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Mary Cheh‘s proposal to implement an L.A.-style system to grade D.C. restaurants on their cleanliness has not been received well by the folks over at the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington. If I were to grade RAMW’s rhetoric in the release it just sent, I’d give the prose an “A”—-for its righteously “angry” tone:

The legislation mandates a simplistic letter grading system with the grade posted in the restaurant’s front window. The process of health inspections is a subjective one based on one individual inspector’s interpretation of the regulations. It is a one-day snapshot that may or may not reflect the restaurant’s record of compliance with health regulations.

The release continues:

This legislation is proposed in a city already known for its unfriendly business environment and also known for its extremely high cost of doing business. This legislation comes at a time of increasingly volatile economic turmoil, a time when cities should be doing their best to assist their high-tax paying businesses instead of pushing them further to the brink.

The current food code regulations contain provisions for commending restaurants that consistently perform well in inspections – a positive reinforcement tool that any educator will tell you is more powerful than the threat of negative consequences such as is proposed by this legislation. Unfortunately, the commendation provisions which have been in place for many years are not used. Rather than simply having the Health Department follow its current regulations by implementing the commendation provisions, another layer of regulation is proposed.

RAMW strongly opposes this legislation.