Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Cabrera Files Appeal With Arizona Supreme Court To Vacate Lower Court Decision To Keep Her Off The Ballot

Alejandrina Cabrera

Photo: Yuma Sun dot com

Cabrera's lawyers claim state law doesn't provide standards for English proficiency to hold public office and keeping her off the ballot violates her Constitutional rights.

By H. Nelson Goodson
January 31, 2012

Phoenix, Arizona - The Yuma Sun reported that lawyers for Alejandrina Cabrera, a San Luis City Council candidate had confirmed, that an appeal was filed with the Arizona Supreme Court challenging a lower court decision to keep their client off the March primary election ballot due to a lack of English proficiency. On Monday during a press conference, Attorneys John Garcia and John Minore repesenting Cabrera said, that last Friday an appeal was filed and they're expecting for the high court to decide by February 7, if it will hear Cabrera's case. They are claiming, the state law requiring English proficiency doesn't provide specific guidelines to determine proficiency to hold public office. The lower court decision to keep Cabrera off the ballot violates her Constitutional rights, according to attorneys.
On January 25, Yuma County Superior Court Judge John Nelson ruled that Cabrera should be taken off the ballot after William Eggington, a sociolinguistics expert determined she lacks English proficiency skills to run for public office as required by state law.
Cabrera, a U.S. citizen graduated from Kofa High School in Yuma. She apparently dominates the Spanish language, but does know enough English to defend her right as an American to run for public office and stand her ground against all odds.
Cabrera's challenge to determine, if she can actually understand, speak and write English to hold public office was first brought up by Mayor Juan Carlos Escamilla. Escamilla filed a complaint in court claiming Cabrera lacks sufficient English skills to hold a four-year San Luis City Council position. All the work such as city ordinances, minutes, public agenda, legal documents, committee and council meetings are done in the English language. Cabrera, if elected could struggle to understand some of the council's work, but could very well represent those who elected her.
At least 90 percent of the population in San Luis City can speak both languages, English and Spanish. But Spanish is the dominent daily life language for a majority of people living in San Luis. Spanish is used and spoken in stores, restaurants, churches, and many other areas of the city due to close proximity to the Mexican border.
Cabrera's plight to run for the city council began after she initiated a recall against Mayor Escamilla for approving a utility price hike and laying off 12 city employees inorder to balance the city budget deficit.
She plans to continue to campaign for office, despite the lower court challenge.

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