So, as you may well have already heard, the running sore on the city that is THE JOEY VENTO AFFAIR was picked open again today:

(AP) PHILADELPHIA ? The battle over an English-only ordering policy at one of the city?s signature cheesesteak joints is apparently far from over.

vento.jpgThe city?s human relations commission found evidence that the owner of Geno?s Steaks may have discriminated against immigrants by posting a sign telling customers, ?This is AMERICA: WHEN ORDERING ?PLEASE SPEAK ENGLISH,?? according to a letter sent to owner Joe Vento [pictured, left] last week.

Vento?s attorneys had hoped the matter would be dropped, but the commission said in the Jan. 31 letter that it found probable cause that discrimination occurred and was moving forward with the case. The commission also suggested that the matter could be resolved through mediation.

Vento?s legal team would not rule out some sort of mediation, but they said Vento, the fiery grandson of Italian immigrants, would not take the sign down.

Okay, that was expected — the slow gears of City Hall finally turning six months after the story broke. What’s interesting is the graph that follows:

?Any effort to save the resources of taxpayer-funded government is a good idea, but not at the cost of free speech,? said Todd Young, policy director for Atlanta-based Southeastern Legal Foundation, a public interest law firm that has joined the case.

Now, on the face of it, that all sounds good, right? First Amendment rights, a public interest law firm, from the New South, man, this is progress, right? Shades of the Southern Poverty Law Center courageouslyventosign.jpg truth-squading dirty racist sherriffs and Klan Wizard mayors in the Land of Dixie, right? Hold the phone. A cursory glance at the Southeastern Legal Foundation’s web site reveals a different picture. If anything, Southeastern Legal Foundation appears to be the Bizarro Universe version of progressive constitutional watchdogs like the Southern Poverty Center. They parrot all the usual suspect Karl Rove/FOX NEWS memes: Gay People Are A Lesser Species, No Mercy For Stinkin’ Wetbacks, It’s All Bill Clinton’s Fault. In fact, SLF was started in 1994 to put an end to Affirmative Action in Atlanta AND get Bill Clinton disbarred. (To date, they have received $285,000 from the Castle Rock Foundation, right-wing welfare arm of Adolph Coors Foundation, named after the Coors family patriarch and founder of the Coors brand. Adolph Coors committed suicide in 1929 when he jumped out of the window of the Cavalier Hotel in Virginia Beach, Virginia.) Curiously, none of the links on the site work, except the DONATE link. The funny thing is, if you Google the Southeastern Legal Foundation, the third entry that comes up is this:

Southeastern Legal Foundation Director Charged With Indecency

Oct. 4, 2000 | ATLANTA (AP) — The leader of a conservative legal foundation seeking to have President Clinton disbarred was charged with public indecency.

An undercover federal officer said he saw Matthew J. Glavin fondling himself on May 17 on a trail insouthernlegaldefnseglavin_ajc_richaddicks.jpg the Chattahoochee National River Park in Gwinnett County, just east of Atlanta. The officer said Glavin also fondled him after the two started talking.

Glavin [pictured, right], 47, president and chief executive of the Atlanta-based Southeastern Legal Foundation, denied the charges. He was in U.S. District Court in connection with the case on Tuesday but did not enter a plea because his hearing was rescheduled.

The foundation, which Glavin has led since 1994, has fought to abolish Atlanta’s affirmative action program and sued to have Clinton disbarred for lying under oath in the Paula Jones sexual harassment case.

Despite protesting his innocence at the time of his arrest, Matthew J. Glavin, president and chief executive of the Southeastern Legal Foundation, pleaded guilty to the charge of indecency by the time the case went to trial, according to the Associated Press. And then there’s this from Southern Voice:

MATTHEW GLAVIN led the Atlanta-based Southeastern Legal Foundation from 1994 until he resigned under scandal in October 2000. The conservative public interest law firm battled Atlanta?s domestic partner ordinance and filed a ?friend of the court? brief before the U.S. Supreme Court supporting the Boy Scouts of America?s efforts to bar gay Scoutmasters. In 2000, Glavin pleaded guilty to public indecency for fondling a male undercover U.S. park ranger in a metro Atlanta park. His attorney said at the time that he entered the plea to spare his family and the legal group from embarrassment.

The ranger who cited Glavin at the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area reported: ?Mr. Glavin was masturbating his erect penis through his shorts. Mr. Glavin reached out and fondled my groin in a very sexual and lewd manner.?

We used to have a saying around the neighborhood: You can tell a lot about a man by the company he keeps, whether it’s on the cold hard pavement in front of a cheese steak shack on Passyunk, or a twilit trail along the Chattahoochee River on a torrid Georgia night.

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