No Colorado English Initiative

As some of you may have been aware, there was an ongoing attempt to place a Prop. 227-clone initiative on the November ballot in Colorado. Our organization, English for the Children, was NOT involved in this effort, which was organized by Linda Chavez and her Washington DC-based organization, One Nation Indivisible.

The Colorado State Supreme Court has now ruled against the correctness of the ballot language used on the petitions, thereby invalidating all the signatures gathered and preventing the measure from reaching the 2000 ballot. Ms. Chavez therefore says that she plans to aim at the 2002 ballot instead.

The Colorado campaign had already been encountering serious difficulties since its most prominent local proponent was Rep. Tom Tancredo, an extremely conservative Republican and (arguably) the most anti- immigrant member of the House of Representatives. This had allowed the opposition to portray the campaign as anti-immigrant and anti-Latino, resulting in local media coverage which was very mixed at best, a situation hardly improved by the “English-only” background of a number of the other leaders of the campaign.

Instead, the ideal person to head up such a Colorado initiative would have been Rita Montero, a leftwing Latina Democrat and Colorado’s most prominent opponent of bilingual education. Ms. Montero spent years on the Denver School Board leading the battle against bilingual education and had previously helped lead the fight against Colorado’s “English-only” initiative in the late 1980s.

Incidentally, the Denver Post article incorrectly states that One Nation Indivisible was behind Prop. 227 in California. It actually played no significant role in that campaign.

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