October 1st, 2007
04:38 PM ET
7 years ago

Giuliani to make 'English only' cheesesteak stop

Giuliani plans a stop at the famous Geno's steaks later Monday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – It's almost a necessity for any presidential candidate who swings through Philadelphia - making a stop at one of the city's famous cheesesteak shops.

But the landmark Philly restaurant former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani plans to stop at later Monday is also famous for another reason: its controversial 'Please speak English' sign.

Joe Vento, the owner of Geno's Steaks, sparked controversy last year when he put up a sign at his store proclaiming, "This is America. When Ordering Please Speak English."

Rachel Lawton, the executive director of the city's Human Relations Commission (HRC), blasted the sign in June 2006, saying it amounts to discrimination against those who cannot speak English. A hearing on the sign was scheduled last Wednesday but was postponed because the city wanted more time to review Vento's motion to dismiss the case, according to the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin.

Giuliani, a Republican presidential frontrunner, has taken a hard stance on illegal immigration, formally pledging last August to solve the problem if elected president.

According to his Web site, Giuliani also proposes that all "immigrants who want to become citizens must truly read, write, and speak English and learn American civics."

– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney


Filed under: Rudy Giuliani
soundoff (203 Responses)
  1. CRYSTAL NEW YORK, N.Y.

    I THINK THAT IT IS NOT IMPORTANT TO KNOW ENGLISH TO BECOME AN AMERICAN CITIZEN. THIS COUNTRY'S DOES NOT HAVE A PRIMARY LANGUAGE, AND IT AN COUNTRY MADE BY IMMIGRANTS. TO BE AMERICAN, MEANS YOUR FAMILY MIGRATED HERE. MY MOTHER HAS BEEN HERE FOR 30 YEARS AND STILL DOES NOT SPEAK ENGLISH, EVENTHOUGH SHE UNDERSTAND IT AND WILL BE ABLE TO RESPOND TO THE BEST OF HER ABILITIES USING SMALL PHRASES. I WILL NOT BE VOTING FOR GUILIANI AND I WILL ENCOURAGE OTHER FAMILY WHO STILL KEEP TIES WITH THEIR ORIGIN, AND SPEAK ANOTHER LANGUAGE TO NOT VOTE FOR HIM EITHER. IF YOU AGREE WITH THIS SIGNS, THEN I BET YOUR FIRST LANGUAGE WAS ENGLISH, IF NOT YOUR ONLY. SO BEFORE YOU JUDGE, I SUGGEST YOU GO TO ANOTHER COUNTRY WHERE THEY WONT ALLOW YOU TO SPEAK ENGLISH AND ONLY THEN, YOU WILL BE ABLE TO RUN YOUR MOUTH AND GIVE A VALID OPINION.

    November 29, 2007 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  2. Zeek Lancer

    Hi guys. I think most of you got this issue all wrong.

    We don't need an official language. The system we have in place works fine. What we need to do is learn to respect each other. We all know that even in the USA that everybody grows up different and has different values, religions, and cultures. If we could all just remember this in our day to day activities we could all get along better.

    The common sense rules that apply when going to a foreign country also apply when visiting local establishments. Thus so if you were to find your self in a local Chinese restaurant where most of its workers knew little to no english it would be your burden to communicate with the wait staff to order your food. One might say "thats not fair, I am in America" . And I would say if you don't like it you have the power to leave the restaurant at any time. Nobody is forcing you to learn Chinese. Although the establishment is with in the borders of the United States of America, you have to remember that within the borders of the establishment you are a guest to those that own the establishment. This gives you only one real power, the power to leave if you do not like it. But you do this at a cost. The cost of missing out on some great food, and great culture.

    At the same time we must respect a business owner that requires orders to be made in a specific language. After all, it is there establishment, not yours.

    But business owners, please keep in mind who your revenue comes form. Thats right, the Customer, with a capital C. These are the people who pay your bills, and ensure that your establishment is successful. Without them there would be no establishment. Keeping that in mind, you still can limit language you take order in, but by doing this you are not maximizing the amount of revenue that you could be taking in. As stated above, Customers can leave, and they don't have to come back. I read some where, that if you loose one Customer, you have then lost 6 direct referrals . It is also handy to keep in mind. It is not loosing one sale, but a life time of sales from that Customer. In such, as a responsible business owner it is your duty to ensure that you do everything you can to increase sales!

    A note, to a business owner that finds commutation problems between his/her staff
    and Customers. To maximize sales, you will need to find a way to better communicate with your customers. In most cases a simplified menu with a numbering system to allow users to order by number often solves the problem. Allowing printouts of your menu to be taken from your establishment so Customers can have them translated to there native language, allowing them to order by number in the future. In some cases if you find a overwhelming amount of of a specific Customers who speak the same language it may even be more profitable for you to have your menu translated and printed special for this group of customers. This will go a long way with increasing your revenue.

    For those that missed this, it is not about illegal immigrants, it is about respect, and proper business management.

    (please note, I did not have time to review my comments for typos, and I was interrupted many times, but I am sure my point got through and I hope we all can make a better America)

    Shameless shout-out: GO Ron Paul!!!

    -Zeek

    January 10, 2008 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  3. bill

    Who is this Rudy Giuliani guy? Is there some reason I should care about what he thinks?

    January 29, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.