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Pahrump Mirror
Pahrump, Nevada
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June 5, 1997     Pahrump Mirror
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June 5, 1997
 

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Official English for Nevada by D. Dowd Muska A bill recently introduced in the Nevada Legislature would make English the state's official language. Assembly Bill 441, sponsored by 12 members, designates English as the official language of the state and contains a number of related provisions. The Theory Behind Official English According to U.S. English -- a citizen group working to make English the official language at all governmental levels -- at least 329 languages are currently spoken in the United States. (Including Achumawi, Lapp, Mon-Khmer, Slovak and Zuni.) America's great diversity is an asset to the nation, but in recent years local, state and federal government agencies have been strained by ever-increasing duplication of govern- ment services in multiple languages. According to U.S. English, the proliferation of multilin- gual government sends this dangerous message to immi- grants: "It is not necessary to learn English because the government will accommodate them in other languages. As a result, immigrants fail to learn English and separate into linguistic enclaves. This division of the United States into separate language groups contributes to racial and ethnic conflicts." Official English helps to curb ethnic strife by promoting unity. It also streamlines government and cuts costs. An official English requirement simplifies government operations because it gives bureaucrats clear guidelines for their actions. "We're not suggesting that people shouldn't hold on to their native languages," wrote U.S. English Chairman Mauro E Mujica. "We just don't believe the government should spend money providing services in multiple lan- guages." Broad Public Support Opponents of Official English claim such laws violate the Pahrump Valley Gazette, Thursday, June 5, 1997 11 Guest editorial iright of free speech, but courts have repeatedly upheld the constitutionality of official English laws. The general public agrees-- in August of 1995, a Luntz Research poll revealed broad support for the establishment of English as the official language for the United States. Eighty-six percent of respondents answered affirmatively to the question "Do you think English should he made the official language of the United States?" Support for official English crossed racial lines, with 89 percent of whites and 86 percent of blacks voicing approval. Support for official English also enjoyed bipartisan sup- port: 90 percent of Republicans, 84 percent of Democrats and 83 percent of Independents approved. U.S. English, the country's largest official English citizen group, currently claims over one million members. Official English legislation has been passed in 23 states, most recently in Wyoming, Georgia and Virginia. Florida's official English proposition passed with 84 percent support, and Nevada's neighbor California, the most ethnically-di- verse state in the nation, passed its law with a 73 percent approval rate. Arizona's 1988 official English statute was challenged all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, but in March of this year, the High Court unanimously upheld Arizona's law. The Nevada Bill AB 441 amends Nevada statutes to designate English as the official language of the state of Nevada. It mandates that all proceedings of the state must be conducted in English, all official records of the state must be "prepared, stored, and made available" in English and all official publications must be published in English. The bill contains a number of important exemptions, including state business conducted orally, foreign language classes, instruction of students "whose proficiency in the English language is limited," situations when excessive use of the English language would "interfere with public health or safety," and the promotion of international trade or tourism by an agent of the state. AB 441 requires state agencies to record each expenditure made "to provide services in a language other than English." Foreign language expenditures "must be set forth separately in the budget estimates' of each agency. The bill also bars any Nevada court from hearing a legal claim against the state based solely on failure "to provide copies of statutes, regulations, reports, forms, or other docu- ments" in a non-English language. Conclusion While Nevada public records and proceedings are all currently conducted or published in English, the state's rapid population growth will almost certainly generate pressure by some to accommodate newcomers by conducting state busi- ness in different languages. AB441 would ensure that state proceedings are conducted in a uniform language, saving taxpayer dollars and hastening the assimilation of non-English speaking immigrants. The bill does not ban bilingual education or "common sense" use of foreign languages in state business. It does not restrict or outlaw private citizeus from using a separate dialect in their businesses, homes or during religious ceremonies. If enacted, AB 441 would simply prevent the creation of "linguistic welfare" in the Silver State. States with Official English Laws -- Alabama (1990), Arizona (1988), Arkansas (1987), California (1986), Colorado (1988), Florida (1988), Georgia (1986,1996), Hawaii (1978) Illinois (1969) Indiana (1984), Kentucky (1984), Louisiana (1811), Mississippi (1987), Montana (1995), Nebraska (1920), New Hampshire (1995), North Carolina (1987), North Dakota (1987), South Carolina (1987), South Dakota (1995), Tennes- see (1984), Virginia (1981, 1996), Wyoming (1996). Letters to the Editor 'In Focus' series applauded The Board of Directors of No to Abuse commends you on your excellent series on domestic violence. Patti Babcock's "In Focus" columns on child abuse and family violence laid bare what is happening in the real world. And this scary, "real world" does not discriminate based on race, religion, creed or income. As Patti. stated in her first column, she has only touched the surface of the devastation caused by family violence. In addition to alerting communities as far north as Tonopah and Round Mountain to the seriousness of these crimes, this series has also communicated the fact that help is available. As a direct result, No to Abuse has received many calls and new clients. Patti helped communities take a big step toward recognizing this is a problem that