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. Giuseppe Pagliacci

    I live near that shop and I have wondered if Mr. Vento would be equally arrogant and discriminating toward a group of Italian immigrants-perhaps even relatives of his who may have recently arrived and had the temerity to approach his august temple of intolerance and try to articulate their artery clogger of choice in their broken dialect.....couldn't be the fairly recently arrived Asians and Mexicans in his 'hood that he has such condescension toward....could it be? I'm willing to bet Pat's Steaks next door welcomes all to their eatery.....

    October 1, 2007 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  2. laurinda,ny

    COUCH HAUGHTON... I agree with you on that. What you said makes alot of sense. You sound well educated.

    October 1, 2007 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  3. ronnie - knoxville, tn.

    rudy is takin' it a little too far "endorsing" this geno guy. you don't need a sign to show the world your narrow-minded attitude, just act stupid when people comein who don't "speak it the English" and the business will bear the consequences.

    October 1, 2007 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  4. Giuse

    GENOS STEAKS STORY Off the record comment to compiler Mr. Mooney re attribution to the Phila Evening Bulletin......Bulletin went out of business many, many years ago......were you quoting the Phila Inquirer, the rival rag that survived?

    October 1, 2007 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    Global warming talk about a wedge issue you need to WAKE UP Billy C

    October 1, 2007 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  6. Queens, NY

    I am a spanish speaking but if we are in america we should speak English is the language that keep us together. and I feel insulted when an english speaking approch me and try to speak spaninsh to me. I think we spanish have the capacity of learning the language. my Israeli wife is calling me"stupid you are against your own people" is nothing against my own people I have against ignorance and people that dosn't do anything against ignorance.

    October 1, 2007 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  7. Max, Boston, MA

    Giuliani es tonto.

    October 1, 2007 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  8. Sean,

    I lived in Miami for about 5 years. I got SCREAMED at by strangers at my job for not speaking spanish. As an original New Yorker, Guliani has my vote, even moreso now. I welcome anyone here to come to this country and abide by our rules. When I travel to Mexico, I speak spanish, when I got to Germany, I try my best at German. I woud be expected to speak their languages if I were to immigrate to their countries, why does one group get preference?....Someone please tell me? This country is made of immigrants from all over looking for a better life from all over the world. We came together and shared cultures, not imposed them, and spoke one unified language so all can speak. It made me happy to drive a taxi back home hearing a polish woman speak with an ecuadorian who was riding with a haitian, and they all tried their best; if a word coudnt be though of they did with a friendly gesture. Thats the AMERICA I know. My family came form Ireland and Germany, they came here legally and conformed. I have no pity for bleeding heart illegales... Thank you Miami for helping me decide who I am voiting for!

    October 1, 2007 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  9. Monty, SATX

    "We not all soft?" Perhaps we should all "know English." The pitty is that a large percentage of the "English speaking" population would probably flunk a basic English proficiency test.

    October 1, 2007 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  10. Yvan,Indio,CA

    Another Racist's day in America brought to you by Rudy!!!

    October 1, 2007 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  11. Brady Austin TX

    Golly, the man says "Please" and you people still whine!

    Politicans try to make hay while a business owner just want to run his business the way he wants to. That's called freedom! If you don't like it, eat some where else.

    October 1, 2007 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  12. Amy, Nebraska

    I agree if you live here, you should learn to communicate with the rest of the population. Ironically most people in other countries know 2, 3 or more languages by the time they leave school. I wish our country was more on that thinking. I know someone from Germany who told me that when Americans were there on vacation, etc, THEY would be offended if they weren't talked to in English!! How arrogant have we become?

    October 1, 2007 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  13. Austin; Seoul, Korea (Batlimore, MD)

    I have mixed feelings on this. As an American living in Korea, I have worked very hard to learn Korean, and am proud of my language skills. Many (North American) ex-pats here don't even bother, and then get frustrated by the lack of English. Their problem. However, America is MUCH more diverse than Korea, and we will have to figure out ways to respectfully honor the changing linguistic landscape. Many other countries in the world operate officially as multi-lingual societies. There is NO reason why we can't do the same.

