Vetos upset some voters
 Ventura County Star
 October 14, 2005

 By Frank Moraga
 Governor says no to bilingual ed, license bills

 Maybe it's the time of year, with Halloween just a few weeks away. Spooky things are happening in Sacramento and it could result in the
 "termination" of support for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger by a growing  number of Latino voters and those who support issues of importance to  the Latino community.
 On Oct. 7, the governor's office announced he would not sign into law  SB385, which would have allowed students the chance to gain English  proficiency within three years.
 Supporters of the bill say students need those three years to master  English. They believe immigrant students do much better in the long  term if they are allowed to ease into English-only studies and to  initially take tests in their mother language, say, in Spanish.
 The governor, however, said students should be thrown into the English  language as quickly as possible so they can take full advantage of the  American dream.
 "As an immigrant whose second language is English, I know the  importance of mastering English as quickly and as comprehensively as  possible, in order to be successful in the United States," Schwarzenegger stated in a press release. "This bill runs counter to  that goal by eliminating testing in English for  limited-English-proficient students until they have been in school in  the United States for three consecutive years. By requiring testing of  students in English only after three years, this bill would further  weaken incentives for LEP student and their schools to work towards  English proficiency. My administration shall continue to work on  behalf of English learners so that school districts, principals,  teachers, parents, and all students can concentrate on the goal of  improving student achievement," he said.
 But while becoming English-proficient as quickly as possible is an  admirable goal, some educators say it is just not feasible.
 "The annual fluency rate is less than 7 percent and it is taking an  average of seven years for only half of the students to become  fluent," said Denis O'Leary, a bilingual education teacher and a board member  of the Oxnard School District.
 To force the state to implement a long-term bilingual education  program, the Oxnard School District, nine other districts and the  League of United Latin American Citizens have filed a lawsuit in state  court. The lawsuit alleges that California has failed to comply with a  mandate of the federal "No Child Left Behind" law that English  learners be tested in a valid and reliable manner.
 The governor may have also lost support by some Latinos who want to  see undocumented immigrants get access to driver's licenses in  California.
 Oct. 7, the governor also vetoed a driver's license bill, SB60, saying  California should wait until the federal government finishes work on  new regulations for such licenses nationwide.
 "Enacting this bill will result in billions of dollars being spent on  a process that ultimately could conflict with federal regulations," Schwarzenegger said in his veto message.
 The bill was sponsored by state Sen. Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, who  has tried five times to get such a bill passed. Cedillo said the bill is needed to improve homeland security by requiring documentation of  illegal immigrants.
 Schwarzenegger vetoed a similar bill last year, saying the licenses  should have a different look to identify immigrants.
 To satisfy those concerns, the licenses for immigrants were designed  to look different than standard driver's licenses. The Department of  Motor Vehicles was also given eight months after the federal  regulations were enacted to begin issuing the licenses.
 However, Schwarzenegger said that still wasn't enough.
 "It is regrettable that the governor did not sign Senate Bill 60 into  law, even though the legislation addresses all of his concerns," Cedillo said. "It is also disappointing and offensive that the  governor vetoed this legislation during Latino Heritage Month, a time  when we celebrate the diverse and inclusive nature of our state."
 To be sure, not all Latinos in California support the move toward slow  and steady bilingual education, or driver's licenses for undocumented  immigrants. But a significant number do and that could spell further  trouble for Schwarzenegger who has already lost support from a variety  of groups since he has been in office.
 Many of those Latinos who thought it would be cool to have that  "Terminator" dude as governor may now be having serious second  thoughts.
 -- Frank Moraga is The Star's director of diversity and general  manager of Mi Estrella, The Star's bilingual weekly newspaper. He can be reached at