"Sorry about grandpa; 84-year old Kang Chun Wong who had a conflict with the police and was arrested. The police should have been more sensitive to the elderly, period, but there was a lack of communication. However, Wong must bear some of the responsibility.
He has been in this country nearly fifty years and has not voluntarily learned or was mandated to learn English. However, tax payers are still obligated for providing him a translator. He speaks Spanish and Cantonese only.
It is not feasible for millions of New Yorkers to learn every language; some of which are: Albanian, Cantonese, Creole, French, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Polish, Yeddish, Russian, Spanish, Mandarin, Ukrainian, Vietnamese, Bengali, Italian etc. etc. etc.
The only panacea to accommodate everyone is to speak the official language, English, for business purposes. People have the right to speak their language in other settings. No one should be asked to give-up their native language.
Imagine how offended and inconvenienced callers were during this situation. On Wednesday, 2/5/14, about 35 people and I were waiting on Merrick Boulevard for a bus.
22 minutes later, I called 311 for assistance. Imagine my frustration; an automated message came on in English. I was eager to speak to someone, but first I had to listen to a message in Spanish. Then and only then I was able to speak to a representative.
About two weeks ago I called the B/P office; Mr. La Mura answered the phone and put me on hold. While on hold, I was forced to listen to a message in Spanish only. When he returned I asked why do callers have to listen to Spanish only. He said, that he did not know and was not aware.
Other entitlement for Spanish speakers only not available to other foreign language speakers: social service application, access a ride system, metro cards with directions for emergency etc, etc, etc.
Governor Cuomo please put a stop to this DEPENDENCY that is a burden to tax payers and causes DIVISION in the process.
Let New Yorkers speak in one voice. That is ultimate EQUALITY.
To be continued." - Pamela Hazel