Charter change proposal calls for language equality in Philadelphia

 City Council President Darrell Clarke (Emma Lee/NewsWorks Photo, file)

City Council President Darrell Clarke (Emma Lee/NewsWorks Photo, file)

A Philadelphia City Councilwoman wants more of city government more accessible to those who don’t speak English.

Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez wants to mandate that all offices coming up with “language access plans” to ensure language barriers don’t keep residents from city services.

“A real language access plan,” she said. ‘One that would allow the departments to plan some goals and achieve them and that they are monitored to insure that the new immigrant friendly Philadelphia is speaking to all of its constituents.”

Quinones-Sanchez says Mayor Michael Nutter has demanded such access through executive orders, but her proposed change to the city charter would solidify it for the future.

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“We want to embed this, infuse it so that any mayor coming in we are not subjected to just a mayor’s executive order but a real policy that is measured every year,” she said. 

If approved the change could go before the voters on the spring 2015 ballot.

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