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U.S. Constitution
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2004 11:25 am    Post subject: U.S. Constitution Reply with quote

Greetings! Very Happy

Allow me to introduce myself and my family. I'm a deaf individual, an entrepreneur, investor and developer. According to my deaf parents and family history book "hollar", I'm carrying the 7th generation of deafness in my family. My two deaf boys are proudly carrying the 8th generation label. I have deaf grandparents and at least 9 deaf aunts / uncles and a couple of deaf cousins. My wife, Crystal is deaf too, from Mississippi. Together we have three wonderful small children, with two deaf boys and a hearing daughter (age 10, 9 and 5). I've founded and operate several corporations since 1985. Currently we operate two enterprise corporations. We develop businesses, projects and real estate properties and have been doing it since 1989. By now it should be obvious as to why I'm interested in this ASL Town known as Laurent.

I just learned about this project, called Laurent Town, also known as ASL town. It's a brilliant idea with a lot of interest and energy. I, for one would buy a piece of land and build a home in this town because of the importance of symbol behind our effort even though it won't make much sense to savvy and successful investors. Simply because the property we buy and eventually decide to sell would be restricted to certain buyers that would qualify, those who will agree to convenants (requiring them to know ASL or learn ASL). The ROI (return on investment) potential for investment in Laurent would not equal to or exceed traditional investment opportunities in general areas. The power of marketing has always and will always lie with our ability to market toward the general society. The more buyers that are lined up to buy something from you the better it is. In Laurent we would not be able to sell our properties to just about anybody that's interested. If I understand correctly we'd be allowed to sell our properties only to people who are willing and interested in learning ASL. That's where I think the U.S. Constitution will come into the picture. Regardless of the lackluster in ROI (return on investment) I'd still buy a piece of land and build a home in Laurent, simply because I'm deaf and I'm proud of what we're capable of accomplishing. It's more of a SYMBOL, than anything else, which is very important because it'll show the world that we're very capable of operating at alll evels including running our own local government and coordinate projects with neighboring towns / communities as well as coordinate services with State and Federal agencies. It's a wonderful way to educate the public, just as Gallaudet UNiversity have done for us in the education field.

However, the issue of U.S. Constitution does cross my mind and begin to question our constitution rights when we're talking about an incorporated town. The U.S. Constitution would play a lesser role in this matter if it was only a community that's not incorporated. But if it's incorporated and does become an official town and a legal entity in State's eye then we would not be able to or allowed to discriminate against anybody that speak different languages, including but not limited to the race and gender. I'd be interested in finding out if there is a single Incorporated town in United States that are able to discriminate against certain people in our soceity such as language they use or pefer. I doubt there is such incorporated town in United States simply because the U.S. Constitution simply do not allow it. However, if we do not incorporate ourselves as a town, opting for a lesser status such as "community" operating solely on private properties then this dream is definitely possible.

Now this raise a new question. Are we able to purchase a large piece of land and build a community, only allowing our ASL residents to participate? Yes, if we're not incorporated as a town. It's possible as long as we are able to financially support the needs and wants of our community, independent of State and federal funds. In order to discriminate between ASL users and non-ASL users we first would have to be independent of State and Federal funds. Therefore it won't be cheap but it's possible once we become united in our effort. But for as long as we become dependent upon the State or Federal funds in any capacity then we're obligated, by law to recognize and follow U.S. Constitutions.

BUt if we're determined to incorporate an ASL town then let's create some scenarios and think about it. It's true that we could always purchase a large piece of land and incorporate a new town, that of ASL town, Laurent Tonw or whatever. The ASL users would be able to buy properties and build a home, start a business or whatever they normally would do in a new town. But when someone decide to sell their holdings / assets to somebody that does not know ASL or does not have any interest in learning ASL... what will happen? If I died and gave the house to my nephew who does not sign and does not have any interest in ASL then what? Will the City of Laurent be able to discriminate against potential buyers every time there's a concern that the potential buyer does not have any real interest in ASL? No, we would not be allowed to discriminate against anybody. Does the U.S. Constitution allow a city to discriminate against people based on their language preferences? No. Will the City of Laurent and their general residents discriminate against this buyer if this person managed to buy a piece of land or home inside Laurent and refuse to learn ASL or even use it? Will this individual file a lawsuit against Laurent and it's citizens for discrimination? There are many legal issues involved and many are related to U.S. Constitution, especially if we're an incorporated town.

