Diaspora

City commission votes to add new Immigrant Liaison position, translate more forms and signs into Spanish – Alachua Chronicle

BY JENNIFER CABRERA
At the March 17 Gainesville City Commission meeting, the commissioners decided to add a new employee position with the title of Immigrant Liaison, provide more City services and documents in Spanish, and add more languages over time.
GINI Presentation
The commission heard a presentation from Gainesville Immigrant Neighbor Inclusion Initiative (GINI), given by Gainesville Police Department Chief Inspector Jaime Kurnick. GINI was formed in 2021 as a collaborative effort between the City of Gainesville, Alachua County, and representatives from the school board, organizations that serve immigrants, and immigrants themselves–about 60 members. They meet as a whole, and they split into work groups such as safety, language access, education, health, and citizen engagement. 
Kurnick said that as of 2019, 11.3% of Gainesville’s population is made up of immigrants, and 26.8% of that 11.3%, or about 3% of Gainesville’s population, have been in the U.S. for less than 5 years. The 2021-22 GINI Immigrant Survey, which received 186 responses, found that 60% of respondents suggested language barriers as one of their biggest obstacles to finding health services and finding a lasting job. 
(function() {
window.mc4wp = window.mc4wp || {
listeners: [],
forms: {
on: function(evt, cb) {
window.mc4wp.listeners.push(
{
event : evt,
callback: cb
}
);
}
}
}
})();


