Joey Vento and his sign.

It is a story that's been cooking for two years. In 2005, Joey Vento places a sign politely requesting the customer to speak english when ordering a cheesesteak. Nine months after he posts the sign, and right around election time in Philly, Councilman Jim Kenney and people offended by everything demand he take the sign down.

Joey refuses, the local media start salivating and staff Inquirer writer Karen Heller calls him an "ignorant, semi literate boob". What can one say other than Karen Heller seems to be quite the regional expert on stupidity.
Not to be outdone on observations of stupidity, the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations began investigating whether or not Joey Vento's sign had violated the Fair Practices Ordinance Chapter 9 Section 9-1105 (A) (1) (b) of The Philadelphia Code.

On Friday, December 14th 2007 at the Friends Meeting House on 4th and Arch Street, Joey was scheduled to meet his accusers in a public hearing. Earlier in the week, Dom Giordano began rallying support for Joey by advertising a 'Support Joey Vento Bus Trip' to his public hearing, with a lunch stop at Geno's - of course! I tagged along on this road trip and created a video journal of the day. The first video consists of an interview given by Dom Giordano while we stopped for lunch at Geno's, an impromptu chat between Joey Vento and some students on a lunch break and my own chat with Joey on our way to the hearing.

Part 1:

When we arrived at the Meeting House, there was a gathered scrum of individuals and press waiting for Joey. The first person I recognized was an observer for the National Lawyers Guild. We exchanged hello's and he promptly got out of my way. Joey held court on the steps leading to the Meeting House, answering questions from the gathered crowd. One individual seemed intent on challenging Joey, when Joey responded with vigor, the man deflected the discussion by claiming he cannot hear Joey when he raises his voice. Whatever. It made for some interesting video and it was not till later when reviewing this video that I recognized this man as one of the witnesses for the prosecution. Not sure how kosher it is for one of the prosecution's witnesses to question the defendant before the hearing/trial.

You can have a look for yourself at the discussions that were going on outside the Friends Meeting House prior to the hearing.

Part 2:

The prosecution presented 5 witnesses that were not disclosed to the defense prior to this meeting. The cross examination and closing arguments stretched on for 6 hours, by the time it was over, most of the illegal immigrant supporters had vanished into the night. Joey and his staunch supporters stayed to the very last minute

What an interesting day to witness an assassination attempt on open debate and freedom of speech. I'd like to know which group invited the National Lawyers Guild observers??

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