City Council Candidate May Have to Prove English Fluency

City Council Candidate May Have to Prove English Fluency


One city council candidate may have to prove her English proficiency before the ballots are printed for a March election.

San Luis council members approved a motion on Wednesday asking for the verification of Alejandrina Cabrera's proficiency in the English language.

Former mayor Guillermina Fuentes was the person who questioned the candidate according to City Attorney, Glenn Gimbut.

"She made a formal complaint and her opinion was that one of the candidates could not read, speak or write English sufficiently enough to be a member of the city council," says Gimbut.

Gimbut says he doesn't want to be considered as a "Russell Pearce, (the creator of SB 1070)

but says it's necessary for any person seeking to be a part of the city council to be fluent in English.

Mayor Juan Carlos Escamilla says his English isn't perfect but he still voted in favor of looking to verifying Cabrera's fluency.

"I feel I don't dominate 100%, but I can still get by, I can write, read and understand it very well. But that's why I am not the expert and that's why I directed staff to look into it," says Escamilla.  

Gimbut says it's not only required by law, but by the nature of the work and council activities.... 

"We are completely redoing our zoning code, the drafts have been circulated, there have been public hearings, and council will be adopting law within the next 60 days. That's 125 pages of intricate material, you need to be able to read it, write it, understand it to be able to talk about it and be able to make decisions concerning it," says Gimbut.

"Were not a small community anymore like we were 15 to 20 years ago and it is one of the minimal requirements, that is why it is important to be able to truly represent our community," says Escamilla.  

Gimbut is investigating the case, and says the city is acting quickly to resolve the matter.

Alejandrina Cabrera has not returned NEWS 13's phone calls to comment.

Gimbet says a scheduling conference for this case has been set for next week at the Yuma County Superior Court before Judge Nelson.


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