June 19, 2006

Geno’s Update: The Mayor, The Profile, and The Letter

Filed under: Economy,Immigration,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:01 am

The Mayor

So how does Philadelphia Mayor John Street react? He’s a politician; he wants it both ways (also note the flaming-hot bias in the writeup):

With everyone from Lou Dobbs to Rush Limbaugh fulminating over Geno’s Steaks – home of a controversial sign exhorting customers to speak English, and currently the focus of a related media firestorm – Mayor Street tiptoed into the fray yesterday, too.

Cornered by reporters in a City Hall corridor, Street said that he thought “we would all be better off without the sign.” But he stopped well short of drawing any conclusions about the sign and did not endorse any actions against Geno’s.

“I speculate that [owner Joey Vento] has a right to that sign,” Street said, “if he faithfully and without any kind of discrimination serves anyone who comes up to that window, no matter the language that person speaks, in spite of the fact that he has a sign.”

The mayor’s cautious comments came after days of intense e-mail discussions among aides about how to handle the controversy over the iconic South Philadelphia institution – specifically, how to avoid saddling the city with a reputation as a bunch of ugly Americans while also protecting free-speech rights.

While some officials urged Street to speak out more forcefully, the mayor opted for a process-oriented response: He said the city’s independent Human Relations Commission should carry out an investigation before anyone drew any conclusions. And he accused the electronic media of “making a mountain out of a molehill.”

Well, it WAS a molehill in a sense until the Human Relations Commission turned in its complaint (the state commission followed suit on Friday)

The Profile

Michael Currie Schaffer’s Joey Vento profile paints a picture of a quite interesting person, including this little-known fact that should make at least some people concerned about who they’re going after:

The man cast as the Neanderthal of Ninth and Wharton is the same guy who last summer forked over $100,000 to support an Elton John AIDS-awareness concert – a donation that Philadelphia Gay News publisher Mark Segal says was “the tip of the iceberg.”

“They had been very touched by the issue and are very involved,” Segal says of Vento’s family. “They have been extremely supportive of the entire community.”

Like most stories, Joe Vento’s is one of contradictions.

He’s the son and the brother of violent criminals. But he’s raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for police charities. He’s a wisecracking everyman from the streets of South Philly. But he lives on a 13-acre Camden County spread with a stable for horses. He’s made more than enough to retire to a sunny golf course. But he still pulls a daily 4 a.m. to 11 a.m. shift at a neon-lit sandwich shop.

I can hear it now: “How can someone who puts out THAT sign be so sympathetic with those going through AIDS?” — as if such a combination is philosophically impossible.

The Letter

From Tom Norton of Mt. Laurel, NJ:

IN RESPONSE to David W. Brown’s op-ed lesson on business etiquette, let me just say that I am proud to be an English-speaking Mexican-American (my grandparents came from Mexico), and I will have no problemo plunking down my hard-earned American dollars in a fine American establishment owned by a true American, Mr. Joey Vento.

Mr. Vento is merely pointing out the complacency of the government when it come to non-English speaking immigrants. This has nothing to do with his views about illegal immigration, as Mr. Brown and those liberals like him would like us to believe.

If it’s not the Ten Commandments, it’s a decal on the window at Geno’s. I can hardly wait for the ACLU to start their class-action suit on behalf 10,000 Mexican illegals just because they have nothing better to do with their worthless law degrees.

You go, Joey V! You ARE a great American. And to my fellow Mexican amigos: ¡Aprenda a decirlo en Inglés! Es la lengua de los Estados Unidos de America.

___________________________

Previous Posts:

  • June 12 — Welcome to the Club, Joey Vento — Philly Human Relations Commission Has Filed a “Discrimination” Complaint
  • June 10 — As in Greater Cincy, “For Service Speak English” Place in Philly Is Catching Flak
  • May 31 — The Pleasure Inn Has “For Service Speak English” Company
  • May 13, 2006 — Why Won’t the Ohio Civil Rights Commission Get Off Tom Ullum’s Back?
  • Dec. 19, 2005 — Update: Thought Police 1, Bar Owner 0; Bar Owners Showing Solidarity–1
  • Dec. 16 — Thought Police 1, Bar Owner 0
  • Oct. 9 — Questions for the Thought Police at the Ohio Civil Rights Commission and The Cincinnati Enquirer
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