Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Weekly Calendar

Meetings, Activities, and Events that promote our mission for April 10, 2007

1. "Who Really Runs L.A. ?"

2. Increasing Wealth in the Latino Community

3. Bioneering

4. Sustainable Transportation Forum

5. Community Building and Visions of Change Awards Ceremony

6. How To Build A Healthier L.A.

7. Built Environment and Public Health Workshop

8. LANI's Fifth Annual Community Forum

9. LA River Bike Ride

10. Article: How am I driving? In Mexico City , like a jerk

11. Article: Nashville residents push for English-first law

What do Latina urban planners contribute to the profession?

The Latinos in planning event was a great success! We celebrated the accomplishments and goals of four Latina planners; Maria Cabildo, Executive Director of East Los Angeles Community Corporation, Norma E. Garcia, Community and Environmental Deputy to Los Angeles County Board of Supervisor Gloria Molina, Maribel De La Torre, Councilwoman for the City of San Fernando and Barbara Romero, Director of Urban Parks for the Natural Resources and Planning Division of the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.

These Latinas provide a new articulate voice to the urban planning profession because they were born and raised in Latino neighborhoods. In these neighborhoods they rode public transit, walked to school, played in public parks so they bring this much needed sensibility to the profession.

The approach to the planning in their communities was much more comprehensive because it was not about their egos but how do I work with people such as my family to reach a consensus of what is needed.

These Latinos are committed to their communities and work 24 hours a day. Through their volunteer efforts, and raising families they work beyond 8 to 5 but beyond. Their passion, conviction and to improve the quality of life in their communities was very inspirational.

James Rojas

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Tuesday, April 10, 7pm at Central Library

"Who Really Runs L.A. ?"

Moderated by Mariel Garza of the Los Angeles Daily News

Who runs Los Angeles ? It's not just the mayor. It's not just the City Council. And it's not just a handful of rich white men. Los Angeles is no ordinary city, and its non-traditional cast of power brokers and political players span the socioeconomic and ethnic divides. But who are they? How did they acquire their power? And how do they wield it? Political consultant Kerman Maddox, LA Weekly reporter Dave Zahniser, political scientist Jaime Regalado, and Los Angeles Magazine writer Jesse Katz visit Zócalo to square off in a raucous and informative discussion of L.A. 's municipal politics, warts and all. To Reserve a Free Seat at Central Library

Central Library

Downtown LA

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Thursday and Friday, April 12 & 13, 2007

Growth Strategies for Corporate America : Increasing Wealth in the Latino Community. Join Lusk and TRPI for a groundbreaking two-day event focusing on wealth building in the Latino community! Author and professor Dowell Myers, will present his new book which examines the critical relationship between aging Baby Boomers and the maturing US Latino immigrant population. His findings show that two powerful demographic shifts may hold the keys to resolving problems presented by the other. Click here to learn more about the event! Register and receive a 10% registration discount when you enter the discount code "LUSK"!

Location: Beverly Hills , CA

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Friday, April 13, 2007
From 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Bioneering: Hybrid Investigations of Food A gathering of artists, scientists, scholars, activists and community organizers sharing their work concerning food production, consumption & distribution. Visit www.foodbioneers. com for registration, schedule, information about presentations and bios.

UC Irvine

Room Gallery

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007
from noon to 1:00 p.m.

Sustainable Transportation Forum: Come and join the Sustainable Transportation Forum to engage in a year long once a month series of presentations discussing issues that relate to transportation and how they can become more sustainable. Guest speakers from varying professional backgrounds in transportation will discuss policies, initiatives, funding and strategies for sustainable development.

Union Station, Metro Head Quarters

Board Overflow Room on the 3rd floor.

(Cafeteria is located across the hall)

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Thursday, April 19, 2007
@ 6:00 to 7:30 pm

South Central Planning Alliance Cocktail Reception with Janice Hahn, Gail

Goldberg, Larry Frank and Valerie Shaw.
RSVP to 323-731-6606

10950 S. Central Ave.

LA, CA. 90059

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Thursday, April 19, 2007
@ 4:30 pm

The Urban & Environmental Policy Institute Presents: 10 years of Community

Building and Visions of Change Awards Ceremony.

