metro Council member Eric Crafton—chief conductor of the Unnecessary Legislation Express—has begun another whistle stop tour to crazy town. Last year, Crafton pushed a bill through the Metro Council requiring that nearly all Metro business be conducted in English. The funny thing about that bill is that nearly all Metro business is already conducted in English. Mayor Bill Purcell killed the bill with his veto pen.
Crafton now threatens a referendum, and he is sending out 15,000 petition forms to Davidson County voters, hoping to grab enough signatures to get his charter amendment—which would make English the “official language of the Metropolitan Government”—on the ballot in November.
These kinds of charter amendments don’t need much help from sponsors to pass with huge margins, and there will have to be some activism to stop this one from passing. Luckily for those who like to “press two for Spanish,” the opposition is about to begin its campaign in earnest.
“We will fight this,” says local Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President Yuri Cunza. “We will publicly respond to this initiative. Frankly, we feel we have already dealt with this issue.”
Hedy Weinberg of the ACLU in Tennessee also vows to challenge Crafton’s referendum bid. “We will definitely be working in coalition with our allies to defeat the referendum,” she says. “ACLU-TN will also consider other options to ensure equal protection for all Metro Nashville residents”
By “other options,” she might mean “lawsuits.” Purcell vetoed Crafton’s last English-only bid because the mayor foresaw “years of lawsuits” over the constitutionality of the ordinance. The last time Crafton tried this it raised the ire of everyone from the Chamber of Commerce to the Communist sympathizers over at Liberadio! Who knows what new bedfellows and antagonists this new referendum may create. That spells long hot summer in any language.