It's true that we could always lower our standard down the road and become more tolerable. Let's say, we allow anybody to buy a land or build a home in Laurent but we would encourage them or expose them to ASL including our culture.... and they don't seem to mind. Let's say this hearing family (non-asl user) decided to buy a place in Laurent and basically nod their heads to get their foot into Laurent and start to live there full time but refuse to learn ASl and never learn it. What do we do? Do we black ball them? Do we refuse to provide service for them? Do we look at them with ugly faces or make ugly gestures toward them? Do we poke fun at them? Could or should the City of Laurent find a way to expel them? If we start this silly game it'll only give Laurent a bad name. If it happen do we just leave them alone and muster toward our greater goal? If we ignore and continue to muster then this town will eventually become normal and function just like our neighbor town as it stand today.

I've personally visited numerous native american (indian) reservations in Canada, Montana, Idaho, Utah, Nevada and Arizona as well as New Mexico. In most case they are not allowed to sell their land or houses (real estate properties / interests) toward non- native americans. They are only allowed to sell toward others who are partly indian or greater. Therefore the value of their holdings, home or land are minimum at best. Native Americans investors do not look inside their reservation to invest and develop. Instead they are looking outside of reservation to invest into. It gave me an idea as to what an ASL town would be like if we're only allowed to sell our land / home or business to people who are willing to learn or use ASL, creating a limited world for ourselves... maybe even isolation.

Once again I can't help it but wonder about our U.S. Constitution and the things we are allowed to do and not allowed to do as an incorporated town. It's a brilliant idea but there's so much to learn and understand before we tackle something like this. And I won't be afraid to buy a piece of land in Laurent and build a home, just for the sake of symbol of our ability to perform tasks and experience success. It's a powerful way to show the world as to what we're capable of doing for ourselves. But be aware.... if we screw this one up and fail, they'll always remember it. One of my favorite quote is, "It take a lifetime to build a reputation but only few seconds to ruin it". The same will be true for the City of Laurent and it's citizens.

All the best,
Barry Sewell
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2004 12:14 pm    Post subject: Restrictions Reply with quote


I really, really appreciate your excellent post and I see your point in some areas.

Its very important to note that we have no plans to require that residents or buyers be signers or "signers to be". Everything will be "open" to the public. Anyone can buy lots, homes and businesses in the town.

We have devised an effective tool to ensure that the town remains a signing friendly town for many years to come is this:

We will incorporate a town charter or ordinance requiring all businesses and service providers in town to be fully accessible to sign language — front end and back end operations as well. Also, anyone desiring to run for political office within the city or apply for city jobs (city hall, public safety and etc) will be required to have advanced or intermediate skill level determined by Sign Communication Proficiency Interview (SCPI) or whatever new and improved evaluation methods in the future.

Businesses would best determine how they will meet that minimum standard required. In other words, we're just enacting a stronger and local version of Americans with Disabilities Act — one that addresses communication barriers.

Now, we will probably have people who has no desire to learn sign language buying homes in the town because they are beautiful, walkable and provides better sense of place than they can find elsewhere. However, it would generally be the people who are highly interested in the signing community who would be buying homes and businesses there.

Buying a home or business requires considerable investment and commitment and its something that one does not make lightly. One considers the type of community they're buying into, quality of schools, etc before they buy.

As for "limited" return on investment, I would completely disagree here. But that's a whole another topic for discussion. Smile

Marvin Miller
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2004 1:28 pm    Post subject: Variable Points and Vews Reply with quote


Thanks for the reply. And especially for the clarification on the proposed criterias of Laurent's future citizens. It was helpful to know that anybody could buy lots, homes and businesses in Laurent regardless of their interest or ability to sign, we can improve the ROI (return on investment) scenario. That was the primary point of my original posting, questioning the ROI factor when and if we're limited only to citizens who who sign or will learn how to sign. But you've removed that barrier by opening the door to the public, making it attractive for general investors, including myself.

