Boston City Council Members Learn Spanish

Saying he and other city councilors need to learn to speak to a changing Boston, the City Council president, Michael F. Flaherty, is arranging to hold weekly Spanish classes at City Hall for council members and their aides.

‘’I'm encouraging everybody to take advantage of this opportunity,’ said Flaherty, who has hired a tutor to provide instruction for two hours each Thursday in a City Hall conference room. Flaherty, who speaks rudimentary Spanish and who plans to take the classes himself, said he sent a memo this week to the City Council’s 12 other members.

‘’The 2000 Census data puts Spanish as the second-leading language spoken behind English,’ he said. ‘’If residents are linguistically isolated, then they’re not getting involved, they’re not telling us how to make things better for them. We need to open up the lines of communication for everyone’s benefit.’

The effort is the latest example of Boston’s tradition-bound political apparatus trying to keep up with a changing city, where a majority of residents in sections of some neighborhoods, like East Boston and Jamaica Plain, are now Spanish speakers.

Almost 14 percent of the city’s population speaks Spanish, and from 1990 to 2000, the number of Spanish-speaking residents increased by almost 50 percent, to more than 75,000, a 2002 report by the Boston Redevelopment Authority found. Half of the city residents who speak Spanish do not speak English very well, according to the report, which was based on 2000 US Census data.

5 Responses to “Boston City Council Members Learn Spanish”

  1. contessa Says:

    So the taxpayers of Boston are paying for the City Council to learn Spanish because there are entire neighborhoods of people in Boston who refuse to learn English and only speak Spanish? The statistics in this article basically indicate that about 37,000 (1/2 of the 75,000) of the Spanish speaking residents most of whom have been in Boston 6-16 years do not yet speak functional English. I think the taxpayers in Boston would be better served if English is taught to the 14% of the Spanish speakers. In fact, if they are citizens, then they would have been required to demonstrate basic proficiency in English. If they are illegal immigrants that are refusing to learn English after being here between 6-16 years, well we all know what to say to that….Basta Ya!

  2. Roger Says:

    This silent invasion is spreading block by block, city by city, state by state, and finally the whole country. America needs to stand up and say enough is enough to stop this uncontrollable flow of illigal immigrations that is changing our culture at a ever so alarmingly high rate.

  3. John Fredericks Says:

    First of all, this whole site is pretty frigin sad. Talk about isolationists and uncultered barbarians. Did any of you pass the 5th grade. You fear so many things so just add this to the list.

    As to the two suckers who added their two cents to the discussion, you guys sound pretty sad and racist. Many people need help when they come to the country and there are not always the resources for people to learn. I think Flaherty’s actions are what real leadership is made of. He is not looking to change the national language or the city’s, he just looking to do his job better, which intails understanding what everyone is talking about… its easy to take pot shots while your sitting in your lazy boy eating pork rinds with your gun rack hanging on the back wall.

    From The Real America - the one they call the melting pot!

  4. The Watchdog Says:

    We welcome those who come here legally and those who wish to become Americans. They need to learn our language. That’s not racism. That’s assimilation. That’s melting into the pot.

    I don’t know about Roger, but Contessa is bilingual Hispanic American. Her parents came here legally.

  5. Mrs.Celedon Says:

    One thing America (and would be us) is that America is built of immigrants. Let’s not pull up the bridge behind so that the new comers can cross over. We were just blessed to be here first, that’s all! PLEASE LET OUR HISTORY so that COMPASSION can take OVER IGNORANCE.

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