speeding cars and dirty restaurants

I saw this display at a Bayshore community event – a youth group brainstormed some intriguing questions and then went out into the neighbourhood to poll.
Nothing scientific about the results, of course, but still, an interesting project, and some of the results sparked some animated dialogue among residents browsing the display. Many felt that speeding traffic is a serious problem in Bayshore – do Bells Corners residents see it as a big issue in their neighbourhoods?

Anyone have a suggestion for a good poll question – I could put it up on the blog for you.
In other cities, restaurants are graded as to their cleanliness, either on an ABC scale (New York) or on a colour-coded system (Toronto). Whether by colour or letter, the designations signify good, iffy and bad.
In Ottawa you can go on the City site and eventually find some results for Bells Corners restaurants.
Are a lot of people getting sick after eating in our Bells Corners restaurants, leaving aside those who drink too much or overstuff their faces? I doubt it.
But still, food safety is something you can’t play around with, so maybe slack restaurants would have more incentive to keep things squeaky-clean if inspection reports were more easily available to the dining public?

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9 Responses to speeding cars and dirty restaurants

  1. ottawaowl says:

    Bill: I like the posted ratings that many other cities use. Since anything below an “A” can be a death sentence for a restaurant, it’s quite an effective motivator for keeping things clean. I have turned around and got back in my car more than once in California after seeing a B or a C in the window of a restaurant.

    Kate: Maybe. But keep in mind one hears the inspectors can be bribed. So I don’t know what the A would mean except that the resto can afford to hand across a brown envelope when necessary.

    Ephraim: It would be nice to have. Anyone receiving a rating less than A should have a right to have a paid retake. The inspectors should have to go through with a tablet through a set of predetermined set of instructions. They should have to photograph those items (pass or fail) so that they can be recorded and re-examined by third parties. Basically the inspector shouldn’t be able to tell if you pass or fail or what grade you get, they should simply go through a checklist, write down the answer and take pictures as proof. If a second opinion is needed based on the pictures a supervisor should be sent. Anyone who passes someone and it’s clear that they conspired in any way should be given a single warning, the second time they should be fired. Anyone offering a bribe should immediately be given an F rating and have to display the sign until they can get a reinspection, minimum of one month. And inspectors should be watched from time to time. Between the pictures, loss of job and loss of revenue, you should be able to get a pretty honest system. Oh… and the inspector’s name… should be on the grade score, so if the public complains about a problem, you know who is to blame. Repeated problems and complaints should warrant job loss. Inspectors shouldn’t be told where they will inspect ahead of time, so they can’t have regular routes and different people must inspect each time. Standard deviation should be able to ferret out cheaters.

    William: If a government service needs improving, the way to do that is by publicizing its work more, not less.

    walkerp: Just because a restaurant is clean doesn’t mean the food is good. Going too far with sterilization regulations can often hamper the production of good food, especially when universal rules are applied that ignore cultural variations. Look at what those food inspection assholes did to the butcher shops on The Main. I mean you want a base level of inspection, but once you get into posting grades and scaring consumers away, it’s a slippery slope.

    BobR: Historical note: I believe the first city to do this was Los Angeles back in the 90s. There, it occurred because a TV station did an exposé on restaurant health practices. They snuck hidden cameras into several of the city’s most well known and best restaurants. What they showed was that unhealthful – and sometimes frighteningly disgusting – habits were commonplace. Los Angeles restaurants experienced something like a 25% loss of business in the first six months. They subsequently *begged* the health department to do something to restore confidence, and the “grading” system public signage was born. Having lived there at the time, I recall the signs starting out pretty B heavy with some Cs, but after a year or so, almost everywhere was an A.
    Kate: I would add to walkerp’s observations that inspections can also be used to implement xenophobia. For example, inspections have reduced the number of Chinese BBQ places, because the methods used to make things like char siu pork simply do not fit the city’s rigid rules. On the other hand, millions of people eat char siu pork and don’t get sick.

