The Daily Pulse:

Knox Chamber Opposes English-Only Bill

Knoxville Chamber of Commerce CEO Mike Edwards has signed a letter sent to members of the state legislature asking that they vote down a bill that would require driver's license exams to be given almost exclusively in English.

The bill includes an amendment to allow foreign nationals here on business visas to take the exam in any language, but the state's Chambers of Commerce still worry the measure sends a xenophobic message that will hurt investment in and relocation to the state. The measure has passed out of the transportation committees in the House and Senate.
Democratic House Majority Leader Rep. Mike Turner said there's a misconception regarding who the legislation targets:

"I think the public thinks this is targeted at illegal immigrants, and we should be trying to stop illegal immigrants from driving," he said. "But this bill is actually targeted at legal immigrants. We need to make sure we're accommodating these foreign companies that are putting so much money in our state."

Comments » 10

  • April 08, 2010
  • 12:53 PM
Nashmusic writes:

Isn't our country great!!!!

We can agree to disagree on policy and do it in English. I don't need a translator, someone to hold my hand or coddle me.

Bridgestone is not being truthful or American, as I see it.

Funny neither you or the company wants to address the merits of the 3/14/10 article that appeared in the Tennessean, page 2B.

Forcing American assembly line "type" workers to retire or take a pay cut by threat of shutting the plant down and then pay out bonuses to executives. Please! That's American?

The chambers are on their similar kick that foreign businesses will not come. No evidence of that whatsoever!

Please, they come because of tax credits and rebates, not because language (XX) is offered on the exam. Most if NOT all the executives speak English, among many other languages.

As for the so called poverty center, read up on this.

Finally, since when can't a US based organization get involved in public policy that occurs within the United States of America?

Last I checked, this isn't East vs. West Berlin.

The legislation is about ensuring safety on our roads and saving thousands and thousands of taxpayer dollars. Hmm, why aren't the chambers (who are pro-business) interested in saving money?

Ulterior motives in the pot?

Eddie Garcia

-- Musician on tour.
-- American!

  • April 08, 2010
  • 3:14 PM
  • April 08, 2010
  • 3:33 PM
Nashmusic writes:

These chambers of commerce:

Call them and ask for evidence that foreign companies choose to come to the United States of America because the license exam is offered in multiple languages.

Nashville 615-743-3000
Knoxville 865-637-4550
Memphis 901-543-3500

I mean if the almighty chamber of commerce says it's so, then show me the money!

Just sayin'

Eddie Garcia

  • April 08, 2010
  • 4:04 PM
Frank Carlson writes:

You're kind of annoying , huh?

  • April 08, 2010
  • 4:42 PM
Nashmusic writes:

Yep, that's what my momma says.

Eddie, either you stand up for something or you fall for anything.

Enjoy your day, Frank!

  • April 08, 2010
  • 4:44 PM
Nashmusic writes:

To clarify an erroneous statement made by the reporter, I, as the lobbyist on this "only" legislation, I wasn't annoyed that the business (Bridgestone) sector offered the amendment allowing the business executives to have an exception. They approached the legislator and in the spirit of compromise, it grew feet.

HOWEVER, current TN law 55-50-331(g) already allows that so I guess the Bridgestone lobbyist was just earning his hefty and generous lobbying fee. See the entire list of lobbying fees paid by Bridgestone at

or more precisely at:

To be frank, it is quite redundant and a waste of time to reiterate the concept of the amendment when current law provides for the exception.

Again, the point to make is that:

When ANYONE, even if we found life on Mars and the inhabitants wanted to move and live in the USA, once you chose to be a permanent resident in the USA (TN), the exam to have the privilege of driving would be administered in English for safety.

To correct the various chambers' CEOs, you can continue wasting taxpayer dollars and keep making our roads unsafe. Oh yea, before you go there, regarding your point that there is no data indicating that knowing English will make one a safer driver, not only is it common sense, but prior to the anti-texting law taking effect, there was no data on that either. But yet, it was a good idea.

Prior to seat-belt enforcement, there was no data on that either. But yet, it was a good idea.

Prior to MADD being created, drunk driving wasn't on any radar that it was dangerous (even though it was common sense). Again, a great idea.

I think I will go count the number of English written signs our tour bus encounters on this road. Just hope the other drivers don't crash into my bus because they can't read or understand, "Caution: Road Ahead Uneven or Narrow."

Gracias & Grazie!

Eddie Garcia

Read more: English-only group targets Bridgestone - Nashville Business Journal:

  • April 08, 2010
  • 7:00 PM
Nashmusic writes:

Gee, chambers of commerce...rather than spend your time and money fighting a safety legislative item, try this:

According to research conducted by the Greater Santa Ana Business Alliance:
Two-thirds of all local workers are English learners (not yet fluent).
Three-fourths of all Orange County businesses will not hire English learners.
This gap in workforce competency and employability is being addressed through the Business Alliance's English Works program, which includes a community campaign that is a collaboration of the Business Alliance and the Rancho Santiago Community College District. The goals:

Bolster the productivity and profitability of local businesses
Enhance the quality of life for local Latino residents

Advance the English literacy skills of up to 50,000 Santa Ana residents by the year 2010.

The English classes, which are available at over 70 locations across Santa Ana, are helping bring better employment opportunities and career advancement.


Eddie Garcia

  • April 08, 2010
  • 7:34 PM
Nashmusic writes:

To Ms. Karbowiak of Bridgestone Americas:

1. Why doesn't your highly compensated lobbyist address any of the legislative committees rather than resort to secret and closed-door meetings?

2. Re: your comment;
"this legislation sends a very negative message to the many existing international businesses in Tennessee.”
Would you please, expound on your comment? Because from my interviews of international companies, including your own, all the Bridgestone executives speak English in addition to their own native languages. This includes Nishiyama, Minardi and of course, Garfield.

They also have clearly stated that the reasons to come to the US and to choose one state over another is because of the tax credits, tax rebates and economic incentives.

3. Would you take a moment and explain the Tennessean's 3/14/10 article wherein your company forced American workers to take a pay cut or the plant would be shut down and then as a miracle of God, profits were up and ONLY executives received bonuses?


That's a bit unfair to the assembly line workers, the Americans, don't you think?

Eddie Garcia

Read more: English-only group targets Bridgestone - Nashville Business Journal:

Kingsport Times Supports HB 262

  • April 08, 2010
  • 7:48 PM
Nashmusic writes:

xenophobic, really?

There is nothing fearful in knowing and saying that English is the language that will give immigrants a fighting chance.

There is nothing fearful in knowing and saying that offering multiple languages (a buffet table) attracts foreign businesses. Do I have to educate a chamber of commerce on this subject? It is tax credits, rebates, and economic incentives given by states that entices foreign businesses to come and choose one state over another.

I have to admit that I skimmed right over the xenophobic reference. Big word!

  • April 08, 2010
  • 9:40 PM
Nashmusic writes:

what's the matter Frank, too annoying for you? Cat got your tongue?

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