The mayor of an Arizona border town won’t attend a meeting of mayors from each side of the border because the invitation was written in both English and Spanish, which he referred to as “Mexican.”
Mayor Ken Taylor of Huachuca City, Arizona said using both languages was an indication America was putting other countries first, which he called “a disgrace.”
"I will NOT attend a function that is sent to me in Spanish/Mexican,” Taylor wrote in response to the invitation to a meeting of the U.S.-Mexico Border Mayors Association. “One nation means one language and I am insulted by the division caused by language.”
John Cook, executive director of the organization and former mayor of El Paso, Texas, sent the message. He said he was taken aback by the hostile response to the invitation, which he told Taylor was written in both English and Spanish to be sure members of the bi-national organization understood it.
"The purpose of the Border Mayors Association is to speak with one voice in Washington, D.C., and Mexico City about issues that impact our communities, not to speak in one language,” Cook wrote back to Taylor. “My humble apologies if I ruffled your feathers."
Huachuca City is about 20 miles from the Mexican border with only 1,900 inhabitants.
Even after Cook offered to remove Taylor from the email list, the Huachuca City mayor continued to email Cook about his opposition to the bilingual communication.
"America is going 'Down Hill' fast because we spend more time catering to others that are concerned with their own self interests. It is far past time to remember that we should be 'America First' ... there is NOTHING wrong with that. My feathers are ruffled anytime I see anything American putting other countries First,” Taylor wrote. “The only thing I care to get from Mexico is an apology to our Nation in English and actual action that stops the carnage spilling over the border into our homes.”
Cook told Taylor he was sorry the mayor didn’t understand the importance of the bi-national association’s work to jointly address challenges on both sides of the border, to which Taylor responded “I am sorry you don't properly comprehend 'America First.'”
Another area mayor, Rick Mueller of Sierra Vista, Arizona, told the El Paso Times he was surprised by Taylor’s hostility over the invitation. He said cross-border aggression is not an issue for his town.
“We don’t have that same attitude here, we are very welcoming here,” Mueller said. “I don’t understand the issue [Taylor] has with it. Again, I really don’t feel comfortable saying anything else without talking to Mayor Taylor first, but I will say that is not the attitude we get from other mayors around this area. Quite frankly, I am really surprised that Mayor Taylor has an issue. Nobody else around here has those issues.”