Island Gazette

???Lui, C???est Lui. Moi, C???est Moi.???

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“He has his (opinions), I have mine” sums up the Dean Lambeth/Mac Montgomery bilingual sign debate.  Public debates on Spanish/English signs and voice mail have become particularly vituperative recently and, at times, meets the low standards of intellectual mumbling.  Frankly, it appears Kure’s Mayor is pandering to The State of NC and the Feds for favors at our clean-up/enforcement/economic and reputations expense. 
Shame on the Obama “change, change, change” pitch, here inviting the undisciplined car-sleepers, pier swimmers, trashcan adverse members of society regardless of origin.  
Spanish is a great language.  I keep a cheat sheet in my wallet and a 100-plus page translation book at our store even though my non-English-speaking visitors are rarely Spanish-speaking.  In 2008, so far, people from Poland, Spain, Mexico, Russia, Latvia, Germany, France, Ireland, Japan, and China have been here.  Having studied several of those languages, I manage to get by but all of them spoke English well.  Talk to those familiar with Iraq and you’ll find the best selling books are about Shia religion, Korans, and English dictionaries.  Go to the great Dallas based bistro operator, la Madeleine, and you’ll hear only English until you go to the rest rooms for spoken-word French-lesson programming.  Mac could put English programming into the port-a-potties!
Dean isn’t known for his tact & diplomacy but you never have to guess where he stands on issues.  His directness and smarts can be refreshing, as his international pictorial signage suggestion indicates, but his words are more like a slashing blade than a rapier wit.  “Electile Disfunction” or the inability to get aroused over a municipal issue is not Dean’s problem so Viagra to stiffen his resolve is out of the question.  The best Spanish words to describe him may be “bravado”, “cojones”, “compadre”, and “macho.”
Mac finds it hard (no pun intended) to express himself pithily.  Pleasing has a high priority while English language decisions has a smaller (he’s into size matters) priority.  In addition to having a distinguished service career, Town leadership requires deep skills in risk analysis and very skilled non-military people leadership.  He is right on so many issues safeguarding the popular vision of Kure residents but Spanish signage (“needed to reinforce.......use of the beach at night”----- are they lit?) reminds one of defining Spanish words like “adios”, “burro”, “guano”, and “loco” if not “marijuana” smoking.
Hispanics now account for about 15% of the US population.  Subtract whydon’tcha.    The first-generation Hispanics really promote the Latino platform while second, third, and fourth-generation Latinos understand, speak, and are comfortable with both languages, exceeding most of “us” linguistically.  There continues to be disconnects between what some elected officials profess is necessary for a diverse, welcoming and safe community versus what’s good for the native populace. 
Recognizing that disconnect, promoting the use of English along with attracting bilingual employees, will help the understanding of generational spreads among Hispanic citizens and how to resolve disputes over NIMBY-ism.  However, when “we’re” in Hispanic back-yards, we’d best be educated in Spanish and not hypocrisy.  
Submitted by Joe Coen 
Kure Beach, NC


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