English-Only Measure Burnishes Town's Image as "Old West Backwater"

The cheap shots start in the headline to a story on Monday, "English-Only Rule Tests Town's Image - Prostitution Is Legal, but Displays of Heritage Raise Hackles." As iflegal prostitution is somehow inconsistent with English-only legislation, versions of which are law in almost half the states in the United States. Steve Friess' actualpiece devotes maybe ten words in allto prostitution.

Freiss' story is concerned with a town board members' "ordinance declaring English the official language of Pahrump, an unincorporated town of about 35,000 people in Nye County, 60 miles west of Las Vegas. The proposal also denied unspecified town benefits to 'undocumented foreign nationals' and forbade the flying of any foreign flag without an accompanying American flag."

Friess continues: "Pahrump, known for its legal brothels, is not the only community to pass anti-immigration or English-only measures in recent months."

To be accurate, some towns have passed anti-illegal immigration measures.

Save for the flag provision, which is probably unconstitutional, there's nothing all that wacky about the Pahrump proposal. But as the paper does when it aims to gin up sympathy for a liberal cause, the Times collects some anecdotes and dutifully presents them as evidence against the proposal, somethingit rarely if ever does when supporters of conservative policies are harassed.

"Some Hispanic residents have said that since Mr. Miraglia's proposals were introduced, people in passing cars have yelled racial slurs at them.

"Lee Rowland, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, said students had been harassed by school officials for speaking Spanish in private conversations.

"And eggs have been thrown at the home of Robert and Liese Tamburrino, a white couple who protested the ordinance by flying Italian and Polish flags, representing the heritage of Mr. Tamburrino's parents. They also received a hate letter calling them 'thimble-brained, knuckle-dragging cretins.'"

Speaking of offensive language: "The language ordinance also has burnished an image of Pahrump as an Old West backwater, which many residents say is inaccurate."