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Restaurants: Letter Grades Will Turn Back the Clock on NY

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From the Department of the Obvious: restaurants in New York are rallying against the Department of Health's plan to change the inspection system by introducing letter grades, LA-style. Why the city like the letter grade system: since the grades will be posted in the windows, restaurants will be shamed into getting good grades. In the same sense, the practice (in theory) provides a public service.

Why the restaurants don't like it: right now, restaurants get docked for non-food related violations like a broken light bulb or a missing sign. Also, says one restaurateur in regards to LA. "Most of their buildings are not 200 years old, and most of them are not next to empty lots with hundreds of rats.” So...the letter grade system is unfair because rats are inevitable? Restaurant reps also argue it would violate the right to free speech (go figure on that one) and that it would encourage corruption "since the highly public placards would dramatically raise cleanliness ratings’ significance to restaurateurs."

But that's not all! Landmarc's Marc Murphy goes so far as to say that the letter grade system "could turn back the clock on New York as the food capital of the world.” Yowza. Readers, what say you?
· Restaurateurs Beg City to Drop Report Card Plan [DIner's Journal]
· Restaurants Forced to Post Inspection Results [~ENY~]