The group requested a new Immigrant Liaison position for the City of Gainesville in its Equity and Inclusion Department, along with language line services (a service that translates calls in “any language that you can possibly come up with”) and training for all City employees on the use of language line services; translation of the City website and social media posts into Spanish, Chinese (Mandarin), Vietnamese, Portuguese, and Haitian Creole; translation of signs in key areas such as City Hall, GPD, and “highly-visited buildings”; and translation of GRU applications and payment options. They specified that the language line service should be implemented across the City – “so if you call Public Works or Parks and Recreation, and you want to find about services… they would have the availability to get a translator 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.” That would require retaining a vendor to provide the service. The total cost for their recommendations came to $316,500 per year. The group also provided a 3-year total of $949,500, but most of the costs are recurring annual costs, so that is not a total cost.
Kurnick also said she had looked into the number of times the Combined Communications Center had used the language line service in 2021, and the top request was for Spanish translation (886 calls), with the second being Mandarin (47 calls). 
“If our community is one in ten, that’s 10% of our city that’s missing out. That’s thousands and thousands of people who cannot get easy access, who have to wait until their neighbor or teenager gets home to call GRU. It’s not fair, and it’s not equitable.” – Commissioner Reina Saco
Commissioner Reina Saco was very appreciative of the work the group had done but said the City needs better data. She proposed focusing on Spanish in the first year for translation, with language line services and training in the use of the language line service. She proposed that “ambassadors” report on where people need more help and use that data to expand the languages in the second year. 
She said, “If our community is one in ten, that’s 10% of our city that’s missing out. That’s thousands and thousands of people who cannot get easy access, who have to wait until their neighbor or teenager gets home to call GRU. It’s not fair, and it’s not equitable.”
Commissioner Adrian Hayes-Santos wanted a better idea of the recurring costs and the thresholds for making a decision on translating materials into a new language. He supported language line services and training City employees on their use.
Commissioner David Arreola said he would like staff to come back with cost estimates instead of using the estimates provided by the group, but he wanted the city commission to immediately approve the use of funds for the GINI Initiative.
Mayor Lauren Poe said it was “critically important that we take decisive action today to move forward to at least get the pieces in place to start building a fully inclusive City infrastructure.” He supported the new Community Liaison position, the language line service, translating the City’s website into at least four languages (this is already underway), and translating the most-used forms. He supported using American Rescue Plan (ARPA) funds to get started and then working the ongoing costs into the 2023-24 budgets.
Hayes-Santos wanted the commission to figure out where to “work it in” the budget before approving the initiative.
“The worst thing we could do is nothing. The second worst thing we could do is go out on our own and not work with those other governmental entities… It needs to be a seamless process… It’s critical that everyone be at the table.” – Commissioner Harvey Ward
Commissioner Harvey Ward said, “The worst thing we could do is nothing. The second worst thing we could do is go out on our own and not work with those other governmental entities and have to tell people, ‘Well, we’ll give you these services, but we don’t know what they’re telling you about the schools; we don’t know what they’re telling you about dealing with the County clerks, etc., etc. It needs to be a seamless process… It’s critical that everyone be at the table.”
Arreola gave some examples of large cities allocating ARPA funds in amounts like $250,000 or $600,000 and the state of Virginia allocating $500,000. He continued, “Let’s be brave, commissioners… I find it hard to believe that the administration and the Congress… would come after Gainesville for these funds to be used for this purpose, especially when other larger cities, and other, I might say redder states, are also requesting. Let’s be brave. Let’s approve the ARPA funding that we already allocated. Let’s be brave.”
Saco made a motion to 1) Direct staff to move forward with the GINI recommendations; 2) Direct staff to do a fiscal analysis for the new position, the ambassadors, the language line, the training, the government translation into Spanish, and the Spanish sign translation (Spanish only at this time); 3) Find a funding source for the initial recommendations and then for the recurring success of the program; 4) Communicate with the Rural Women’s Health Project to transition data, work product, connections in the community to the City; 5) Ask staff to reach out to other governmental entities for collaboration and input; and 6) Ask staff to provide an update to the commission in six months.
“What’s missing is a study of how many people are here… who already speak perfectly good English… I’ve known immigrants who speak better than I do. I think that’s what’s missing. Not all immigrants need all of these services… For the more long-term immigrants who are here, establishing their restaurants and all of that, many of them are totally fluent, or otherwise they couldn’t be conducting their business. If everything is a priority, nothing is a priority.” – Tana Silva
During public comment on the motion, people spoke both in favor of and against the motion. Tana Silva pointed out that “what’s missing is a study of how many people are here, connected to the university, who already speak perfectly good English… I’ve known immigrants who speak better than I do. I think that’s what’s missing. Not all immigrants need all of these services… For the more long-term immigrants who are here, establishing their restaurants and all of that, many of them are totally fluent, or otherwise they couldn’t be conducting their business. If everything is a priority, nothing is a priority. A million dollars here, a million dollars there, and especially taking ARPA money is maybe not the wisest use of that money when we have needs in the community that are being underestimated.”
Following public comment, Poe apologized “to any person in this City who is not a native English speaker for some of what you have heard. I do not believe that those comments represent the majority of your neighbors in Gainesville. I do believe you live in a city with empathy with the challenges that you face… Let’s remember, all of our neighbors pay taxes, whether native English speakers or not. They all have a right to every benefit that the City offers.”
The motion passed unanimously. 
Effing demonrat city commies! You mean illegal aliens?
Are they crazy? This is a college town. If we want another 10,000 foreigners here, they should ONLY know English already, as all UF and SFC students and faculty must know. Everybody else should be given a note in all their languages like an IKEA guide saying: “Leave and go to any other non-college town, where you won’t compete for jobs and housing with 60,000 English-knowing students.” It is cruel to tease and entice illegals to come here and stay.
Lunacy!
Poe and the rest of these dumbed down idiots should visit Ellis Island and learn what our prior immigrants did to learn the language of the USA.
You move here, you learn the language.
This is why I live in Newberry. The City and County of Gaynesville absolutely suck. They are as crazy as FJB! And the UF is adding a new golf course on Parker Rd? WTF happened to the Westend and Meadowbrook courses? All I have to say is FU to all of them and the horse they rode in on!!!!!!!!!!!
Simply FUBAR!
These people need to learn English. What a waste
Of taxpayer money. Free housing, free healthcare, food stamps, free education? If you take the public money, you need to
Give back with public service. My grandpa who came
To Ellis island at the turn of the century learned the
Language and became a citizen. He got no free shiz.
We don’t want to be taking the criminals from Ukrainian
Jails to Grace either… is Poe gonna get a UKEE translator too?
Aha!!! American rescue plan funds!!! That’s why
Kurnick is wearing the face mask too…It has to
Be connected to Covid to use the $…you are being
Scammed by Goebels big lie!! The face mask is the
Flag of the American Marxist. Only hypochondriacs,
Commies, & criminals who don’t want to be identified
Still wear them..
Now we’re giving potential traffic violators a “Get Out of Jail Free” card.
“I’m sorry officer, I couldn’t read the sign that said ‘school zone’ because it was written in Spanish.”
In case a commissioner couldn’t read the opening…Commissioners are insanely stupid.
Commissioners are betraying American values and ideology to anyone. They are letting other countries assimilate ours. They are telling the Gainesville residents that resistance is futile and that the culture in Gainesville, Florida will adapt to serve foreign countries and their ideals.
Poe and the rest of his crazed lunatics are all Communist sympathizers and should be deported for crimes against not only the Constitution of Florida, but the Constitution of the United States of America.
A Latina woman “Chief Inspector” who is still cowering behind a mask… sounds about right for Gainesville. I’m sure she strikes fear in the hearts of the gangstas.
Saco isn’t willing to admit that 7 of 7 commissioners are 100% stupid.
We all know Ward never backed away from any table…especially if there’s food on it. That lard @r$e needs some exercise. He looks like a walking coronary waiting to happen.
Arreola isn’t brave. He’s a pea-brained, spoiled little POS.
Poe as always wants something done yesterday. That’s because he knows the writing is on the wall for his fraudulent activities. The voters are lining up against him and are willing to throw out “that” trash yesterday.
I wonder how brave Mr. Areola will be when some Federal auditor calls and wants the misspent thousands back.
Just like their broadband boondoggle; throw a few hundred thousand at a problem that basically doesn’t exist in the hopes of buying a few more votes.
All the illegals will do is fill the hotels with cleaners and hookers, and do other jobs Native locals refuse to do (outside of jail and prison). Big plus for our crime rate, thanks to Woke Dems.
(function() {
window.mc4wp = window.mc4wp || {
listeners: [],
forms: {
on: function(evt, cb) {
window.mc4wp.listeners.push(
{
event : evt,
callback: cb
}
);
}
}
}
})();


source

What's your reaction?

Excited
0
Happy
0
In Love
0
Not Sure
0
Silly
0

You may also like

More in:Diaspora

Comments are closed.