    Kate: That’s my fundamental point. if we had an epidemic of food poisoning I’d say yeah, let’s fix this. But I don’t see any evidence of such a problem. We don’t have a problem to fix. There are far more serious public health issues here to focus on – moldy school buildings, for example. Plus, people want to pay low prices for restaurant food, the people who work in restos are largely paid minimum wage (or less!) and yet we want to hold them to laboratory standards of cleanliness?

  2. Dave Mc. says:

    Speeding cars – I’d say not a big issue through BC, but once they hit the lights at Westcliffe on Robertson some of the little racer boys like to hammer it and scream down the road towards Kanata. I’ve seen the police lie in wait on the side of Robertson but they can’t be there every day/night. Then again, the intersection right near me (Robertson/Westcliffe) has certainly seen its fair share of tragic crashes – often speed or alcohol related, or a combination of the two.

    Often it’s drivers coming from the west who speed right through that intersection.

    • jenni says:

      I won’t walk my dog on Robertson after the lights at Westcliffe because of speeding motorists. Being taken out by a car is not my idea of a good way to die.

  3. margaret says:

    you provided YOUR answers but didn’t provide THEIR questions … amazing that so many would respond to this blog and request anonymity!
    and yes … grading by health department is good
    speeding – happens everywhere .. they build cars for speed … they build roads for speed
    that’s why they are not repairing Ottawa roads – all the bumps and cracks lower the speed .. cheap method of traffic calming 🙂

  4. jenni says:

    I hate the fact that my comment is awaiting moderation. I’m not a child and shouldn’t have to be supervised like one!

    – I sympathize with you! Sometimes I comment on other blogs and it’s a pain (and sort of insulting) having to wait for approval.

    But I understand that there are very good reasons for moderating a blog. If I let everything through unedited, I think it would be a disservice to blog readers who want their content error-free, clear and succinct.

    Look on the bright side- by moderating your comments I take all responsibility for them – you don’t have to worry about any legal issues if somehow the shit hits the fan and the lawyers get a toehold.

    But, if you really feel strongly about it, I could assign you post-without-moderation privileges – everything you write will be posted in real time without any supervision by Papa.

    It would be an interesting pilot project. If readers of this blog like the results (I’ll do a poll) then maybe that’s the direction that this blog should be heading. I’ve always said that this is NOT my blog and that I’m looking to make it less “top-down” (if I’m to practice what I preach). Anybody else want to post without my moderation?

    • Tim says:

      I “Tim” would like to post free from moderation.

      – Sure thing, “Tim.” But can I post on YOUR website too? If it’s good for the goose…

    • margaret says:

      have no problem with you commenting on posts and others commenting on posts … that’s what a blog is

      as the ‘leader’ I also think you have the right to remove or bleep out comments … after they have been posted

      it is after all judgmental what is ok and what is not … and at the moment you are the only judge

      there’s some of your stuff that I would like to edit out !

      – Ha! Ha! Don’t blame you for that. And I don’t want to be the only judge. I just want some quality control here – people have a ZILLION places to go on the internet, so if they pass by this Bells Corners blog I better offer them a pleasant experience. It’s not always an easy thing, since everyone has their own particular interests and perspective. An open Bells Corners community blog is worth the effort though, so I’m certainly not complaining.

      Sure, I edit posts for brevity, clarity, spelling, syntax, whatever, but if I deform your thoughts too much, let me know and I’ll make the necessary corrections/apologies. Overall I think that I have a good record – I’m closing in on half-a-million visits in the past couple of years – that’s not chopped liver, especially in a small “community” like Bells Corners that has fewer than 10,000 residents.

  5. jenni says:

    yes do a poll…I would post more often if I didn’t have to fill out stuff below, yes I’m lazy…

  6. ferd says:

    Traffic problems on the strip include: punks driving sewing machines, women driving anything, old coots reliving their youth in 400 horsepower vintage cars, macho truckers, speeding richies in their BMWs, cabbies not paying attention, frazzled impatient drive-through commuters from the sticks, etc.

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