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Probe: Feb. 14, 2002

February 14, 2002

N O HABLA ESPA--OL — My wife grew up in Brawley. When her 90-year-old grandmother needed help we moved to Brawley. I had been employed at Toys R Us in Colorado for five years. My Colorado boss called the Calexico store, the only Toys R Us in the county, and asked if the store could work me in.

I worked as hard as I could but after five weeks, two days before Christmas, they let me go. Although I had had five years experience, I never knew what was going on in the Calexico store. Everything was in Spanish. Even announcements over the intercom were in Spanish.

Of course there are two sides to every coin. I know a woman who is the only bilingual in a farming office with 20 employees. She translates for both the English and Spanish speakers. The translating takes so much time she's getting behind in her own work. Her job may be on the line. — Monolingual, Brawley

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Supervisor Jose Velasquez said the Calexico store has three employees who don't speak Spanish and five who speak no English among a work force of 37.

EARLY TO RISE — I usually sleep until 7:30 a.m. but this morning I got a call at 5:30 a.m. from P&J Communications, the Encinitas early riser. I could have dealt with that but I immediately got three back-to-back calls from a number identified on my caller ID as "Healthy Back." — Nodding Off, Imperial

You gotta give it to those telemarketers. They get up early. But that early-rising fax machine and others calling at ungodly hours may be breaking the law.

We're expecting a call today from a Pacific Bell spokesman who will tell us what you can do about it. When we know we will let you know!

A SUPPLEMENTAL CHECK — You're right, the woman who got hurt while working for the county's in-home services should have received an increase in her welfare check due to her reduced income.

We will refigure her budget and give her a supplemental check. If she needs it right away, she can pick it up at the Department of Social Services. Otherwise we'll mail it to her and she'll get it in a couple days. — Program Supervisor, El Centro

Happy Valentine's Day! You deserve a big chocolate heart for getting to the bottom of this so quickly. There's no time to spare when the cupboard is bare and the kids are crying from hunger.

ANOTHER SIGN DOWN — I don't want to tell you who I support for office. I had my candidate's sign in my yard. Somebody came by, peeled the sign off the sign board and threw it on the ground. I think that's vandalism … and a violation of my right to express my opinion, my right to free speech. What can I do? — Political Supporter, Heber

Call the cops, or in your case, the Imperial County Sheriff's Office. Just don't get petulant if the deputies don't get too excited. Tearing down a political sign or posting one on somebody else's property is a time-honored tradition, although such acts violate the law. It's just local politics but all politics are local, said the late Tip O'Neal when he was speaker of the House of Representatives. He was right. The actions taken by our hometown city councils, county supervisors and school boards affect our lives as much, or more, than the lofty acts of Congress.

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