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Lancaster official pushes for English-only

August 19, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Councilwoman Sherry Marquez of Lancaster is spearheading the English-only push. And critics are calling her plan divisive and unnecessary. Upon being elected to her first term in the Lancaster City Council four months ago, Sherry Marquez says she was outraged to have to pay more money to print her candidate statement on the city's sample ballot in both English and Spanish.

Now Marquez is leading a charge to declare English the official language of Lancaster.

"When we live in America and an American is required, when you want to run for office, to have to pay for English and Spanish that is was is offensive to me," said Marquez.

Under federal law, ballots must be translated if more than 10,000 people are more than 5,000 of the voting population, or 3-percent of the California Law are not proficient in English.

The city of Lancaster has a population close to 145,000, and nearly 30-percent are Latinos. Some do not speak proficient English.

Some residents say they disagree with the city councilwoman's push to declare English the official language of the city.

"It is not fair and I think they should have all languages available," said resident Johnny Fernandez.

"I do not think that would be fair because there is a large Spanish population," said resident Bee Thompson.

Councilwoman Sherry Marquez says she is taking up this issue on behalf of herself and her constituents.

"I am going to do what the city has elected me to do and that was to stand up for them. This subject has come up over and over again. I do not want to 'Press 1 for English.' I don't want to be in stores and hear the advertisements in Spanish. This is America and we should speak English first," said Marquez.

"It should be the official language of the United States. This country and any other country you go to you have to speak their language. It should be the same thing here," said resident Kathy Waits.

The councilwoman says anyone who might label her a racist needs to think again.

"My last name is Marquez and it is of Cuban descent. My husband speaks Spanish," said Marquez.

 

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