I like the concept now that you've explained it. Signing friendly town is a good term to use. I agree Laurent could become a model town for thousand other cities that are struggling or experiencing problems with ADA regulations and policies such as access to equal communication. Better yet we'd be able to start from the very beginning and incorporate all of these very important issues into our by-laws rather than trying to overlay new laws upon old laws and incorporate them into old ideas and old policies and systems, which is also a reciepe for disaster in numerous instances.

I also agree with you that the people with direct or indirect interest in sign language would be likely interested in Laurent than a regular hearing Joe would. And of course, you and I know that there will always be a possibility for the town to start out as a pro-signing community and eventually become dominated by non-signers down the road, simply because of the rights of any individual to come in and purchase a piece of heaven. And it's a possibility and a fact that we'll have to accept and understand from the very beginning. As long as our future citizens of Laurent are aware of this poissibility and do not feel threatened or have the desire to try and remove or reject "hearing Joes" then I don't see a problem with this model.

You said it perfectly when you said "Buying a home or business requires considerable investment and commitment and its something that one does not make lightly. One considers the type of community they're buying into, quality of schools, etc before they buy.". You're absoluetly right and I totally agree. And it's also important to try and recruit savvy and successful investors who could make a difference for Laurent. Amateur investors who do not have a proven track record of solid and successful investment record would not know any better and would be among the first people to jump onboard and that is precisely what could cause problems for the ship and make it difficult to stay afloat, if you get my meaning. These amateur investors will also be the first one to cry foul and rock the ship, due to their lack of knowledge and experience as an investor. It's only natural. I would jump onboard in a heart beat not because I think it's going to be a rock-solid investment opportunity, at least not yet, but because I believe in the importance of symbol, not just to exercise the privilege to dream and pursue our goals, but to accomplish them. We'll need to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

As it is with everything else in this life, careful policy and strategy planning as well as research are essential in one quest for success. Discipline is also mandatory and necessary. Without any question, we deaf people are perfectly capable of these tasks. Let's gather up all the right people and ultimately make this baby work.

All the best,
Barry Sewell
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Sarah Hafer

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2004 12:11 pm    Post subject: A teensy-bitsy response about SCPI Reply with quote


Nothing big to reply to here, but I thought I would let you know that you probably would want to keep SCPI out of the picture. I suggest that you use ASLPI (ASL Proficiency Interview). SCPI does not suffice you enough information about ASL itself as ASLPI does. It is because SCPI will even give you a rating if you excel at gesturing with non-signers or poor signers back and forth with them as to seeing that a successful communication happens. SCPI also includes Signed English. ASLPI focuses only on the language itself, ASL.

"To be perfect is to be yourself."

"It takes a complex mind to create a simple mind."
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2004 8:17 am    Post subject: I agree with Sewell Reply with quote

I agree with Sewell about U.S. Constitution. Laughing Marvin is wrong about this one. Crying or Very sad We can not dominate a town government based on language preference. We can not control any single factor of an incorporated town based on sign language preferences. The US Constitution does not allow such thing to operate under the Incorporporation Hat. Rolling Eyes I have an advice Laughing for Marvin. Get a lawyer Twisted Evil that specialize in Arrow US Constitution and they'll tell you right off the bat as to what you can do and can't do with an incorporated town. The lawyer Twisted Evil that you presently have apparently does not specialize in US Constitution because if they were you would not have come this far and believed that it was legal and possible to dominate a town based on language preference. Sorry to disappoint you but this one won't work. Rolling Eyes

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2004 5:40 pm    Post subject: Do we have a pessimist admist ourselves? Reply with quote


Daesar, to call you a pessimist would be too kind.

Folks in this world can be divided into two groups. The first group is made up of those who get things done. The second group is made up of those who stand around yelling that things wont get done, things “won’t work” and try to stop the first group.

I guess we all know where you stand, Daesar. Wink

As a civil rights attorney who, not only got an “A” in Constitutional Law in Law School, but also fights for our civil rights under the United States Constitution—I can pretty much safely say with confidence that there are ways to promote sign language in an incorporated town without running afoul of our wonderful Constitution.

The below is one of my favorite quotes--and I think its appropriate here.

"A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." --Margaret Mead

Onwards and upwards all!

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2004 6:57 pm    Post subject: You're the Joker Reply with quote

Kelby Who?

