Board of Supes Being Investigated by DOJ Over Failure to Provide Language Services

The first thing we thought upon reading the August 11 letter from Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas to the Department of Justice about his enemies, the Board of Supervisors, was this:

Thomas actually cares about this issue?

Sure, we get the infantile messing-with-the-county part. That's been going on between these foes for months. But we don't really see Thomas losing sleep over the Supes' alleged harassment of Spanish speakers and failure to provide language services.

After all, Thomas has been engaged in a court battle for a couple of years to stop Spanish-language DUI courts.



Not to take away from the serious complaints alleged in a March DOJ letter to the Board.

Here's an excerpt:




But surely in some parallel universe, where Thomas and the Board ended up good buddies (except for Wilcox), Thomas would be defending the Board against these allegations.

After all, the law may require a reasonable level of language services, but not necessarily the one advocated by an activist quoted in an Arizona Republic article on the subject:

"People couldn't express themselves during public comment because they had to translate, and the chairman of the board didn't give extra time to do a translation," activist Raquel Terán said. "One minute of speaking in Spanish is another taken up translating in English. They (Spanish-speakers) don't get equal time during the public comment."

That could be seen as equal time -- or twice as much time. And how much money will all these services cost? We'd bet that Thomas would love to prepare a siege for this kind of federal investigation. Instead, out of spite, he wants to help the county by kicking it when its down.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.