Categorized | Editorial

EDITORIAL: A House will Crumble Without a Sturdy Foundation


Photo illustration by the Amboy Guardian

Sometimes at a Council Meeting a statement made by the Council, Administrators or the Public will make my ears perk up. This happened at the 2/11/15 Perth Amboy Council Meeting.

One of the speakers said that the Council Meetings should have electronic translators for residents who only speak Spanish. Furthermore, the speaker said that there should be a Spanish speaking newspaper to report on the Council Meetings.

If this were to come to fruition, especially with electronic translation devices only for Spanish speaking residents, it could open up a lawsuit.

Any other ethnic group who doesn’t understand English could also demand the same treatment.

The argument that because Perth Amboy is about 70% Hispanic may not hold up in the court of law.

Let’s take one case, for instance. Remember Madalyn Murray O’Hair. She was an atheist who complained about prayer in public school. Guess what, she got her way and won the case and prayer in public schools went out the door.

In Ocean Grove, New Jersey there is a venue called the Great Auditorium. There is a cross on the roof at the front entrance. A person (who was an atheist) attending a high school graduation (which has been held there for years) said it was offensive that they had to enter a door with a cross above it and other religious artifacts that was part of that Auditorium since its inception. So guess what happened? The school board of that high school crumbled and at next year’s graduation everyone had to enter through the side doors and the religious artifacts were covered. Just because one person complained about a cross.

Currently, there are between 4 and 5 Spanish newspapers circulating in Perth Amboy. The question is why are they not covering the Meetings? These publications have been around a lot longer than the Amboy Guardian. I personally  knew the publishers of at least 3 Spanish newspapers that covered Perth Amboy in the past. These newspapers are no longer in publication.

There are other media outlets that cover Perth Amboy events in Spanish, but I’m not sure to what extent.

I was born and raised in Perth Amboy and I grew up in a very ethnically mixed neighborhood. A lot of those people were from Poland and Germany. I don’t ever remember election material being translated into their language.

When you use an ATM machine, sometimes there are 3 or 4 different languages available that you can do your transactions. The International Civil Aviation Organization has decreed that from January 1, 2008 all Air Traffic Controllers and Flight Crew Members engaged in or in contact with international flights must be proficient in the English language as a general spoken medium.

How did immigrants learn to speak English before we had electronic translators, bilingual classes and computer software such as Rosetta Stone?

A few months ago, Jelmin Caba was attending a Meeting and showed Katherine and me an interesting app on our cell phones called World Lens. With this app you can actually put your cell phone over a piece of paper written in another language and it will translate it to the language of your choice.

There are just too many resources available today that makes it very easy to learn the language.

Spanish, like other languages has different dialects. Whose translation would be used? All regions have a slight difference in cultural interpretations. I have traveled to Yugoslavia on vacation. There were 6 regions that each had their own dialect. In spite of that, they all had to learn one specific dialect so they could all communicate with each other.

We are a country where many different languages are spoken, but we need to all speak a common language for all to understand.

Spanish is not the only language that is on election ballots. In some other States and Municipalities election materials are printed in other languages. In Los Angeles County, officials are now be required to offer materials in Cambodian and Asian Indian languages in addition to Spanish, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese.

Instruction guides for the U.S. Census are available in 50 languages from Albanian to Yiddish.


What happens if an American Citizen decides to move to another country and relinquish their American citizenship? If they become a citizen of a non-English speaking country, would that country be required to print voting ballots in English just to accommodate them?

Just wondering. Maybe there are countries that have done this.

How many other groups are going to pop up and say, “We want ballots printed in our language?”

When are we going to be at the saturation point printing forms in all these different languages/dialects? It think we’re there now.

Let’s face it. Some people will use the defense of saying, “I don’t speak English,” when you know full well that they do. This happens more than often.

What happened to the days when people came to the United States because they wanted to better themselves and the first thing they did was enroll in a class to learn English?

I remember about 15 years ago I was in a restaurant and my waiter had a slight accent. I asked him where he was from. He told me Poland and proceeded to apologize for his accent which I found very pleasing. I also remember him telling me the first thing he did when he came to America was to enroll in a class to learn English. He knew that it was the only way he could get ahead in America.

There are just too many tools  available no matter where you’re from that can help you master English.

There is a school on Smith Street in Perth Amboy, that teaches people how to speak English.

There is a family friend of ours who is German and learned Spanish. When I asked them, did they take a class for that? They simply said, “No.” I just learned by hearing others speak it. Because everyone in my building except for my family were Spanish.”

Mauro E. Mujica is the Chairman/CEO of U.S. English, the nation’s largest organization advocating for English as the official language of the United States. According to his website: U.S. English: Mugica states: “Our government’s refusal to embrace English as our official language has resulted in a jigsaw puzzle approach to multilingualism, leaving speakers of hundreds of languages stranded. The value of an official English language policy has never been greater.”

Radio talk show host Barry Farber states, “The English language is the only glue holding America together.”

The fascinating thing about Mr. Farber is that he has knowledge of 25 languages. He failed Latin in the 9th Grade but started reading Mandarin that same summer. He took up Italian, French and Spanish before is other. When he was inducted into the U.S. Army in 1952, he was tested and qualified for work in 14 different languages. He has written a book called, How to Learn Any Language Quickly, Easily, Inexpensively, Enjoyably and On Your Own.

With all this knowledge of language, Farber feels that it is important that English become the official language of the United States.

Where do we draw the line? In my editorials I always ask people if you  have any opinions, feel free to express them. I would really love for people to express their opinions on this subject matter.

C.M. & K.M.

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MON. Jan 22
• City Council, Caucus,
4:30 p.m.
City Hall, High St.

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• City Council, Regular,
7 p.m.
City Hall, High St.

THURS. Jan 25
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7 p.m.
City Hall, High St.

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• City Council, Regular,
7 p.m.
City Hall, N. Broadway

WED. Feb. 7
• City Council, Business,
6 p.m.
City Hall, N. Broadway

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