Unfortunately you're pulling our legs. Laughing You're not fooling me a bit. A civil rights lawyer is a specialty. A Civil Lawyer does not mean much when you look at the entire US Constitution laws. We need a lawyer that specializes in US Constitution, not Civil Rights. Maybe you ought to go back to school and learn some more. Just quit pulling our legs.

Daesar Razz
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2004 8:56 pm    Post subject: Pessimist or Not Reply with quote

Greetings. It's me again. After I read Kelby and Daesar's posting I felt that everybody including Kelby simply missed the point that I was making. I do not know who Kelby or Daesar are but I figured I was the one that started this US Constitution topic so I should further clarify what I had meant in the very beginning.

Kelby is correct about our civil rights as deaf people to have access to signing friendly town. But he missed the point. Allow me to explain further. I understand deaf people's rights when it comes down to civil rights. That was not the question nor was it the issue when I brought this US Constitution issue to the front. The real issue is could we dominate an Incorporated town that's seeking financial and service assistance from government agencies including but not limited to US Federal Government and yet be able to force or arm-twist business owners and elected government officials and employees to learn sign language in order to qualify for the job? Could Laurent discriminate against people who don't want to learn how to sign but yet they wanted to start a business in Laurent? Could Laurent discriminate against a hearing "Joe" from running for public office inside Laurent because he does not sign and will not learn how to sign? Could we discriminate against anybody that want to be part of Laurent but do not want to learn sign language? That's the issue I was talking about. I was not talking about deaf people's rights because I know what our rights are and we have rights to equal access and equal employment as well as equal education. We all know that. But we've forgotten hearing "Joe" and his Constitution Rights to live, work and play in Laurent without being forced to learn how to sign. This hearing "Joe" have the rights to buy a piece of commercial land in Laurent and start a business. The US Constitution certainly do not allow an Incorporated Town to discriminate against anyone and that mean we will not be able to discriminate against an entrepreneur and investor (hearing Joe) from coming in and start a business because he won't sign or do not have any interest in learning our language and culture.

Now what if we had 10 people like this "hearing Joe" that came in and started many businesses and even develop properties and allowed more hearing people to come in and make Laurent their home, their business location and their base for public service? What if we had 100 of "Hearing Joes" down the road? What do we do? Could we violate the election process by saying we can not elect an officer or "public service" candidates because they do not sign and does not have any interest in sign language? Can we prejudice hearing people like that and prevent them from running for the office? The answer is no. Simply because the US Constitution does not permit such thing. Sure we do have our rights as deaf people but the hearing people do have their rights as well.

Kelby, for your information, civil rights applies to hearing people as well as deaf people. And once again, as Daesar pointed out, Civil Rights attorney is a specialty. It does not cover the wide range of US Constitution laws. I know this because numerous of my relatives and friends are attorneys including civil rights attorneys. On many occasions they were unable to provide legal advice on US Constitution laws simply because it cover issues more than just our civil rights.

Marvin has said in his previous posting, "we have devised an effective tool to ensure that the town remains a signing friendly town for many years to come is this". In my opinion it's a better term, signing friendly town, which is entirely possible. Instead of saying that it's our civil rights to start a town where sign language by public employees, officers, staff and business owners are mandatory is incorrect. Inaccurate at best, simply because the US Constitution does not permit us to discriminate.

Marvin has also said in his previous posting, "We will incorporate a town charter or ordinance requiring all businesses and service providers in town to be fully accessible to sign language — front end and back end operations as well. Also, anyone desiring to run for political office within the city or apply for city jobs (city hall, public safety and etc) will be required to have advanced or intermediate skill level determined by Sign Communication Proficiency Interview (SCPI) or whatever new and improved evaluation methods in the future".

When Marvin said that I wondered about constitution rights of "hearing Joe". Can we discriminate against him because he does not sign and do not have any interest to learn? Can we deny him election process if he does not sign? Can we deny him employment based on his inabilityt o sign? Can we deny him a business license based on his inability to sign? The answer is no. We can not, for the same reason hearing people can not discriminate against deaf people like us. Thanks to our Constitution Rights we can not be discriminated against. I would not want to start a trend where we're allowed to discriminate against hearing people because if we start such trend we'll be detroying much of what we've fought for through many generations, only to practice discrimination ourselves. It'd set negative precedent on us (deaf people) if we started to discriminate against non-signers, especially in an incorporated town.

