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Pa. shop owner backs English-only policy (cheesesteak shop sign was never meant to be offensive)
AP on Yahoo ^ | 12/14/07 | Bob Lenz - ap

Posted on 12/14/2007 6:38:14 PM PST by NormsRevenge

PHILADELPHIA - A small sign that asked customers to order in English at a famous cheesesteak shop was never meant to be offensive, the shop's owner testified Friday at a hearing to decide whether the policy was discriminatory.

Joe Vento, the owner of Geno's Steaks, defended his policy before the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, which filed the discrimination complaint.

"This country is a melting pot, but what makes it work is the English language," Vento told the commission. "I'm not stupid. I would never put a sign out to hurt my business."

Vento posted two small signs in October 2005 at his shop in a diverse South Philadelphia neighborhood, telling customers, "This is AMERICA: WHEN ORDERING PLEASE 'SPEAK ENGLISH.'"

He said Friday that he posted the sign because of concerns over the debate on immigration reform and the increasing number of people from the area who could not order in English.

Camille Charles, a sociology professor at the University of Pennsylvania, testified that Vento's signs harken back to the "Whites only" postings of the Jim Crow era.

"The signs give a feeling of being unwelcome and being excluded," Charles said.

No ruling is expected for at least two months, the three-member panel said.

After extensive publicity in 2006, the commission began investigating whether Vento violated a city ordinance that prohibits discrimination in employment, public accommodation and housing on the basis of race, ethnicity or sexual orientation.

In February, the commission found probable cause against Geno's Steaks for discrimination, alleging that the policy at the shop discourages customers of certain backgrounds from eating there.

Paul M. Hummer, an attorney for the commission, testified Friday that the sign is not about political speech, but about "intimidation," and that it suggested business from certain individuals was not wanted.

The hearing was held at the Arch Street Meeting House, given to the Philadelphia Quakers by William Penn in 1693. The building is billed as a symbol of "tolerance, equality and peace."


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Politics/Elections; US: Pennsylvania; Your Opinion/Questions
KEYWORDS: cheesesteak; englishonly; filthydelphia; joevento; philadelphia; policy; shopowner; vento
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1 posted on 12/14/2007 6:38:17 PM PST by NormsRevenge
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Joseph Vento, owner of Geno's Steaks in Philadelphia, displays a sign during a recess of a Commission on Human Relations hearing in Philadelphia, Friday, Dec. 14, 2007. The hearing was over alleged violations of the Philadelphia Fair Practices Ordinance by Geno's Steaks for posting signs asking patrons to speak English when ordering. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)


2 posted on 12/14/2007 6:38:58 PM PST by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... Godspeed ... ICE’s toll-free tip hotline —1-866-DHS-2-ICE ... 9/11 .. Never FoRGeT)
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To: NormsRevenge

Paul M. Hummer, an attorney for the commission, testified Friday that the sign is not about political speech, but about “intimidation,” and that it suggested business from certain individuals was not wanted.

Hey Hummer! stuff it! and your commission too!


3 posted on 12/14/2007 6:40:57 PM PST by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... Godspeed ... ICE’s toll-free tip hotline —1-866-DHS-2-ICE ... 9/11 .. Never FoRGeT)
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To: NormsRevenge

Go Joey!


4 posted on 12/14/2007 6:41:04 PM PST by Eagles6
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To: NormsRevenge
If I were Joey Vento I would close down my shop in Philly and move my business to Montgomery County. Let Philly scratch for the lost tax revenue. What a bunch of idiots. They have tremendous crime problems and this is the $hit that they choose to spend their time on.
5 posted on 12/14/2007 6:43:35 PM PST by USMA '71
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To: NormsRevenge
Paul M. Hummer, an attorney for the commission, testified Friday that the sign is not about political speech, but about “intimidation,” and that it suggested business from certain individuals was not wanted.

Do you know of any business which will turn away a customer's money because of some stupid reason like color, religion, or ethnicity? Not me.

6 posted on 12/14/2007 6:43:40 PM PST by american_ranger (Never ever use DirecTV)
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To: NormsRevenge
and that it suggested business from certain individuals was not wanted.

