Los Angeles Times

Wednesday, August 5, 1998

Official Business / Courts and Government
City to Support Lawsuit Against Proposition 227

After a third spirited debate over Proposition 227, the anti-bilingual education law, the Los Angeles City Council agreed Tuesday to join a lawsuit opposing the controversial measure.
     The council essentially voted to file an amicus brief in the case, but not to join the main litigants.
     But a majority of the council members said they firmly believe that the city must make a stand on the issue because they say it affects city residents.
     Councilman Richard Alatorre spoke with particular passion against the law, urging his colleagues to stand up for the civil rights of children and not to be afraid to go against a majority of voters.
     "There are some issues sometimes where you have to disagree with the general public," he said. "If it was wrong yesterday, it is wrong today."
     Before the June 2 election, the council had voted to oppose the measure. But some lawmakers expressed reservations about joining in a lawsuit against voters who overwhelmingly approved the measure.
     The council voted 11 to 3 to join the lawsuit, with members Hal Bernson, Cindy Miscikowski and Rudy Svorinich dissenting.
Prop. 227 effectively kills the bilingual program in public schools.
     Councilwoman Jackie Goldberg, a former teacher and school board member, said she believes that bilingual education is akin to special education or gifted programs.
     "I don't think it can be voted away," Goldberg said.