The main point I was trying to make was that US Constitution will apply in every case scenario simply because we're talking about an incorporated town. It'd be a whole different situation if we were talking about just a community, a gated community run by private entities and privately funded. But what Marvin is talking about is an incorporated town.

Kelby, I think we need to embrace pessimists as well because that's where we'll learn our true weakness. We're able to improvide and adapt according to our errors and mistakes. Negative ideas are good as long as we're able to recognize flaws in our plan or idea. Instead of insulting somebody such as Daesar, whoever that person is, we should embrace this person and others who appear negative and nay-sayers. We have much to learn therefore we need to hear all the Pros and Cons. We should welcome as much input from other people, regardless if we agree with them or not. That's how we become strong and better. Sometime we do not see all the problems because we're overly positive and really want to make things work. It's important for us to hear the Pros and Cons. Instead of calling people names, we ought to embrace all issues like a politican and learn from it.

On a final note you shared with us a quote and I'll requote it here, "A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." --Margaret Mead". That's absolutely true but you also failed to realize that pessimists are also small group of thoughtful people. Because they are pessimist does not mean they are not thoughtful. That's why I did not think it'd help if we started name calling trend here.

All the best,
Barry Sewell
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Bucky the GREAT

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2004 11:02 am    Post subject: Oh, FUN discussion! Reply with quote

Ahhh, this is turning into an interesting subject. I always LOVE discussions with a lot of thoughts and interesting points. By looking at both sides, it makes me understand one and another better. But yes, I do have some say here.

The constitution... the laws of the United States of America. Seesh, it's one complicated book and very difficult to actually follow 100 percent. For one, Sewell was questioning if we could discriminate against people who don't sign to hold a high office in the town's government system. Actually it's happening everywhere else in a way. Let me start with the President of the United States - I don't recall the exact age you have to be - but I think you're supposed to be 45 years old to be able to run for that position. I, Bucky, could go out there and whine "Hey you lawmakers, I am 29 years old and I want to run for the president! What? I have to be 45 years old? Are you saying you're discriminating me against my age? Eat my ass!" Here's something else... do you think a mayor for any town/city would actually not know how to speak English? Can a guy who doesn't know how to say "Thank you" in English but knows every word in the Chinese language run for Mayor? He probably does have the right, but he will NOT obtain that position. Discrimination, you say?

I'm sure Marvin and his gang will always be working such an issue like this to ensure that the "singing community" will always be in Laurent and plays a major role of it.

Now, I don't know the constitution as well as anyone even though its the OLDEST active constitution in the world... but according to the fact that you have to be 45 years old to be the president, I'm sure we can do the same thing somehow. Such as having some kind of requirements to be able be the mayor in Laurent, the police chief, or any position in that system.

Kelby said "Folks in this world can be divided into two groups". It can be divided in a lot of ways. Her approach this time was those who get things done and those who just "talk". There's also this division of males and females, and so on. Right now the issue here is "deaf or hearing loss" and "hearing" people. Obviously it's two different worlds and we, deaf people, keep on needing laws to get our rights which is sad in a way. Because hearing people are NOT educated enough on deaf people they naturally reject us and then those laws come in place to protect us and the constitution itself. Look at this scenario - what if we all actually could MERGE into one group instead of deaf here and hearing there? Hearing people would be more educated on deaf people and know that "we can do anything but hear", therefore, no laws will be needed to protect us.

What I'm trying to say here is that if Laurent lets hearing people in, we will be educating them in a way and it eventually will spread out to their relatives and out of town friends and so on. Yes, there will be some who just wants to live there and not give a hoot on what's going on next door - there are people like that everywhere, you can't avoid that. In most cases those kind of people will move out before we know it.

Sewell said it perfectly... if we are begging hearing people not to discriminate us, why is it okay for us to discriminate them?

I say incorporate this town (it helps with money too) and work with the constitution just like everyone else is rather than distancing ourselves from hearing people like Daesar thinks we are.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2004 2:25 pm    Post subject: my 2 cents Reply with quote

Hello all

Well this is certainly interesting. After reading all this, it made me think a bit. Why are we so afraid of hearing people or non signers that we are actually thinking about violating the us constitution or sling back mud at the non signers because of all the years of repression? Would an african american think about making white people their slaves? Would a native american think about killing all the whites and claim the land that is rightfully theirs? No they don't but this town, they want to make all the hearing people sign? That is a little overboard for me.

