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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Right on, Bill and Phil

I'm grateful to see that Governor Phil Bredesen has publicly praised Mayor Bill Purcell's decision to veto the Metro Council's much-debated "English-First" bill today. As the City Paper has quickly reported, Bredesen called the veto the "right thing to do:"

I think a lot of that stuff has way too much of a posturing aspect about it for my taste... I always thought that English-only stuff was kind of a very un-American way of going at things... I think this has always been, at its best, an open and accessible country that values everyone who lives here.
There's no denying, as Councilman and bill sponsor Eric Crafton has mentioned, that there is significant public opinion in favor of this bill. Illegal immigration has been a major point of discussion over the past year locally and nationally. I personally oppose this legislation because I think it's small-minded and a significant waste of time when the council would be better suited addressing issues that impact a larger share of its constituents. I also believe that this bill does very little in terms of practical changes for city communications, and I'm left to wonder what allowing it to pass really accomplishes other than subjecting the city to the possibility of future lawsuits when the bill eventually gets in the way of delivery of legitimate city services.

Thank you, Mayor Purcell, for taking this stand. Thank you, Governor Bredesen, for shedding additional light on what in my opinion is a very sound decision by the mayor. It's no secret that Bredesen and Purcell haven't always been able to agree, but I respect both men for taking firm action in this instance. I am much prouder of our city and our state today than I was last Tuesday when this measure passed the council. To the 14 council members who voted against the bill when it passed, thank you for voting as you did. Please remain strong in your commitment to a more welcoming and diverse community when this legislation is addressed again next Tuesday.

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