This year Elva Yanez will
receive the Northeast Los Angeles Social Justice Award, Angelo Logan, Jesse
Marquez and Penny Newman will receive the Los Angeles Regional Social Justice
Award and Luis Lopez, Principle of Franklin High School will receive eh Alumni
Community Action Award.
RSVP to Sylvia Chico (323) 259-2991 or email

Occidental College

1882 Campus Road

Los Angeles , CA. 90041


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Friday, April 20, 2007
from 7:00 - 9:00 am

Beyond Jogging and Pilates: How To Build A Healthier L.A.

Every good developer and planner knows that a projects require business acumen, good design, traffic mitigation, community outreach, and all the rest. And of course they must conform to countless public regulations while quieting concerns that rise from the popular chorus. But, despite the built environment' s profound impact on every facet of urban life, considerations of the most fundamental human need -- health -- are often exiled to spas, gyms, and hospitals. Online Registration For more information: Contact: Christyne Buteyn

Phone: 310-394-0253
Email: info@westsideurbanforum.com

Confirmed Panelists

Dr. Neal Kaufman, Co-Director, UCLA Center for Healthier Children, Families and Communities
Walker Wells, Program Director, Green Building, Cities, and Schools Program, Global Green, USA

The Regency Club

10900 Wilshire Blvd.

17th Floor

Los Angeles, CA

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007
from 8:30-10:30 AM
"Air Quality and Environmental Justice Issues in the South Coast Air Basin : EPA's progress and Major Challenges Ahead" Featuring Mr. Wayne Nastri

Region 9 Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Please RSVP via our website at PatBrownInstitute.org or by contacting Tarren Lopez or Fredy Ceja at 323.343.3770
Breakfast will be served

Location: The City Club on Bunker Hill

333 South Grand Avenue , 54th Floor

Los Angeles , CA 90071

(Parking is accessible below the Wells Fargo Building )

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Wednesday, May 2, 2007 @ 8am-3pm

Built Environment and Public Health Workshop

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is pleased to announce
a Built Environment and Public Health Workshop on May 2, 2007 from 8 a.m.
to 3 p.m in downtown Los Angeles .

This inter-disciplinary workshop will emphasize new ways to plan
for healthy environments, highlight how Public Health can support cities
in their planning efforts, and preview a new County funding source for
built environment work. City officials and planners, transportation
engineers, public works professionals, public health staff, and community
based organizations working on land use issues are encouraged to attend.

Please see the attached invitation and registration materials.
Note: This is a FREE event (meals on your own) Space is limited and pre-registration is required Registration Deadline: April 20

Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels

Downtown Los Angeles

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Thursday, May 17, 2007
From 8:00 am to 2:30 pm

LANI's Fifth Annual Community Forum

Workshop topics include: Accounting for Nonprofits, Billboards, Farmer's Markets

Business Development, Community Murals, Disaster Preparedness at a Neighborhood Level Transportation Linkages Water Quality and Your Community

Register at www.lani.org or by calling (213) 627-1822 x20. The event is free and includes parking.


USC Davidson Conference Center

3415 S. Figueroa Street


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Saturday June 10, 2007

LA River Bike Ride

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Thursday, April 12. 2006
From 8:30 am - 5:00 pm

Sixth Annual Municipal Green Building Conference and Expo:
Countdown to Green: Come discover the benefits of building green at the only education and demonstration forum specifically designed for Southland municipalities and the regional design community. Learn why cities across California are building schools, libraries, hospitals and fire stations as green buildings - saving energy and resources and preserving the health of building occupants. Discover why building green can benefit private development and help cities stretch tax dollars when needed most. Explore the latest products being developed by local manufacturers and begin to understand the associated costs, resulting benefits and available incentives for sustainable technologies.
For complete sponsor and exhibitor information: Contact dstevens@usgbc- la.org

Location: The Gas Company's Energy Resource Center

9240 Firestone Blvd
Downey , CA

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American Planning Association' s 2007 National Planning Conference

Philadelphia, April 14-18.