If I was to live in this town, I wouldnt want any single thing that would prevent the most qualified person to do the job. Imagine this, we have a future president of the US in the town and SHE is running for mayor. We say sorry lady, u can't sign so step down. She goes on to other things and what do you know, she becomes the president of the US and in turn becomes the greatest president ever in history. Just one instance she was turned away from an office, not because she was a woman but because how she prefers to communicate. Why set up a policy to limit people? Why not do it the other way around and be completely open to ALL residents? That's the kind of freedom ALL residents should be afforded. What's next, an incorporated town that has a very strong emphasis on family values denying the alternative lifestyle (sorry i dont know the political word for gays/lesbians etc) residents a chance to run for office simply cuz of their preference and not being in tune with their concept of family values?

The key word is, is there communication? yes there is and sure there are barriers but why make it a "requirement" to make the barrier one sided? How would you feel if a town u lived in decided to say "verbally spoken people may run for office, have a business and all that".

I don't want to see this town become a "martyr" for all the deaf problems and that they have to solve everthing. One town or sheltered community of signers isn't going to solve all the problems. We would then need to set up a 51st state, then set up our own country, then set up our own planet of signers to solve all the problems. What we dont realize is that this planet is full of extremely diverse languages. The best thing is to just let people in our lives like bucky said and educate them, it will eventually spread out. I see more signing classes being set up in churches, high schools and various places so that's the best I can ask for without violating anyone's rights.

"If you violate the rights of one person, you violate the rights of society" (I think it was either Kant or Hegel who said it)

Last bit, I am always impressed with a town who has a dominant group voting an "outsider" to run for office or let them in their community because that shows progress and maturity. There's no need to feel threatened and set up city laws to protect ourselves and get into this whole spectactle about the consitution or debate philosophically about rights and freedoms of citizens. Just afford ALL rights and freedom to ALL citizens in the town and we wont have a problem. Smile
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 23, 2004 4:35 pm    Post subject: Re: my 2 cents Reply with quote

I have to disagree with you, Icon. There is NOTHING stopping anyone from learning sign, unless you had no hands. :p

If people really want the job, (and from what I read, it's not required for most jobs, just political offices and educational ones) and they're qualified in every way except knowing sign, then they can learn sign. Nothing wrong with that. As a deaf person, I cannot be a police officer, a telephone operator, a nurse, a fire fighter, a saleswoman, or join the military.

Let's face it, every job has its qualifications. Requiring you to know sign, imho, is not a big deal.

~ Volante
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 23, 2004 5:47 pm    Post subject: Separation of Personal Opinions and Legal Issues Reply with quote

Hello again. I'm beginning to see personal opinions surface again, based on our emotional thoughts and feelings, which is good and healthy. But I was talking about what might be legal and illegal, based on facts that are reflected in our U.S. Constitution. Our personal opinions don't matter. On a personal note I agree with a lot of the things that were mentioned on this subject but I wanted to remind everybody that I was talking about legality of such idea based on US Constitution. Our opinions don't hold much weight when we're talking about written US Constitutions. Just so that you'll all know that we're not going to have all the answers until we talk to lawyers that specialize in US Constitution. Otherwise we'll only run in circles, consuming the fuel of our emotional thoughts and feelings.

All the best,
Barry Sewell
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2004 11:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was reading the interesting notes on U.S. Constitution discussions and I thought I'd put in my 2 cents worth about the whole thing.

This signing town should not nor would it ever need to put in rules and regulations that prohibit public officals who can't sign nor disallow residents who can't sign to buy property there.

The deaf world has already heard about this town being developed, there would probably be a lot of very willing people wanting to pay just a little more than non-signers would simply because the town's purpose is to promote a signing community. There may still be people who can't sign who are still willing to pay a little extra for the signing community, but if they were to buy property and the agent says 'well, this community will be a group of signers.' That will be a heavy decision for them to make.. People want to get to know their neighbors, and most likely will stay and learn sign, or decide to buy elsewhere.

