Texas: Farmers Branch curbing use of Spanish

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at ccat.sas.upenn.edu
Tue Dec 26 13:33:10 UTC 2006

Farmers Branch curbing use of Spanish
Exception allows it for health and safety reasons.

By Stephanie Sandoval


Monday, December 25, 2006

FARMERS BRANCH Since elected leaders declared English the city's official
language last month, Spanish programs no longer play on the wall of
televisions overlooking the bikes and treadmills at the Farmers Branch
Community Recreation Center. In public works, trash bags ordered for
residents will have the schedule for trash pickup printed only in English.
But instructions on how to load the 50-gallon paper bags will be printed
Fliers for park and recreation activities and library events will be in

These are among the ways that the city has put into practice the language
policy it adopted Nov. 13. City leaders stress that it applies to only
city government, not schools, churches or other groups. It does not mean
that city employees in this Dallas suburb will not be allowed to speak in
languages other than English. And it doesn't mean that residents can't
communicate in other languages, said City Council Member Tim O'Hare, the
force behind the language-related initiative. City Manager Linda Groomer
said the city will continue communicating with residents in Spanish when
it's a public health or safety issue. Operations for police, fire,
ambulance, code enforcement, building inspections, restaurant inspections
and most other city departments have not been affected, she said.

At the recreation center, nine televisions are preset to two news
channels, ESPN and three major networks. The Spanish-language channel is
no longer an option. Salvador Parada expected changes, but he didn't think
the rule would affect his ability to see Spanish-language TV. "Residents
should have a say in what stations are watched at the gym," he said.
"After all, we are the ones paying for the membership and not the City
Council. I also feel that it discriminates against those people that speak

Other fitness center users welcomed the change.

"If they want to have it in their homes, that's fine. But I don't know why
I should be exposed to it here, not in a public place," said Shirley
Walker as she walked on the fitness center's indoor track. She works in
Farmers Branch.



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