PROBE: Oct. 12, 2001

October 12, 2001

QUESTION: Have you seen the Cattle Call Rodeo billboards? The dates are wrong. I hope people don't show up at the arena Monday expecting to see bull riding. — Rodeo Fan, Brawley

You're right, but the Cattle Call Rodeo Committee knows about the mixup and it should be corrected Friday or over the weekend, said rodeo chairman Dan Williams.

Just remember, no matter what the signs say, the rodeo is set for Saturday and Sunday on Veterans Day weekend.

A BIT MISLEADING — Despite the claim that the top range of the salary scale for sign-language interpreters is $39 an hour, that's true only if you score high enough on the tests and live long enough.

The original rate that was settled July 10 was range 58 starting around $12 and going up to $26. The county said the test scores would not affect us in regard to our titles. Now they have changed our titles, our ranges and they have lied to us from the beginning. We're thinking a strike is possible. We hope it will not come to this but we have been pushed around enough. We are ready to fight back. We do not want trouble; we want only what's fair. — Signer, El Centro


You're right. A beginner hired at range 51 would make only $10.99 an hour. But that beginner would make a pretty decent wage if he or she scored high enough on the tests and stayed long enough to go up the steps. In 25 years he or she could be making $39 an hour.

Denise Smith, director of human resources at the Imperial County Office of Education, insists we were accurate in our first report about your salary issue.

Regina Vaught, president of the classified employees' association, says your group met and agreed to all the terms of the agreement.

But we agree the way it was explained to us. And the way we reported it, it was a bit misleading. Nobody is getting $39 or even $19 an hour, or even close to it.

If you stay long enough to reach range 76 and to complete your step raises, you will get it. Of course, you'll need the money for hair dye and wrinkle cream to keep up appearances.

SAY HELLO TO OMAR — We were speaking of the Arab influence in Spanish culture. I used to think names like Omar, Sofia and Fatima were Spanish names but now I know they are Arabic names that came from the Moors.

The Moors were in Spain for 800 years and they left many vestiges of their culture. For instance, the rosary is not Catholic. It came from the Moors.

In northern Europe, women did not cover their heads in church. That custom was followed only down south in Italy and Spain and finally Mexico and South America. The mantilla evolved from the Arab veil.

Remember during the years of conquest in the New World, only a quarter of the Spanish army and navy were Spaniards. The rest were Arabs and Sephardic Jews.

For instance, the word "el" to designate a masculine object or male comes from the Middle East. "El" is found in both the Hebrew and Arabic languages. — Closet Scholar, Calexico

We're going along with you because it's interesting and you may be right. We've also noticed that so much of what is beautiful in Spanish culture, like ceramic tiles, courtyards and fountains, have their origins in Arabic lands.

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