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Letters to the editor
Feb. 1, 2022 1:17 pm
The difference between ‘fairness’ and ‘equity’
Washington County non-profit organization Latinos For Washington, Inc. is calling on the Mayor and City Council to make city council meetings more equitable for non-English speaking members of the Washington community.
At a minimum, community members who require an English interpreter should receive additional time to deliver their public comments. We ask the city to consider allocating funding for interpretation at meetings and/or translation of meeting agendas and minutes.
More than two dozen Washington community members attended the January 18th city council meeting to request that the council use some of the city’s COVID relief funds to provide stimulus checks for excluded workers.
Many of the residents who attended and more than half of those who made public comments did not speak English as their first language. A volunteer interpreter from Escucha Mi Voz attended the meeting to enable council members to listen to the residents of their wards.
However, Mayor Rosien strictly enforced the three-minute time limit for public comment, regardless of whether the comments required interpretation or not. City Council member Danielle Pettit-Majewski asked the Mayor to consider adding one minute of additional time, to which the Mayor voiced his intent to “keep it fair,” with everyone facing the same three-minute time limit.
Spanish-speaking community members noted during their public comments that sharing the three-minute time limit with an interpreter did not leave enough time for them to fully make their points. Many of them shared emotional stories about the risks they endured to continue working throughout the pandemic. These stories and lived experiences are important to share, as the burden of the pandemic did not hit all groups in our community equally.
Latinos For Washington calls for our elected officials and the broader community to reconsider the meaning of “fair.” We typically think something is fair if everyone gets the same treatment. But this does not account for the different places we all start from. The reality is that some groups in our community don’t have the same resources and opportunities as others.
To be fair, we should consider individual circumstances. This leads us to a goal of “equity,” in which resources and opportunities are allocated according to need, with a goal of creating equal outcomes. In the case of the time limit for public comment, we recommend that the time limit be doubled from three to six minutes when comments require an interpreter.
Latinos For Washington, Inc.
Please close the pool doors
This is an open letter to our Fairfield Parks and Recreation Department.
First, I give you guys high marks, and my thanks, in cleaning the Roosevelt facilities.
Next, I ask you why you allow lifeguards to block open the outside pool doors for hours each day? Those freezing airs enter and descend onto the pool water, cooling and lowering both the water and air temperatures. A discomfort for swimmers, this also wastes money on unnecessary and expensive heating costs.
And tell me, what’s that little white box on the electric conduit by the north door, where I’d been doing my praise and worship yoga?
Finally, I thank you for all the behind-the-scenes work you do for us. I’m aware of some of it, and appreciate you for your good efforts.
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