18 March, 2009

From three years ago.

A friend of mine with BP sent this to me last night:

The video is actually from three years ago, is on YouTube, and can be read about here from KATU and searching Google here.

When looking into this, I found the following via the portland independent media center (their exact spelling- not mine):
Anti-Immigrant Leader Wants Oregon to Burn
author: morojudio Leader of notorious anti-immigrant group in California wants Oregon to burn because of Latino firefighters
Barbara Coe to Oregon: "Burn, Baby, Burn"
Posted by Gustavo Arellano in Illegals, Illegals, Illegals!

It's easy to dismiss California Coalition for Immigration Reform president Barbara Coe as an anachronism, as a relic from the days when Mexicans and whites didn't go to school together and lippy minorities got lynched. But maybe there's something to that. Maybe Barbara Coe lives in a time warp, kind of like a Lost episode. Or maybe those cigarettes she chain-smokes have finally wrapped its nicotine around the area that governs one's sense of time.

Let me explain. Last week, Coe sent the following video to her minions:

This clip was originally aired in 2006, yet Coe treats it as a new development. "Expert AMERICAN firefighters laid off or demoted in Oregon because they do not speak Spanish, the language of the ILLEGAL ALIEN workers?" she wrote (as always, the caps are Babs'). "Since Oregon so hates AMERICAN firefighters, 'Have a nice life' while you 'Burn, Baby, Burn'."

Except...the story is bullshit. Last year, the Oregon Department of Forestry put out this bulletin to try and stop this urban legend for good. Of course, Babs treats facts like she does the idea that cigarette smoking is bad.
"Except", there was one problem with Gustavo's post (besides his derisive scorn of her being a smoker), there was NO link to the Oregon Department of Forestry's bulletin. So time to dig a bit further and this is what I found:
Language requirements

English is the language of wildland firefighting. It is the national standard. It is spoken in briefings and on two-way radios, and is the language of operating plans, reports and other documents.

Hispanic and Native American contract crews have operated in the west with bilingual leadership since the 1960s.

The number of Hispanic crews in the Northwest has increased markedly in recent years. A count of Spanish surnames on crew rosters suggests that about 85 percent of current contract firefighters are of Hispanic descent. This rough estimate doesn't indicate how many crew members speak English.

There is no contract requirement that supervisors on contract crews speak any language other than English. There is a requirement that supervisors be able to communicate with the workers for whom they are responsible. This is essential to ensure that all personnel are made aware of safety hazards that can develop quickly in firefighting.

Consequently, if private companies elect to hire crew members who do not speak English, those supervisors must be bilingual or multilingual.

Clackamas Community College in cooperation with ODF has developed a standardized language evaluation process to assure that crew supervisors of non-English speaking crews have adequate English language skills (reading and speaking) to operate safely and effectively in the all English language fire management environment.

The test will also assure they are able to translate important fire operations and fire safety information to their non-English speaking crewmembers.

This language skill assessment has been used to test 80 contract crew leaders this spring, with 40 more to be tested in July. The assessment will become a required element in contracts in 2007.

Clackamas Community College offers English language classes to those who do not pass the language test.

Public agencies have not found it necessary to require all frontline crew members to speak English. Bilingual supervision has proved successful in ensuring adequate crew safety and performance.

Due to the nature of the work, English proficiency is required for direct employment by ODF.

No ODF employees have been fired or demoted because of any language requirement; there is no requirement other than English proficiency for agency employees.
The entire bulletin can be read at the link above, but there is one more part of that bulletin that I wish to point out:
Recent rapid improvements
Progress includes:
  • Adding staff at ODF to more closely monitor firefighting contracts.
  • Refining standards, and sanctioning or disqualifying individuals and companies that do not meet them
  • Phasing in during the 2006 fire season of an interagency “best value” system. Bidding companies are ranked based on a set of criteria, including pricing and past performance, and contracts and dispatches to fires are given accordingly.
  • Increased partnership with industry groups and with state and federal agencies, including the state Bureau of Labor and Industries, OR-OSHA, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Read those points once again and pay close attention to the VERY last one. Why do they NEED to have an "Increase partnership..." with the "...U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement."? Does anyone think for a moment that there were NOT American firefighters who did not loose their jobs? Do I have proof, not in the least at this moment, but do know what bureaucratic double-speak is when I read it.

If anyone has any more information on this please pass it along.


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