And as a businessman, that is his right even IF that was what he intended

How does this differ from a business displaying a "Hillary" poster?

I for one, would just go somewhere else.

7 posted on 12/14/2007 6:44:20 PM PST by digger48
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To: NormsRevenge

“Camille Zubinsky Charles, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Sociology
Faculty Associate Director, Center for Africana Studies, University of Pennsylvania”

Figures!


8 posted on 12/14/2007 6:44:43 PM PST by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: NormsRevenge
The klingon high council is not amused. The owner is to be roasted in the entrails of a kaabaak!
9 posted on 12/14/2007 6:44:57 PM PST by kinoxi
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To: NormsRevenge

Camille Charles is a fascist pig. Let her find a country more to her liking ~ there’s no shortage of them.


10 posted on 12/14/2007 6:45:13 PM PST by muawiyah
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To: NormsRevenge
Camille Charles, a sociology professor at the University of Pennsylvania, testified that Vento's signs harken back to the "Whites only" postings of the Jim Crow era.

"The signs give a feeling of being unwelcome and being excluded," Charles said.

Only if you can read the sign in English. Otherwise, it could be a speed limit sign.

11 posted on 12/14/2007 6:46:47 PM PST by Bernard
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To: muawiyah

Let her find a country more to her liking

yup
There are more than a few on the Dark Continent where she would fit right in and feel right at home.


12 posted on 12/14/2007 6:47:06 PM PST by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... Godspeed ... ICE’s toll-free tip hotline —1-866-DHS-2-ICE ... 9/11 .. Never FoRGeT)
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To: NormsRevenge

If those reading the sign understood it (and feel discriminated against), we can assume they are capable of speaking English (or American!)


13 posted on 12/14/2007 6:50:11 PM PST by OCC
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To: NormsRevenge

She could go to France or Germany if she wanted, or even Canada. They are all deep into fascist realities.


14 posted on 12/14/2007 6:51:04 PM PST by muawiyah
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To: Bernard

OR Deaf Child in Area sign


15 posted on 12/14/2007 6:53:00 PM PST by archaicoldschool
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To: NormsRevenge
Camille Charles, a sociology professor at the University of Pennsylvania, testified that Vento's signs harken back to the "Whites only" postings of the Jim Crow era.

How ignorant!

Immigrants can learn English; non-whites learning to be white is much harder...ask Michael Jackson.

16 posted on 12/14/2007 6:57:34 PM PST by ApplegateRanch (If God didn't want a Liberal hanging from every tree, He wouldn't have created so much rope!)
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To: NormsRevenge
Camille Charles, a sociology professor at the University of Pennsylvania

Camille not having the ability to run a business or produce a profit makes a tidy income blaming others for things no one cares about.

17 posted on 12/14/2007 7:01:08 PM PST by highpockets
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To: NormsRevenge
Image hosted by Photobucket.com he should put up a sign that says

"I don't understand your gibberish... so if you want to get what you ask for, make sure it's in ENGLISH!!!"

18 posted on 12/14/2007 7:01:56 PM PST by Chode (American Hedonist)
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To: NormsRevenge

We are in America. We speak English. Why is this discriminatory?


19 posted on 12/14/2007 7:03:51 PM PST by freekitty ((May the eagles long fly our beautiful and free American sky.))
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To: Cacique

ping


20 posted on 12/14/2007 7:03:55 PM PST by Vom Willemstad K-9
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To: NormsRevenge

Let’s put it this way. The American people don’t take too kindly to the intimidation of this American business owner.


21 posted on 12/14/2007 7:05:20 PM PST by freekitty ((May the eagles long fly our beautiful and free American sky.))
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To: NormsRevenge

There are reasons why I don’t patronize Philadelphia and why I won’t take a job inside the city limits under any circumstances. Philly leftists account for all of them.


22 posted on 12/14/2007 7:06:52 PM PST by Windcatcher
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To: NormsRevenge
After extensive publicity in 2006, the commission began investigating whether Vento violated a city ordinance that prohibits discrimination in employment, public accommodation and housing on the basis of race, ethnicity or sexual orientation.

