Restaurant Rating System

We worked on a better color-coded restaurant rating system many, many months ago.   The Board majority preferred an October 1 effective date and a less communicative change in the notification seals.  Consequently, the Environmental Health Division of our Health Care Agency and our local restaurant industry has had more than adequate time to prepare for the introduction of the minor changes approved for the window display seals.

I was hoping to have a green, yellow and red seal program.   However, we will have the same seal and the words “PASS,” “REINSPECTION DUE,” and “CLOSED,” in bold.  I told you it was many, many months ago when we approved it.  So my memory slipped in explaining the new program to the reporter, Paul Anderson, below.

City News provided this article and it is in today’s Daily Breeze.

OC eateries to get new, color-coded rating system

From wire service reports

A new, restaurant rating system will go into effect in Orange County on Thursday.

A green sticker will be displayed at a restaurant that received the approval of the Orange County Health Care Agency, a yellow sticker at a restaurant with problems to be addressed and a red sticker at a closed restaurant.

The new stickers replace those that explained a restaurant’s status, but too many consumers complained they were difficult to read, Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach said.

“They were just not very helpful,” Moorlach said.

The system is similar to one in Sacramento County, Moorlach said.

Restaurant owners are just happy the county didn’t adopt the letter-grade system in Los Angeles County, said Pam Waitt, president of the Orange County Restaurant Association.

“They like it a lot better than the A-B-C grades,” Waitt said. “They felt like that was a bit of a scarlet letter. Basically anything that wasn’t an A was a flunking grade.”

That’s not fair because a restaurant might get an F one day for a broken water heater and that’s a lot less egregious than some violations, Waitt said.

“That’s not entirely fair because there’s a big difference between a broken water pipe and a rodent problem,” Waitt said. “Diners need to know that.”

Diners can continue to find out more about restaurants at where copies of inspection reports are posted.

“For good restaurants with good histories this is not a problem,” Moorlach said. “Even when the health care agency comes in you have to be pretty severely bad to be shut down.

“We’re not here to put people out of business. This is a tough economy. We just want to make sure taxpayers have a high level of comfort and can make that decision where to dine quickly.”


September 26


One of the fun proposed projects that many of us tried to kill five years ago was the OCTA CenterLine.  In the OC Register’s Sunday Commentary section was this column, “CenterLine:  Do the math – OCTA light-rail boondoggle is a hugely costly assault on county taxpayers,” was submitted by Phil Yarbrough, who serves as a Trustee on the Rancho Santiago Community College District Board.  The title says it all, but this project was going to cost roughly $1 billion per mile.  Here’s the closing paragraph

CenterLine should be stopped now.  Orange County needs viable transportation alternatives and strategies other than light rail.  I encourage the OCTA board to heed the Orange County Grand Jury, the cities of Anaheim, Orange and Tustin, Orange County Supervisors Campbell and Norby, Orange County Treasurer-Tax Collector John Moorlach, state Sens. Ackerman and Hayes, and Assemblyman John Campbell and abandon plans to build the CenterLine project.  Then we can focus on real transportation solutions for our community.

September 27


In one of my more whimsical editorial submissions to the Daily Pilot, I had fun with the topic of “Second Time a Charm?  History has shown ‘second timer’ candidates have a good chance at being elected.”  With the presumption that incumbents win 90 percent of the time (proven by a National Women’s Political Caucus study), that those running for a second time (after losing in their first effort) have a high possibility of winning, and those running for a third time or more don’t have a realistic chance, I predicted local race outcomes.

Gary Monahan would win the open Costa Mesa City Council seat in 1994 after his unsuccessful attempt two years prior.  Marilyn Brewer would beat “third timer” Jim Toledano.   U.S. Rep. Rohrabacher, the incumbent, “will win handily in Costa Mesa.”  Newport-Mesa Unified School District Board “second timer” challenger Wendy Leece against incumbent Rod MacMillan would prove my theory.  I was right on all of these predictions.

I was wrong on one.  For the Costa Mesa Sanitary Board I predicted second timer Dan Worthington and incumbents Nate Reade and Jim Wahner.  Surprisingly, Jim Wahner did not get re-elected.