EDITORIAL: Week of January 19

January 19, 2012 Editorial Staff
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A bridge too far

U.S. Customs’ plan to remove inspections of imported cargo fromthe Red Hook Container Port, forcing arriving containers to betrucked uninspected over the Gowanus Expressway and VerrazanoBridge to Staten Island, makes no sense.

For one thing, it could deal an economic death blow to theBrooklyn port, which provides approximately 700 jobs as well as afinancial boost to the surrounding community.

By adding some 4,000 trucks annually to local roads, it wouldalso increase the burden on motorists, and on the city and state,which would have to provide funding for additional repairs.

Finally, and perhaps most significantly, allowing uninspectedcontainers from overseas to travel through city streets could openthe door for terrorists to perpetrate a new attack on the citythat, as Congressmember Michael Grimm stressed, is the number oneterrorist target.

As Grimm said to us, It’s an unacceptable risk. We couldn’tagree more.

Grading the graders

The City Council has launched a survey for restaurant owners tospeak out honestly on their experience with New York’s restaurantgrading system, whereby the Department of Health rates eateries ona variety of criteria, fining those which are found to haveviolations and closing down those which fail the inspection.

Diners want to know that the restaurants they patronize arewell-kept, and restaurateurs have a vested interest in making suretheir premises meet and even exceed standards.

The problem is that the city’s regulations may be appliedunequally, and perhaps used to generate revenue to fill the city’scoffers. While restaurant owners were willing to speak anonymouslyabout the problems they perceive, a startling number of themrefused to go on record, fearing retribution.

That is just unacceptable. For the system to work, it must beabout making sure the city’s food-based businesses are safe forcustomers, and not about raising revenue. We hope the surveyelicits valuable information that can help fix the system, so thateveryone benefits.

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