Philly officials cite eatery for English-only sign

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by Stephanie, Jun 12, 2006.

  1. Stephanie
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    Stephanie Diamond Member Supporting Member

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    But store owner says he won't back down.
    A sign telling customers they must order in English graces the counter Wednesday at Geno's Steaks in Philadelphia.


    Updated: 1 hour, 9 minutes ago
    PHILADELPHIA - An English-only ordering policy at one of the city’s most famous cheesesteak joints has drawn an official discrimination complaint, but the owner said Monday he won’t back down.

    The city’s Commission on Human Relations alleges that the policy at Geno’s Steaks discourages customers of certain backgrounds from eating there, said Rachel Lawton, acting executive director.

    Geno’s owner Joseph Vento posted two small signs at his shop in South Philadelphia proclaiming: “This is AMERICA: WHEN ORDERING ’PLEASE SPEAK ENGLISH.”’


    Lawton said that violates the city’s Fair Practices Ordinance, which prohibits discrimination in employment, public accommodation and housing. “It’s discouraging patronage by non-English speaking customers because of their national origin or ancestry,” she said.

    Vento, 66, whose grandparents struggled to learn English after arriving from Sicily in the 1920s, said Monday that he isn’t discriminating and has no intention of giving in.

    “I would say they would have to handcuff me and take me out because I’m not taking it down,” Vento said.

    He said no customer had ever been turned away because of the policy.

    Vento said he posted the sign about six months ago because of concern over the debate on immigration reform and the increasing number of people in the area who can’t order in English. The historically Italian community has become more diverse as immigrants from Asia and Latin America have moved in.

    Lawton said Vento could be ordered to take down the signs or face fines. The dispute could end up in court.

    “Let them do what they want to,” Vento said. “When it comes, then we’ll deal with it.”

    The Philadelphia Inquirer quoted Mary Catherine Roper, a spokeswoman for the American Civil Liberties Union, who said Geno’s “has a right to express its opinion, however offensive. ... But there are specific limitations on places of public accommodation, because they are supposed to be available to everyone.”

    A city councilman quoted in the paper said the signs were “divisive and mean-spirited.”

    I tried to bring the picture of the sign over, but couldn't for some reason... You can see it with the article....
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13272368
     
  2. MissileMan
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    MissileMan Senior Member

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    What a crock of shit! What's this guy supposed to do, hire a handfull of full-time translators in case someone wants to order a Cheesesteak in Swahili?
     
  3. Gem
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    Gem BANNED

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    I'm a Pat's fan myself...but this makes me think I should switch to Geno's.
     
  4. 5stringJeff
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    5stringJeff Senior Member

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    Groundless. Good for the owner, sticking up for his business practices.
     
  5. Gunny
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    Gunny Gold Member

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    True, but by the time the self-righteous, lefty "do-gooders" get done demonizing him, he'll be lucky if he has a business left.
     
  6. Abbey Normal
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    Abbey Normal Senior Member

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    Never underestimate the stubborness of a Philly Italian once he digs his heels in. ;)

    Go Genos!
     
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  7. William Joyce
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    William Joyce Chemotherapy for PC

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    I always have step back and admire the backbone of Italian-Americans. We WASPs are usually the first to fold on racial matters. Not him!
     
  8. Bonnie
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    Bonnie Senior Member

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    Pats is the best but next time I'm in Philly Ill have to patronize Geno's. Maybe I'll find the room to eat two cheeze steaks:D
     
  9. manu1959
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    manu1959 Left Coast Isolationist

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    this dude is my hero...."right to refuse servcie"

    btw if someone complains to the humans rights group do they have to fill out the form in english? what about when they get to court? will the trial be in spanish?
     
  10. Gunny
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    Gunny Gold Member

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    Mandarin.
     

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