Appears to me the sign violates none of those.

Next case!

If Joey is found "guilty," anybody know if there is an appeal process?

23 posted on 12/14/2007 7:08:50 PM PST by upchuck (Hildabeaste as Prez... unimaginable, devastating misery! She will redefine "How bad can it get?")
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To: NormsRevenge
Camille Charles, a sociology professor at the University of Pennsylvania, testified that Vento's signs harken back to the "Whites only" postings of the Jim Crow era.

Why was this person even testifying? Has she ever owned and worked her butt off maintaining a business? Has this pompous busy body ever left the dream state world of her school campus? This spoiled brat is attempting to dictate what this guy does in his own establishment? How many years of her life has been spent at some coddled school campus, never dealing with the real world? I'd bet most of her life.

Pathetic.

24 posted on 12/14/2007 7:09:13 PM PST by dragnet2
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To: Owl_Eagle; brityank; Physicist; WhyisaTexasgirlinPA; GOPJ; abner; baseballmom; Mo1; Ciexyz; ...

ping


25 posted on 12/14/2007 7:10:18 PM PST by Tribune7 (Dems want to rob from the poor to give to the rich)
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To: NormsRevenge

This case is STILL ongoing? Yeesh! I remember hearing about this YEARS ago.

Hopefully, Justice will fall in this mans favor. This is just ridiculous. It’s HIS restaurant. It should be HIS rules!

(Same with smoking in privately owned bars, restaurants and taverns! And I don’t smoke.)

What will this gain? Will I have to order in fluent Mandarin in a Chinese-owned restaurant? Will I need to learn Yiddish to order in a Kosher Deli? ;)


26 posted on 12/14/2007 7:11:22 PM PST by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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To: Kolokotronis

Africanna studies?

27 posted on 12/14/2007 7:13:53 PM PST by razorback-bert (Posted by Time's Man of the Year)
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To: NormsRevenge
This is not the only reason the liberals are pissed at Vento. He is a patriot, proudly displaying pro-american sentiments all over his shop. In addition, he is STRONGLY pro-troop and pro-police. He is a huge supporter of Maureen Faulkner, who's husband, police officer Daniel Faulkner, was executed by Wesely Cook, AKA Mumia Abul Jamal. As a matter of fact, Ms. Faukner and Mike Smerconish had a book signing event at Geno's Steaks. In addition, Joey Vento has installed and maintains a "Walk of Heroes", containing the names of every Philadelphia Police Officer and Fire Fighter killed in the line of duty.
28 posted on 12/14/2007 7:13:56 PM PST by FreeperinRATcage (I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for every thing I do. - R. A. Heinlein)
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To: USMA '71

In the old days Joey could call somebody named Scarpa or Scarpelli and resolve this in a gentlemanly manner.

Capish?


29 posted on 12/14/2007 7:14:28 PM PST by MadMax, the Grinning Reaper (Madmax, the Grinning Reaper)
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To: NormsRevenge

This country is getting more and more like the Soviet Union every day.


30 posted on 12/14/2007 7:15:48 PM PST by B Knotts (Tancredo '08!)
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To: Eagles6

Suggestions include having an attorney who doesn’t speak English to argue Joey’s case. Would the commission enjoy conducting business that way?


31 posted on 12/14/2007 7:17:16 PM PST by trimom
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To: razorback-bert

“Africanna studies?”

Somehow I figured it was a safe bet she wasn’t chairman of the Classic Dept.


32 posted on 12/14/2007 7:21:36 PM PST by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: NormsRevenge
The simple fact that they have a “Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations” is arrogant enough, but the idea that such self-important busy bodies actually have any power (other than their super secret Liberal decoder rings, which tell them when the dark lord Hildabeast is near) is nauseating.
33 posted on 12/14/2007 7:24:11 PM PST by Carbonado
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To: trimom
"Suggestions include having an attorney who doesnÂ’t speak English to argue JoeyÂ’s case. Would the commission enjoy conducting business that way?"

Είμαι δικηγόρος!

