Political Foodie: Bloomberg’s Letter Grade Bl

By Andrew Rigie, NYC Hospitality Alliance

August 13, 2013

In a bizarre exchange with a Daily News reporter at a press conference on Monday, August 19th, Mayor Bloomberg denounced...

...sensible reforms to the restaurant Letter Grade system that were advocated for by The Alliance and agreed upon by both the Department of Health (DOH) and the City Council.

At the press conference the mayor suggested that the agreed upon reforms are a result of elected officials, “pandering to a handful of contributors to election campaigns that say ‘Oh, this is an outrage, my restaurant is perfect’ – yeah, it’s perfect, you can see the rats running around sometimes or the cockroaches.”

The mayor’s comments are snarky and out of touch. Most restaurateurs asking for Letter Grade reform don’t have extra money for campaign contributions (perhaps because it’s being spent on paying excessive fines).  The real “outrage” would have been if these elected officials did not take action to address the concerns of their constituents and local businesses.

Even DOH Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley (who was appointed by Mayor Bloomberg) recognizes the sensibility of the reforms. He was quoted in the press release announcing the reforms saying, “…moving to fixed fines will help give the system more predictability, and even with reduced fines, the grading system will continue to encourage restaurant managers to prepare food safely.”

The truth is that the agreed upon Letter Grade reforms fit perfectly into Mayor Bloomberg’s regulatory reform agenda to streamline government and cut red tape for small businesses.  The Alliance has been working closely with the mayor’s office on the regulatory reform agenda and commends the mayor in general for his cooperation and support in reducing many regulatory burdens. However, we seriously question his Letter Grade blind spot.

The Alliance especially commends City Council Speaker Quinn, Council Members and DOH Commissioner Farley for listening to and working cooperatively to address the fair concerns restaurateurs have with the current Letter Grade system.


Political Foodie: Andrew Rigie is the Executive Director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance. He serves on multiple committees relating to hospitality, he is a vocal industry advocate and recognized commentator for local, national and     international media inquiries relating to New York City’s hospitality industry.

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