As for public office, If Signer Jones was up for mayor against non-signer Smith. What happens here is the majority of the town, which most likely would be deaf or pro-deaf rights, would most likely vote for Signer Jones rather than non-signer Smith due to need to understand the mayor himself (or herself)

We don't really have much to fear about putting laws or discriminations on people here, if we truly build a signing community, those who can't sign who still want to buy land there, will learn sign eventually, and that's an excellent bonus!
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2004 9:26 am    Post subject: Exactly! Reply with quote

Rainsorth.... that's exactly the point I was trying to make. We can not, should not and would not have to use such written or unwritten policy / rules / laws in Laurent or any where in an incorporated town in United States or for that matter, that would disqualify anybody because they can't sign. It does not matter if we're talking about business owners, public employees, elected officals, residents, regular employees, State employees or Federal Employees. Any form to discriminate those who do not know how to sign or refuse to learn how to sign is simply not allowed in our U.S. Constitution.

Rainsforth you are right once more about allowing the strength of numbers to work for us such as the things that you've explained in your posting. The power of our example, culture and electoral procedure is something we could actually use to our advantage and benefit. Yes, deaf people would be attracted to Laurent more than it would for hearing people. Yes, any hearing people that choose to live there will feel obligated to learn sign language. Yes, a town that use ASL as it's majority language will elect officials that can sign. It's only natural for us to do that since we want to be able to communicate with everybody in this town. Therefore there are no need for written policy / rules / laws in Laurent regarding ASL as our primary language preference. But it's very important to always remember that if we've ever lose the "majority " status in Laurent to hearing people we can't cry foul and try to begin to discriminate anybody because we've lost the majority influence. That's speaking of our journey down the road. That's what we've to understand from the very beginning.

We all need to realize from the very beginning of Laurent's existence. I did not want us to get off on the wrong foot and be slapped with violation of U.S. Constitution, which would indicate to the world that we "deafies" don't know to do things the right way. That was my primary concern. There's no room for error simply because it take a lifetime to build a reputation but only few seconds to ruin it.

All the best,
Barry Sewell
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Joined: 07 Oct 2003
Posts: 51

PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2004 10:38 pm    Post subject: Excellent discussion Reply with quote


I really appreciate a lot of thought and effort that has gone into these discussion here in regards to principles, ordinances or even town charter being in compliance with the U.S. Constituition.

Are we being discriminatory when we require people to know sign language in order to run for a public office? Hmm... Yes. If only we require absurd level of fluency of ASL from everyone.

That's not what we're going for here. We're looking for some type of minimum requirement in order to ensure that as many people in the town would be able to communicate with each other freely.

Again, Laurent will not be for everyone. We're not forcing people to move there. We're not forcing our principles on anyone here.

I strongly believe that we have to have some type of written law requiring sign language accessibility for all businesses and services provided in the town as well as town's civic leadership. If we don't have something like that, we might as well give up now and not build the town.

There are some outside companies who are very excited and interested in working with us on building Laurent and providing services. If we did not have firm and strict rules govering the sign language accessibility in place, they would have very little incentive to ensure that their employees are accessible to all residents of Laurent. They also would have very little incentive to hire deaf or signing employees in order to ensure they're accessible to us.

For instance, if we were to work with a local power company providing electricity to the town of Laurent. Now, if we had no rules about sign language in place. They probably would, with all good intentions, have sign language classes provided for their employees in the beginning. But as time goes on, the interest will wane. Good habits are HARD to form. It requires constant support and positive reinforcement.

Now, the person working on power lines outside my home communicating to other on ground verbally, and my deaf kids are playing outside and watching these people work. My kids would forever lose out on the opportunity for incidential learning because they did not use sign language while they worked.

Minor example, to be sure, but still... the point is, we're going to emulate Martha's Vineyard and the fact that sign language was used by everyone.

Whether this violates US Constitution or not, we'll continue to work on finding all appropriate legal alternatives in ensuring the quality of communication in Laurent will not be watered down.

Seriously, imagine this for a second. If US Congress were to pass a law requiring ALL high school kids graduate with minimum fluency in ASL. What would happen to deaf community's job choices? It'll increase! Why? Because now more people know ASL and they're comfortable with using the language.

Can this happen? Unlikely. Why not do this on a smaller scale and build Laurent and see if we can't come up with ways how both hearing and deaf people can work together for a better future?

At any rate, maybe we should invite some signing attorneys online for their two cents. Smile

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