Sun. Apr 14th, 2024

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From the OC Politics Blog

UPDATE: Supervisor Todd Spitzer now says that he is going to ask the Supervisors to reconsider restaurant letter grade health ratings!  Thank you Supervisor Spitzer!

Despite a warning from the county grand jury, the Orange County Board of Supervisors declined, back in December of 2008, to impose a letter grading system designed to inform would-be diners about the health safety record of restaurants, according to the L.A. Times.

Supervisor Janet Nguyen cast the key vote against the letter grading system for restaurants.   I broke the news afterwards that O.C. Supervisor Janet Nguyen’s husband, Tom Bonikowski, owned a Lee’s Sandwiches franchise in Stanton that had been fined many times by the O.C. HCA.  She never reported that when she voted against the letter grade ratings – and it blew up in the press.  Bonikowski has since sold the restaurant.

Nguyen also collected, at the time, over $25,000 from owners of other restaurants that had been fined repeatedly for food safety violations.
If you want to know if a restaurant has had food safety issues you have to look online – there is no notice posted at the restaurant.  If they are shut down at best they will post a notice saying that they have been shut down, and then a new notice saying that they have been cleared to reopen – but no details are offered at the restaurant.  And a week later, if you visit the restaurant, you will never know they had an issue – unless you knew to look them up online, according to the OC Safety News.

“Sometime in April of 2012, nine customers at an Orange County restaurant got sick after eating lettuce laced with Escherichia coli, the deadly, dreaded bacterium better known as E. coli. The lettuce came from Amazing Coachella Inc. of Coachella, and their poisoned product also struck eaters in Canada, where the outbreak was a national story. The OC restaurant was the only other culprit; it closed for a couple of days, then opened, and that was that,” according to the OC Weekly.

Here’s the kicker – the Orange County Health Care Agency, which inspects restaurants and oversees food safety in Orange County, never “never revealed it to the public when the outbreak occurred, and it doesn’t want you to know about it—now or ever.”

I wonder if Supervisor Nguyen shut down the E. Coli report?  Now that she has two little boys she needs to reconsider her vote against letter grade health ratings for O.C. Restaurants.  Food poisoning is no fun for adults – but it can kill children.

How might our O.C. Supervisors vote today if they were to reconsider letter grade health ratings for our restaurants?

  • Nguyen is a candidate for the 34th State Senate District.  Surely she now wants to protect our children, even though in 2008 she voted not to?
  • New Supervisor Todd Spitzer has built his career on public safety.  Surely he would vote to approve letter grade health ratings for our area restaurants?
  • Supervisor John Moorlach is talking about running for Governor of California.  Surely he won’t vote against public health again?
  • Supervisor Pat Bates is a candidate for the newly-formed 36th district.  Surely she won’t vote against public health, will she?
  • And Supervisor Shawn Nelson is a personal injury lawyer.  Surely he knows how devastating food poisoning can be to consumers?

Now is the time for the Orange County Supervisors to try again – and this time I hope they will do the right thing and vote to inform the public when our local restaurants have bad health records.

Does this matter?  You bet.  Click here and prepare to be shocked by the poor health record of many of the eating establishments at Disneyland!

Click here to find out about problems at one of Downtown Santa Ana’s gourmet restaurants.

And click here to find out about the mess at many of Downtown Santa Ana’s newest restaurants and bars.

Click here to find out how to contact your Supervisors – and ask them to please vote for letter grade health ratings for O.C. restaurants!

By Editor

The New Santa Ana blog has been covering news, events and politics in Santa Ana since 2009.

15 thoughts on “Time for the Supervisors to vote for letter grade restaurant health ratings?”
  1. Just finished an amazing meal at The Playground. Fabulous! Many more yummy restaurants coming to Santa Ana! Yippee.

  2. Yippee indeed! That’s exactly the word you should use to spout about the Playground, whose expansion is kicking out Santa Ana’s beloved Moya’s Bakery, a thriving 30-year old institution that was built on community pride, a quality product, customer service and a real American work ethic.

