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My Letter in Today's Brookline TAB

From Letters to the editor: Nov. 1

Restaurant inspections important to economy

Kudos to Jessica Scarpati and the TAB for the article “Bugs, mice plague Fugakyu, Zaftig’s” in the Oct. 25 paper, in which you report on the town health inspections at the two restaurants. Although the information from the inspections is presumably public record, not everyone in the town has the time to go to the Health Department and find this information out for themselves. Articles like this remind all of us of the value of a good community newspaper.

I’d also like to offer kudos to the Health Department for their continued excellent work. Besides protecting the citizens of the town, the Health Department is also helping with our town’s economic growth. The Coolidge Corner restaurants are a big draw for folks from all over the greater Boston metropolitan area, and their presence encourages people to come to Brookline to do their shopping as well. Should the town’s restaurants start to get a bad reputation because of health violations, the repercussions for our community would be felt far beyond the restaurants.

Finally, it was reassuring to read the comments from Desmond Cheng, the general manager of Fugakyu, as he acknowledged the issues and explained in detail what the restaurant is doing to work them out. Conversely, the lack of comment from the owner of Zaftig’s was slightly disturbing. I hope that Zaftig’s will get back to the TAB soon to explain their own plans to address the health issues reported in your paper.

Michael A. Burstein
Library trustee
TMM, Precinct 9

Comments

Have I ever told you my uncle's Board of Heath-related story?
I don't recall it. What was it?
My uncle was skiing somewhere in Western MA; I forget which mountain. After he finished, he went into a little coffee shop at the foot of the mountain to get a coffee and warm up. As the guy behind the counter was getting it, he knocked a stack of filters off the shelf onto the floor, picked them up, and put them back on the shelf.

My uncle said, "You know, you really ought to throw those out, since they've been on the floor."

The guy rolled his eyes and said, "What are you, the Board of Health?"

My uncle thought about that a moment, then reached into his wallet and showed his Massachusetts Board of Health ID. He'd been elected just a couple months before.
No, you hadn't told me that story. That's great!
I like what they do in LA, which is to issue letter grades to businesses and require them to display the grade prominently in the window, so people know before entering how the place did on its last inspection. You can imagine the incentive this gives people to (literally) clean up their act.
Strange that Brookline doesn't appear to post inspection results online, as Boston (along with lots of other jurisdictions) does.
Can you give me a link to where Boston posts this information? I can forward that along to our Health Department and see if it's something they might consider doing as well. (Actually, I haven't even checked to see if Brookline already does provide this information online.)
http://www.cityofboston.gov/isd/health/mfc/search.asp

It looks like it's incomplete -- possibly because it was put up less than a year ago and inspections weren't retroactively loaded, at least if I'm interpreting the FAQ correctly.
I spoke to the head of Brookline's Departmenr of Health about putting the results up online. He told me that this is something they are planning to do, but they want to make sure they do it correctly. Other municipalities have had problems with this, as you saw on Boston's site, where they haven't updated in a whie. Our health department wants to put the actual reports on line, so there's no room for misinterpretation.
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