34 posted on 12/14/2007 7:26:44 PM PST by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: NormsRevenge

How much practice does it take to say “wit”?


35 posted on 12/14/2007 7:26:58 PM PST by doc1019 (Fred Thompson '08)
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To: Max Friedman

Capiche.


36 posted on 12/14/2007 7:30:53 PM PST by Hilltop (?)
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To: NormsRevenge

Bump for free speech...


37 posted on 12/14/2007 7:33:08 PM PST by dcwusmc (We need to make government so small that it can be drowned in a bathtub.)
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To: Kolokotronis
Είμαι δικηγόρος!

What you said, yep, that's what I meant.

38 posted on 12/14/2007 7:35:13 PM PST by trimom
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To: doc1019
How much practice does it take to say “wit”?

Exactly. Or to make it twice as difficult, "Wiz with."

39 posted on 12/14/2007 7:35:42 PM PST by Squeako (Don't get fat, let Al Gore do it for you. Buy his Calorie Credits and Save The World.)
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To: NormsRevenge

Philly Fascism Bump.


40 posted on 12/14/2007 7:35:46 PM PST by Windcatcher
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To: USMA '71

Joey is from the neighborhood. He’ll never move.


41 posted on 12/14/2007 7:46:24 PM PST by Doctor Raoul (Columbia = Ayatollah U.)
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To: NormsRevenge

Mugabe needs a concubine...


42 posted on 12/14/2007 7:48:24 PM PST by Doctor Raoul (Columbia = Ayatollah U.)
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To: Hilltop

Wasn’t that the same as the Chevy Impala but with more chrome?


43 posted on 12/14/2007 7:50:40 PM PST by Doctor Raoul (Columbia = Ayatollah U.)
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To: NormsRevenge

This is a complete waste of time and money on the city’s part. Let the man have his sign and focus on solving some real human relations problems like the 370 plus murders this year a lone. If people are offended by a little sign, they don’t have to eat there. If enough people stop going it may hurt Joey’s business, so be it. But his heart is in the right place.


44 posted on 12/14/2007 7:52:00 PM PST by new cruelty
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To: FreeperinRATcage
have you picked up a copy of Murdered by Mumia? i'm getting one tomorrow.
45 posted on 12/14/2007 7:54:04 PM PST by new cruelty
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To: new cruelty

The city is going after a multiple thought criminal in their minds. The fascists won’t rest until either he capitulates or they ruin him.


46 posted on 12/14/2007 7:58:45 PM PST by Windcatcher
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To: NormsRevenge
Dear Joey,

Frank Rizzo ain't runnin' Philly no more. Business owners like you are only there to pay the bills and do what the lawyers in City Hall tell you to do. If I were you, I'd close up shop and move to Montco or Bucks where you at least have a chance of being able to run your business as you see fit.
47 posted on 12/14/2007 8:02:54 PM PST by Antoninus (Republicans who support Rudy owe Bill Clinton an apology.)
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To: Antoninus
Business owners like you are only there to pay the bills pay for city services for parasites in west Philly and do what kiss the backsides of whatever favored group the lawyers in City Hall tell you to do.

There, fixed it for ya.
48 posted on 12/14/2007 8:07:37 PM PST by Windcatcher
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To: Bernard

“The signs give a feeling of being unwelcome and being excluded,” Charles said.”
“Only if you can read the sign in English. Otherwise, it could be a speed limit sign.”

Bingo....
The stupid libs that are fighting this sign do not realize the irony in that statement. If they can’t speak English, how would they know what it said enough to feel unwelcomed?


49 posted on 12/14/2007 8:22:57 PM PST by donnab (saving liberal brains...one moron at a time.)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

“What will this gain? Will I have to order in fluent Mandarin in a Chinese-owned restaurant? Will I need to learn Yiddish to order in a Kosher Deli? ;)”

Probably not...but you will have to press one for english, two for spanish, and when you enter stores like Lowes you will have to read Entrada....
So I guess English is not ok ...but Spanish is.


50 posted on 12/14/2007 8:25:47 PM PST by donnab (saving liberal brains...one moron at a time.)
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