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There's more than meets the eye with these grades...

December 14, 2002

There's more than meets the eye with these grades

This is in response to Sharon Woodson-Bryant's letter about

restaurant ratings in the Dec. 7-8 edition of the Leader. There are a

few things that need to be understood about the grading process.

First, the Los Angeles County Health Department is self-funded. So

with that in mind, you have to realize that the inspectors have every

incentive to grade low, since it costs $161 to be reinspected in

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order to receive an "A" grade. Small operators, like myself, have a

hard time coming up with that amount of money.

Second, you are graded on other things that are secondary to

sanitation. You could have points deducted for a burnt-out light

bulb, a dripping faucet, or a piece of equipment in storage that you

don't even use anymore. And the inspectors won't miss it.

Third, there is no date on the grade to let you know when it was

inspected. That "A" could be eight months old. There are too many

variables that could happen in that time frame to affect the grade.

But the main fact to remember is this: If the restaurant truly was a

health hazard, the health department would close it immediately. That

means McDonald's and any other place with a "B" are as safe as any

open restaurant. I have never let the grade dictate my decision to

eat in a restaurant, and you shouldn't either. You would be missing

out on a whole lot of good dining.

CRAIG DANIGER

Owner, Dino's Pizza

Paramedics, ER staff get thanks

On Aug. 22 at 7 a.m., I woke up with extreme pain in my chest. I

called 911 and within three minutes, paramedics and firemen were at

my door.

By 7:15 a.m., I was at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in the

emergency room. At that point the doctors and staff took over,

tending to my massive heart attack.

I want to thank the Burbank Fire Department, Dr. Gifford and the

best intensive care unit nursing staff that I could have possibly

imagined for my being able to write this letter. Clearly, these

people are very dedicated to what they are doing.

The entire city of Burbank should be thankful for having this kind

of service available when in need. This kind of service makes me even

more appreciative of the fact that I live in Burbank.

Thank you.

ED HEISLER

Burbank

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