    But that’s not good enough for the likes of The Playground or the Chases, who word has it coerced Moya’s into making expensive improvements under threat of revoking their month-to-month lease and then evicted them anyways after the improvements were made.

    If the Playground got a rating, it would be an “F” for the epic fail of confirming the Grand Jury report that this was all about removing homegrown Santa Ana Latino businesses and replacing them with a “Playground” for the ethnically cleansed.

    That would taste bitter to a lot of people, but not to people who savor injustices to others. Yippee trendy new restaurants. Let them eat e coli!

  3. Are you serious Art? Is it really that bad? My co-workers were all going to go this Friday but now I wonder if we should look for another place. Where should we go downtown if not the Playground?

    1. I hate to say it but the downtown restaurants all have issues. Go here to check on them: The restaurants run by pro gourmet chefs really have no excuse whatsoever. And to make it worse restaurants like the Playground are not cheap. They charge $16 for an undercooked burger and the chef will NOT change any orders. He cooks the food the way he wants to, not the way the client wants it.

    2. I am alive and well. The food is always excellent. I’ve eaten at the Playground and several other Downtown restaurants and NEVER been sick from the food. The editor just hates the success of Downtown. Every restaurant anywhere has a violation of some sort. If this editor scared you, fine. One less person to have to wait behind to get into any of the award winning best of 2012 places to eat in Downtown Santa Ana. Why would people wait in line for so long if these places are nothing but big disease filled, bacteria infested ecoli caves with armature chefs with attitudes? Why? Oh, that’s right. Because they are popping out sick, food poisoned patrons who never go back to eat at their restaurant ever again. NOT. I guarantee that your own kitchen would not pass an inspection from the health department. Not by a long shot. Still going to make breakfast? You might get sick. Remember, editor hates the success! Feel free to ‘google’ the restaurants and read up on them. See you in the Downtown!

  4. Hey SundayFascist, nice attempt to divert attention from Moya’s Bakery’s displacement.

    Moya’s is a thriving local business who always paid their rent on time and cooperated with every demand their landlord made of them. Even then, they were denied a lease and are now being kicked out for the PayGround’s expansion. Interestingly, other East End businesses run by gabas all have leases because their skin is the “right” color.

    What will your kind do next? Tear out the roses lovingly planted under the Virgen of Guadalupe shrine & replace it with swamp grass? Oh wait, you already did that. It’s a clear confirmation of your heartless racism and the xenophobia of your employers.

    I’d suggest everyone avoid the so-called “East End” all together. If you want a quality experience, try the restaurants on the other side of Main, near the Artists Village. At least those restaurants have some love for Santa Ana’s native Latino community, don’t kick their patrons out for requesting condiments or serve overpriced mediocre food.

  5. SundayColi,

    You may be alive, but you are definitely not well. Perhaps the food at the Playground is making you so full of something that you might want to take some ex lax.

    The editor is not afraid of of success. But if you call unfair business practices, busing in patrons from Irvine like the Yost does and using public and merchant money to kick out honest Santa Ana businesses an example of success, then you must have gotten Mad Cow disease from those undercooked and overpriced burgers at the Playground. Bon apetit!

  6. Sounds like a bunch of cry babies need to catch the waaaa-waaaa train back home. Hey, congrats to Jason Quinn! Playground 2.0 opens today! Yummy and they will now be able to serve mixed drinks! Awesome! Health Dept. gave them the green light so be sure to stop by today and congradulate Jason and his team! Waaaaa-waaaaa!

    1. Bad news for Jason. Supervisor Todd Spitzer has reacted to our reporting on this subject and he has asked the OC Health Care Agency to report back to the Board of Supervisors on the subject of letter grade health ratings for restaurants. This time it will happen and Jason is going to have to clean up his act.

  7. This is GREAT news! Now that Todd is on the board you will see some real change up there. Art, why don’t you give your own letter grades to the Downtown restaurants? I’m sure your readers would like some advice on where to eat. So let us know A-F how you rate them! Maybe you can include photos and make this a 60 Minutes like review.

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