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HICKENLOOPER FIRES BACK AT TANCREDO – MAYOR DENIES CITY’S LIBRARIES ARE BEING TILTED TOWARD SPANISH

Rocky Mountain News (CO) – Friday, June 24, 2005
Author/Byline: Clayton Woullard , Rocky Mountain News
Edition: Regional
Section: News
Page: 32A
Mayor John Hickenlooper fired back at concerns raised by U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo over what the Littleton Republican claims is the Denver Public Library’s shift toward providing Spanish-language services.

In a letter addressed to the congressman, Hickenlooper said concerns outlined in a Tuesday letter from Tancredo were unfounded.

“It is unfortunate that your sources, in whom you must have put much faith, conveyed to you such false and erroneous information,” Hickenlooper said in his letter.

“Whether it was an innocent lack of knowledge on their part, or outright deception, it does not help you do your difficult job,” the mayor said.

Tancredo sent his letter with 12 questions he said were based on concerns his office received from patrons and library employees regarding the library system’s Spanish language policies.

One of the questions asks whether the Denver Public Library has plans to convert 10 to 65 percent of its book and periodical holdings in several branches to Spanish language materials.

“No, the Denver Public Library is not implementing any plan to convert its branch libraries to Spanish language centers,” Hickenlooper said in the letter, adding that any such library service would be to help Spanish speakers learn English.

The mayor also denied that English language books were being thrown in the trash to make room for Spanish language books, that only library employees who are fluent in English and Spanish will be eligible for raises and that the Denver Public Library is helping undocumented immigrants buy homes, all concerns raised in Tancredo’s letter.

Will Adams, a spokesperson for the congressman, said Thursday that while Tancredo found many of the mayor’s answers to be vague, he had no plans to rebut Hickenlooper’s letter point by point.

“We just don’t think it’s fruitful to start a war of press releases,” Adams said.

He said the congressman was grateful the mayor said there are no plans for a Spanish-language library branch and that there is no proposed mill levy for a library district that would include a Spanish language center.

“We’re glad that we’ve raised the issue,” Adams said.

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