I will be attending this APA conference and look forward to exploring Philadelphia .

Check out my session on: Hispanic-Latino Communities and Urban Spaces

4/17/2007, 4:00 p.m.–5:15 p.m.

Session Description: Scholars and planning practitioners discuss how Latino-Hispanic communities use urban space and how they differ from other groups living in U.S. cities today. What kind of challenges these communities present to existing planning and zoning regulations? What opportunities may arise?

Speakers' Corner

Make plans to attend the division events scheduled during the APA National Planning Conference.

The division is sponsoring the following events:

· Hispanic-Latino Communities and Urban Spaces

4:00 p.m., Tuesday, April 17

Scholars and planning practitioners discuss how Latino-Hispanic communities use urban space and how they differ from other groups living in U.S. cities today. What kind of challenges these communities present to existing planning and zoning regulations? What opportunities may arise?

· Division Organizational Meeting

7:00 a.m., Monday, April 16

Meet the Division Steering Committee, help develop the division's plans for the coming year, and learn how you can participate.

The division leaders look forward to hearing from you - questions and comments – and welcoming you as a member of the division.

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How am I driving? In Mexico City , like a jerk

It's a matter of survival in a metropolis where traffic laws have flown out the window.

By Héctor Tobar, Times Staff Writer
April 4, 2007

MEXICO CITY — Two or three mornings a week, I get the day started with a shot of adrenaline and vehicular aggression coursing through my veins.

Who needs caffeine when you have vintage Volkswagens coming at you the wrong way?

Cement trucks running red lights, unlicensed bus drivers and traffic circles where a Darwinian, survival-of- the-rudest logic prevails: I fight them all just to get my daughter to preschool, a harrowing drive of 1.3 miles.

Last year, more new cars were sold in Mexico than ever before: 1.2 million. In Mexico City , my minivan is one of about 6 million cars, taxis, buses and other vehicles, carrying 29 million people, that hit the streets every day.

The city traffic grid, first laid out by the Aztecs, is a patched-together series of compromises with Mexico City 's tumultuous history. By every measure, traffic is worse here than it's ever been, despite the heroic efforts of a small cadre of traffic engineers who struggle to keep things moving.

"Everyone wants to be in the same place at the same time," says Alejandro Hernandez Garcia, the official in charge of monitoring the grid. "People don't respect the traffic signs. They don't respect the traffic lights, either, especially at night."

The average Mexico City resident commutes nearly four hours each day. A recent and disturbing phenomenon has people commuting to Mexico City from the city of Puebla , 90 miles and three hours away.

Traffic is so bad here, and driver behavior so out of control, that city officials are considering reinstating driving tests. Draconian fines soon will be implemented against such everyday sins as going the wrong way on a one-way street.

It's the huge numbers and the lack of space that force everyone who drives here to routinely be a jerk — this scribe no exception. My fellow drivers and I double-park, we cut each other off, we make right turns from the left lane.

The locals rarely complain. There is no phrase in Mexican Spanish equivalent to "road rage."

To drive in Mexico City , I've had to forget almost everything I learned in California .

Slowly, I'm learning how to drive like a chilango — that's what residents of Mexico City call themselves.

To drive in this city you must be at once aggressive and patient. You ease your car into the next lane and force other drivers to let you in, because otherwise you'll never get where you're going. When someone cuts you off, you just let it go.

You must learn to surrender yourself to the traffic gods, who are, on most days, exceedingly angry with us poor sinners down here in the Valley of Mexico .

"At the beginning, you fight it, you're angry with everybody. But if you have that attitude, you don't last," says Elias Nuñez, a veteran taxi driver in the Polanco neighborhood who drives me home one day. (In an effort to preserve my sanity, I don't drive to work.)

"Sometimes, the traffic gets like this," Nuñez says, taking his two hands and weaving his fingers together. "And no one can move."