belongs to them not Reno, not Las Vegas, but to Nye County. It is our responsibility as members of our communities to try to help the children who are being brutalized and the men and women who are being beaten. We also need to help the abuser who wants to change things but doesn't know how. Again, thank you for choosing to print this valuable series of articles. Thank you also for your ongoing support of the No to Abuse Crisis Center. The best way to deliver our message is through the media. If you have not read Patti's series, I urge you to drop by the Gazette office and request back issues. If you have read it and recognize yourself or someone else who needs help, please call No to Abuse at 751-1118 in Pabrump, or 482-3016 in Tonopah. You may also call us toll free at 888-882-2873. Volunteers are the lifeline for every victim of domestic violence. We need them to train for crisis lines in Pahrmnp, Silver Peak, Beatty, Tonopah and Round Mountain. You may call the numbers above for more information on how to get personally involved in stemming this epidemic. No to Abuse is a private, non-profit agency funded by your donations: P.O. Box 2869, Pabrnmp, NV 89041 and P.O. Box 3914, Tonopah, NV 89049. Joni Eastley Exeutive Board Chairman No to Abuse Pahrump Car 25154...Who are you? On April 24 of this year, at approximately 3:50 p.m., I was returning from Las Vegas and was just about eight miles south of Pahrump on SR 160. While traveling at a speed of 70 miles per hour, a white Ford Taurus passed me at an excessive speed. I noticed that the car had markings on the door stating, "For Official Use Only." There were four people in the vehicle. I decided to take the license plate number. In order to get close enough to obtain the number, I had to increase my speed to 89mph. The license plate number was EX 25154. The car continued to Gamebird and turned west; all the time in excess of 80 mph. After the turn, the car continued west at a speed of 65 to 75 mph in a 45 zone. Then it turned north and delivered three people to a home in Autunmwood Park. At about 4:20 p.m., I observed it picking up a lady at Blagg and Wilson, taking her to Wilson and Margaret. My question is, what county ordinance authorizes the use of a public vehicle, paid for with tax money, clearly marked "For Official Use Only," to be operated for what was obvi- ously personal use? Have we been hopdwinked into having established a "County Taxi Service" for privileged individuals? With both the county and the Town of Pahrump being strapped for funds, how can we continue to permit these self- appointed "prima donnas" to violate the public trust by the improper use of public property? Now! Please allow me to inform you of what will soon befall not only this town and county, but also everyone in the country. The stock markets will fail in 1997, destroying the economy of the entire nation. Then what will you do? What will you do when the poor beleaguered taxpayer, you and I, have no more wealth to "contribute" to this freewheeling economic insanity. For the answer, ask anyone who experienced the Crash of 1929. The skeptics will continue to be skeptical; as they were before every previous crash in our history. But then, the stark reality hits home and it is done. Bill Ballew Pahrump Check the law, please We have been interested in reading the notes from the Town Board meeting of May 27, 1997, and also comments from friends in attendance. It would seem prudent for the board to familiarize itself with current building codes and practices as approved by the state fire marshal's office. We doubt there has been a new building built since the MGM fire in the 1970s that doesn't meet the newer, stricter codes. We doubt that Clark County has any equipment to reach the top of the Stratosphere, New York New York, Luxor or Circus Circus to name a few. Current building practices require floors of high-rise build- ings be equipped with hookups for fire hoses and are almost separate entities in themselves. We also doubt Laughlin has the equipment to reach, say the top of the 18-story Flamingo Hilton, or the new towers at the Ramada, Riverside, Edgewater or Gold River, to mention a few more. It's sad to see the treatment afforded Terrible's general manager for his effort in courtesy to take his valuable time to bring the plans to the board meeting. He is not required to present his plans to anyone by the state fire marshal, for approval. Mr. Thielman, in his fast year of operation, has held an off- road race and a successful golf tournament. These activities have resulted in generous donations to various organizations in the community. If the board has any misgivings about new construction possibilities, one wonders why they haven't been concerned before now, since the County Commissioners passed County Ordinance #184, October 15, 1995. This ordinance, for those unfamiliar with same, requires a full-fledged casino to be complete with a minimum of 45 motel-hotel rooms to receive a Nye County license. Since land is at a premium in Pabrump, and getting more expensive every day, the natural way to go is up. So, it would seem the board should have addressed their concerns to the fire mat:shal, who could have allayed these fears. Bob Coad Pahrump To the parents with school children As you read in the local papers, a substitute teacher was in the Rosemary Middle School and had been teaching for the district since September of 1995. He was arrested and charged with soliciting sodomy from a minor. According to the paper on May 30, 1997 he was also previously tested for AIDS and the test was positive. Not only did he try to take advantage of the minor, he may have or could have given him or her a death sentence. The Nye County School District claims that he was re- moved from the sub list But he fell through the cracks, as usual. It is time we, as parents and citizens of this community, make this school district accountable for its actions. We should be getting tired of the lame excuses they continue to give us. I urge you, as a parent and a taxpayer of this community to write your representitives concerning accountability. Ethics Commission, 301 S. Stewart St., Carson City, NV. U.S. Congressman, Jim Gibbons, 805 S. Durangu Drive, Las Vegas, Nev. 89128 John S. Espana Puhrump The Pahrump Valley Gazette corrects mistakes. Errors should be brought to the attention of the newspaper by calling 727-5583. eoe All opinions expressed on the letters page are those of the artist or author indicated. Furthermore, letters with names withheld will only be published if a legitimate fear of retribution exists. m i