    October 1, 2007 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  14. Stephen, Naples, Florida

    Smart move on Rudy's part. The evidence from all these correspondences is that few Democrats can construct a sentence without the indiscriminate application of capital letters, an orgy of exclamation marks, and an enthusiastic disregard for the proper sequence of letters in any given word. An English grammar and spelling test would disenfranchise around 90% of Democrats, the other ten percent having learnt the phrase "stole the election" by ceaseless repetition.

    October 2, 2007 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  15. Still thinking , wpb, fl

    If the restaurant owner posts a sign like that he will most definitely discourage the people who cannot speak English...his business will simply suffer as a consequence. On the other hand he should be allowed to ask his patrons to order in English because he cannot be expected to employ multilingual workers. He should not be faulted for this request or accused of discrimination either. The inevitable impact to his business will indicate to him if this was the right thing to do or not. This is not political, it is just cause and effect. The demographics of the location of your shop should be the guiding factor in selecting the employees who work you. If I opened a French Restaurant I would probably try to hire employees who spoke French to accommodate the patrons who may not be well versed in English. If I opened a Dinner with generic cuisine I would not feel compelled to employ multilingual employees, unless it was in a predominately Spanish, Italian, Chinese or whatever neighborhood. Giuliani is just stumping for votes and is entitled to his opinion too.

    October 2, 2007 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  16. Still thinking, wpb, fl

    One more thing.... people who think that illegals don't pay taxes, think again. Every time they buy gas, beer, clothing or anything, they are paying some kind of tax. What they are NOT paying is income taxes and Social Security/Medicare.
    Until this issue is resolved, be aware that most of these workers would likeley be entitled to a huge credit called Earned Income Credit because of their low income even though little or no income tax was deducted from their pay. The only consolation is that they would be contributing to Social Security...and that is a questionable benefit for most of us anyway.

    October 2, 2007 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  17. John D, Dallas TX

    Hey, it’s a free country...What's wrong with putting up a "Please Speak English" sign in the business that you own…Of course, there should be no problem putting up a “Please Speak Spanish” or “Please Speak Turkish” sign either…..What IS a problem is if any branch of the government tries to prohibit such acts of free speech…..

    October 2, 2007 05:00 am at 5:00 am |
  18. A.T. American

    Rudy's a phony as a $3 bill on this issue.
    Let him come back to N.Y.C. and try this crap out here.
    He'll get his A– kicked to Philly, which, by the way, is closed.

    October 2, 2007 06:03 am at 6:03 am |
  19. J. Belushimorte

    "cheeburger, cheeburger, pepsi, no coke."
    Rudy's a joke. He'll even kiss babies to get elected...

    October 2, 2007 06:05 am at 6:05 am |
  20. Vernon, Portland, OR, USA

    For a very long time English literacy has been a requirement for citizenship. Immigrants who do not know English are often exploited by employers and other business people.

    By the way not so long ago more Italian than English was heard in South Philly.

    October 2, 2007 06:23 am at 6:23 am |
  21. Sue in Michigan

    The saddest part of this is the number of times I see the word "english" in these posts instead of "English." A language must be capitalized, people, and if you sincerely believe that anyone living here should learn English, I wish the so-called native speakers would take some pride in it and learn to write properly, too. (not "to" or "two.") Good grammar is very important, even in a post.

    October 2, 2007 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  22. Dutchboy

    I'm all for immigration, whether that be into my country or anyplace else, but I agree completely. If you move to another country, your first order of business is to learn that country's language. People who don't, don't really want to be there, so let's not even keep them there.

    October 2, 2007 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  23. Tom Dedham, Mass

    I would like mine with American cheese, Thank you.

    After we make it mandatory that all speak American, maybe we can do away with spending millions upon millions of dollars on bilingual ballots and the need for people "helping people vote" as that would do away with at least one scam that is used by the Democratic party to gain votes.

    Funny how the Dems want to do away with smoking as well (I don't smoke), as that would be hurting their voting block as how would they still bribe people with menthol cigs to vote for them?

    Baby bonds, no smoking anywhere, free health care, does anyone see a pattern here?

    October 2, 2007 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  24. C, Sacramento, CA

    Two Soo in Mishigan

    I ugree wit yoo..... LOL

    October 2, 2007 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  25. Alonso, Clearwater, FL

    "The highest result of education is tolerance."
    Helen Keller

    October 2, 2007 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
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