Ah, yes, I say. We have a word for that in English: gridlock.

It's another one of those Americanisms I think is untranslatable, until I meet Alfredo Hernandez Garcia.

A complicated problem

Hernandez Garcia is the man in charge of preventing carros atrapados, or trapped cars. He works in a bunker-like office in a nondescript building of the Public Security Secretariat, Mexico City 's police force.

A graduate of the country's only university program in traffic engineering, he is a man uniquely prepared for a job best described as mitigating failure.

"It gets complex, very complicated, " he says. It's a word he uses a lot to describe the traffic: complicado.

As he talks, he looks distractedly at a live screen image transmitted by one of 300 cameras trained on traffic. This one shows his biggest headache, the "Periferico, " or Peripheral Highway , which circles the city, although it long ago was encircled by more city. At 1:42 p.m., four hours before rush hour, traffic on the Peri has come to a halt.

"It's totally paralyzed," I observe, pointing at the screen. "Those cars are trapped."

"Yes," he says with a frown. He gets on the phone and a short while later tells me, "A truck got stuck. We've sent a tow truck to clear it."

It isn't just broken-down cars that make the traffic complicado, he says. People deliberately try to tangle things up. Several times a month one protest or another blocks a key artery, upsetting the delicate balance that keeps traffic bearable, but still bad.

Last year, Hernandez Garcia says, a single political protest caused a backup involving half a million vehicles.

He attacked the problem with helicopters, tow trucks, traffic cops on motorcycles and computer-controlled traffic signals. He got into a helicopter himself, commanding his troops from the sky.

"It took us three hours to sort that one out," Hernandez Garcia says. "That was a hard day."

The Mexico City government is preparing to increase the fines imposed on all those bad drivers I see in my neighborhood, he tells me. The Volkswagen driver who played chicken with me the other day could soon face a fine of $850 for driving the wrong way.

City traffic cops issue 6,000 citations every day. More than half are for double-parking.

People park on the sidewalks, Hernandez Garcia says, which forces pedestrians to walk in traffic. Even though the city's notoriously slow traffic mitigates the danger, on average 1,500 drivers and pedestrians are killed in accidents in Mexico City each year, a rate significantly higher than that in Los Angeles County .

Once, driving tests were required, but they were scrapped because so many people paid bribes to get their licenses. Now the city is drawing up proposals to reinstate the tests. In the meantime, the city has launched a program to educate schoolchildren about traffic laws, Hernandez Garcia says.

Presumably, all those children will become backseat traffic cops, yelling out things like, "Daddy, you just went through a red light!"

Speed bump mania

Widespread disregard for traffic laws here has led to a citizen backlash.

Neighborhood groups have filled the city with speed bumps, many of them built without official permission. Some are so high the locals call them "mountains."

Sergio Anibal Martinez, the newly appointed director of traffic planning for Mexico City, estimates the capital has 10,000 speed bumps, most them illegal. On average, a Mexico City driver encounters a bump every 950 yards of pavement.

"They really are a nuisance," Martinez says. They make the pollution worse, because engines operate less efficiently when forced to slow down and rev up again, he says. "But people want them because they think it makes things safer."

Martinez has plans to make traffic flow better. None involves more roads. The previous administration, led by Mayor Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, built a second level for part of the Periferico, but the cost was so high that it contributed to his defeat in last year's presidential race.

"We don't intend to make our city like Houston , Dallas or Los Angeles , a city filled with freeways," Martinez says.

Mexico City will never tear down entire neighborhoods, as Los Angeles did decades ago.

"We're carrying this cultural burden of our past, which is still present," Martinez says.

So the Peripheral Highway curves sharply around one 17th century church near my home. People who enter Mexico City from the main highway to the north are summarily dumped onto what is said to be the longest continuous street on the planet: Avenida Insurgentes. When the highways opened in the mid-20th century, there was simply no room for Los Angeles-style onramps and offramps.

