New rule ignores California's past

Visitors to California in the near future should not be surprised if the pilot of their airplane announces the arrival into The Angels, Sacrament or Saint Francis.

That’s what could be ahead if business owners and others are not successful in rescinding a portion of Proposition 227, the initiative that voters approved this month limiting bilingual education to one year.

It seems voters missed something in the ballot’s fine print: a rule requiring that just about every aspect of public life also be translated into English within one year.

The obscure clause reveals, perhaps better than any political analysis, the mind-set that was behind the bilingual education initiative. As it so callously overlooks California’s past, the rule would extinguish anything foreign.

Officials in many of the state’s counties further argue that implementing the clause will be costly to taxpayers if cities, many of which are dubbed with Spanish monikers, must change their names. A Los Angeles Times columnist observed the pandemonium that has resulted.

A high school football team from Mariposa County, for example, showed up at the state capitol in shoulder pads and helmets, carrying placards that read, “We won’t play ball for Butterfly.” That’s English for Mariposa.

Asian-American groups, meanwhile, protested that renaming the town of Chino to “Chinaman,” was offensive. Not to mention owners of Mexican restaurants who wonder if customers won’t be confused by menu items such as “mashed avocado flavored with cilantro, garnished with tomatoes and served with crisp triangles of fried corn patties” instead of just “guacamole and tortilla chips.”

Signatures are being gathered to put Proposition 228 on the November ballot in hopes of reversing this loopy course. The Times reports it now is titled, “Revoking the Law of Unintended Consequences.”

In any language, that’s an understatement.

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