"The city grew in a contradictory manner, and people built things just thinking of the needs of the moment," Martinez says. "They thought Avenida Insurgentes would be able to handle all the traffic coming in from the north."

Still, Martinez thinks Mexico City is no different from other places he's visited. "All megalopolises are like this," he says.

The other day he visited his relatives in Los Angeles . He was surprised to discover that they eat breakfast in their cars. He raises his eyebrows in disapproval — no one ever does that in Mexico City .

Much later, the explanation occurs to me: It's impossible to eat in your car in Mexico City . There are too many speed bumps.

What if I just …

I guide my car over five speed bumps and past two traffic signals on the way to my daughter's preschool.

There are a few stop signs, too, but everyone rolls past them, as though they had been put up in the era of the horse and buggy and don't apply to the 21st century.

The other day I stopped at one. Why not, I thought. Old habits die hard.

Honk! Honk! Honk! I looked in my rear-view mirror at a growing line of cars behind me. Go! Go! Just go! their horns shouted.

But I can't, I pantomimed back. Look, it's a red octagon, the universal symbol for stop.

Honk! Honk! Honk!

So I did what any self-respecting chilango does several times each day: I simply plunged forward.

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Nashville residents push for English-first law

Immigrants have given Music City USA a new sound: foreign languages. Residents who don't like what they hear say there oughta be a law.

By Richard Fausset

Times Staff Writer

April 4, 2007

NASHVILLE — MAKE no mistake: This is still Guitar Town , and the cavernous Nashville Used Music store is proof. Here, amid rows of new and used six-strings, one finds country music veterans, hirsute rock dudes and honky-tonk strivers picking away most hours of the day in a gloriously dissonant jumble of twang.

But in a back corner, co-owner Charlie Shrader has been stocking, in ever-growing numbers, the gaudy symbols of the new Nashville : the Gabbanellis.

That is, Gabbanelli brand push-button accordions — bright, spangled things, some tricked out in the red, white and green stripes of the Mexican flag, and all marketed to the norteño and cumbia musicians who play an altogether different kind of country music.

It is a businessman' s response to a changing clientele: The percentage of foreign-born residents in Nashville and the surrounding county has quadrupled since 1990. Today, the Census Bureau estimates as many as 1 in 10 of Nashville 's 549,850 household residents are foreign-born, lending a cosmopolitan flair to an area that, like many in the South, was long defined in the old racial binary of black and white.

The newcomers to what was once billed as Music City USA are Ethiopians, Somalis, Bosnians and Iraqis — including what is believed to be the largest Kurdish population in the United States. Most, however, are Latino. Shrader's store is on Nolensville Road , a long commercial strip on Nashville 's south side that locals now call Little Mexico. In the last six months, he has hired two Spanish-speaking workers to deal with his new customers.

"That's the way it is," Shrader said. "You either go with the flow, or you don't go at all."

The influx of foreign-born residents has been "rapid and dramatic," said Vanderbilt University sociologist Daniel B. Cornfield. However, he noted, it has only brought Nashville in line with the national average.

Still, immigration tensions didn't command center stage until recently, with a proposal for an "English first" law, which would restrict local government to communicating in the native tongue of Milton and Mel Tillis.

A version of the law — which allowed use of other languages in a few limited situations — was approved this year by the Nashville-Davidson County Metropolitan Council. But it was vetoed by Mayor Bill Purcell, who said it would make the city "less safe, less friendly and less successful."

Supporters have since vowed to launch a signature drive for a 2008 ballot referendum.

Tennessee 's capital is not the first American city to pass such a law, but it is the largest. The measure's sponsor, Councilman Eric Crafton, said he introduced it in response to "pent-up frustrations" over the federal government's failure to curb illegal immigration. He also said it would spur immigrants to learn English faster.

But the debate has widened to encompass questions about the kind of city Nashville hopes to become. In the last few years, a different kind of international flavor — that of foreign business and investment — has become a key part of Nashville 's thriving economy. Many civic leaders do not want to spoil a good thing with a law that might seem unwelcoming.

Others — perhaps unsurprisingly in this foundry of heartland song and symbol — are worried about the fate of the culture that was here before.

Councilman Jim Gotto, who supports the proposal, sees some "disturbing parallels" between today's immigration trends — particularly illegal immigration — and those that preceded the decline of the Roman Empire.

"I welcome the people who come here legally, and it's kind of fun having the different flavors," he said. "At the same time, we don't have to lie down and give up our culture and heritage."

NASHVILLE was a frontier settlement, founded in 1779 on the banks of the Cumberland River by white pioneers who traveled west from North Carolina . It thrived as a port city and railroad hub, and, later, an insurance and healthcare center. The music industry flourished with the nationwide broadcast of the Grand Ole Opry radio show in 1932, and the rise of a number of recording studios and publishing houses.

Nashville 's close ties to country music make for a unique calling card, but one that offers a somewhat distorted image. The great populist troubadours of Music Row have long shared the city with the scholars of Vanderbilt University and an influential moneyed class that earned its wealth in more traditional industries.

Nashville had pockets of sophistication, but not diversity. With the exception of a wave of German immigrants who settled in the 1800s, foreign-born residents were a rarity for years here, the result of the city's distance from the two coasts, as well as strict immigration policies imposed by the federal government for much of the 20th century.

"When I grew up in Nashville in the '50s, we had black people and white people," said novelist Sallie Bissell, a Nashville native who lives in North Carolina . "Mexicans to me were as exotic as gypsies. If they'd walked down my street, I'm sure everybody would have walked outside and watched."

There were ripples of change in the 1970s and '80s. In 1975, a state chapter of Catholic Charities USA began resettling refugees from Vietnam and Laos . Since then, the group has brought nearly 20,000 refugees from these and other troubled countries to Nashville and the surrounding area. Japanese businessmen became a fixture starting in 1980, when then-Gov. Lamar Alexander lured a Nissan plant to nearby Smyrna , Tenn.

The first Latino immigrants arrived in significant numbers in the late 1980s, and their numbers have grown since. They were attracted by an economy that was flourishing, thanks in great part to global trade.

As car and car-parts makers gravitated from Rust Belt to Sun Belt, Nashville became a major trading hub. In the last five years, the 10-county area saw more than 450 companies relocate or expand into the region, attracted by low taxes and good weather. Thirty-nine were foreign-owned — among them Nissan Motor Co., which announced in November 2005 that it was moving its North American headquarters from Gardena, Calif.

Houses, malls and sports venues sprouted up along the way, and many immigrants were there to do the building.

In a matter of years, a city that had only a couple of Mexican restaurants could count more than 100, according to Conexion Americas, a local immigrant support group. Many compete for customers along two bustling commercial strips in south Nashville , Nolensville Road and Murfreesboro Pike — where Spanish is only one of the languages spoken.

For years, these wide streets played host to a utilitarian mix of used-auto lots, muffler shops and small restaurants whose signs were all in English. Today, Kurdish halal butchers share the streets with Mexican tire shops and Somali lunch counters blaring Al Jazeera TV. Rick Q. Vu, a Vietnamese American dentist, advertises in the Spanish-language newspaper, and draws 1 in 5 customers from the Latino community.

Down the street, a former Catholic Charities worker from Sri Lanka , Patricia Paiva, runs Aurora Bakery and Cafe, where she cranks out authentic Mexican pan dulce: mantecadas, guayabas, polvorones. She also assembles baklava, writes Amharic messages on birthday cakes, and offers English classes for her mostly Latino staff.

"All of those people know that if they want to get ahead, they've got to speak English," Paiva said. "And they do learn."

Print-shop worker John Taylor, a Nashville native, is worried that the new immigrants are not making enough of an effort to mingle, sticking to their own languages and settling in hermetic enclaves. To him, it feels like something the South has had enough of: segregation.

"I don't like the cordoning off of people," said Taylor , 34. "I'm not a big thumper for civil rights and what MLK did, but it was the right thing to do."

Mechanic Randy Bruce, 49, has been frustrated watching the old Nashville change before his eyes.

"It doesn't matter who you call or where you go — you can't understand anybody; convenience stores, fast-food restaurants, " Bruce said. "When they came over, our forefathers wanted to be American. Nowadays nobody wants to. They want to come change our country."

CRAFTON, the councilman who wrote the English-first measure, is a 39-year-old homebuilder and Nashville native who met his wife in Japan while he was working toward a postgraduate degree from Tokyo 's Keio University . Last year, as his colleagues debated the proposal, he offered a few of his opinions on the subject — in fluent Japanese.

"I did that to drive home the point that if we don't have this legislation, at any point, anyone from any country could come in and not want to participate in English," he said. "And there you go — you'd have a big problem."

Residents on both sides of the language debate acknowledge that many immigrants and refugees have been warmly received in Nashville . Southern hospitality is a point of civic pride here. It also helped that there have been enough jobs to go around, with unemployment averaging about 3.9% annually since 1990.

In recent months, police have noticed that some immigrants, particularly Latinos, have been singled out by criminals because they are believed to keep their money in cash, and are less likely to cooperate with authorities. Such motives appear to have driven a string of home invasion robberies this year, as well as a March 11 murder and attempted robbery, Nashville police spokeswoman Kristin Mumford said.

Nashville 's best template for coexistence is its civil rights history. But locals don't always agree how its lessons should be applied. In the 1950s and '60s, activists like the Rev. James Lawson pitched a high-profile campaign to desegregate the city. That struggle, though sometimes violent, was less traumatic than those in other Southern cities, thanks in part to a tradition of moderate political leadership.

Councilman Gotto suggests that it is opponents of illegal immigration who have the moral high ground this time.

"It's morally wrong for us as a nation to allow this and embrace this, because it does, in a way, enslave a group of folks," he said.

"It's not about being bigoted or prejudiced."

Gotto has drafted two other bills that would punish business owners and landlords for hiring or renting to illegal immigrants, based on similar laws passed in Hazleton, Pa., that are being challenged in federal court. Gotto said his proposals are on hold until the outcome of the case.

Many in Nashville 's business community fear such moves will create a big public relations problem, reminding outsiders — particularly, outside investors — of an Old South that was hostile to minorities.

"I think there are a lot of long-held beliefs out there with regard to the entire Southeast," said Christine Karbowiak, a vice president at Japanese tire maker Bridgestone Corp., which runs its Americas operation out of Nashville.

The English proposal in particular, she said, "sends a very negative message to the international community."

SO the city waits, watches and listens for ripples in the culture, the cuisine, the language, and even the music.

The sounds that came from here have always been a hybrid of black and white, sacred and secular, city and country. Mexican music has been an influence too: Johnny Cash famously added mariachi-style horns to "Ring of Fire" after hearing them in a dream.

On a recent weekday morning, Shrader, the music store owner, listened closely to a CD that one of his Mexican employees was blasting through a PA system. It was a norteño arrangement, with Spanish lyrics.

The words were a mystery to Shrader, but the melody was like an old friend: It was "Cotton Fields," the old Lead Belly song that had been covered by the likes of Bill Monroe and Buck Owens.

The accordion players might not be jamming with the Anglo cowboys yet, Shrader said. But this song hinted at the possibilities.

"One day," he said, "there may be some blending here."

Urban Eats:

" East Los Angeles Farmer's Market" every Saturday from 9AM TO 1PM

Features fruits and vegetables grown locally by local farmers. In addition, you'll find one of a kind creations offered by local artisans and meet representatives from local community organizations.

Location: First Street (between Rowan and Ditman).

Homegirl Café!

1818 East First Street

LA, CA. 90014

Mama's Hot Tamale Cafe

7th Street across from Macarthur Park

Visit LUF on Myspace.com/LatinoUrbanForum

blog.Myspace. com/latinourbanforum

To post events, activities or meetings that promote planning, cultural or dialogue contact James Rojas at 213 892-0918 or email Latinourbanforum@yahoo.com Please submit post in word.


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