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Van Bramer Says Health Dept. Fines are too Damn High

Sept. 14, 2012 By Christian Murray

The city council is drafting legislation that would reduce fines levied by the health department under the city’s restaurant-grading system, said councilman Jimmy Van Bramer.

Van Bramer, who spoke at the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce meeting Tuesday night, said that many restaurants and cafes are being hit with hefty fines that don’t even involve food preparation—such as broken tiles or dented cans. “Many businesses are being preyed upon by the Health Department,” he said.

One Sunnyside bar owner told the SunnysidePost that he had budgeted $5,000 in 2012 in anticipation of Health Department fines. He claimed that the department is able to find any infraction– no matter how small.

“I have met with a lot of businesses and there is a real need to enact legislation,” Van Bramer said.”In many ways they [the Health Dept.] are extorting money.” He said that the fines have become a revenue source for the city.

According to reports, the city is expected to raise $48 million in restaurant fines this fiscal year—a 50% increase from the amount collected in 2009.

However, Mayor Michael Bloomberg disagrees with the city council over this issue. He claimed on a recent radio show that as long as restaurants “get rid of the mice and the cockroaches and the open containers [and] follow the rules, they won’t have any fines.”

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11 Comments

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JuliaJ.

Jimmy a dinosaur? Are you kidding me????? Jimmy is as Far Left as it goes. As for the Romney comment, obviously somebody has an agenda when they compare apples to oranges. Libs say the darndest things!

Reply
Neighborhood Eye

@ Dorothy Moorehead Thank you! I can not tell you how many times my car has gotten tickets for things that I had no idea were infractions. Parking on a sidewalk where there is no sidewalk, for putting a sticker too high in the windshield, for parking in an unmarked no parking zone–it is infuriating! When someone registers a car in NY they should be given a complete list of all possible infractions so they can strive to avoid them. Not ticketed first and informed later. Its a racket!

I wish JVB would do more to keep the people who live here happy. This is a neighborhood, not a business hood. I feel the beauty of the place has been commercialized and thus degraded.

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Dorothy Morehead

Jimmy Van Bramer “an uninformed dinosaur”?!? Anonymous, you have obviously never met him. Jimmy is trying to help the small businesses in his district survive. Of course, we all want clean restaurants serving healthy food, but the Health Department can, and does, impose fines for some of the craziest things. One example: when I operated Bliss, I received a fine for not having a self-closing bathroom door with a pause device to allow time for a wheelchair to enter. I had a very competent architect work on the plans and nowhere in the building codes did the requirement for a self-closing bathroom door with a pause devise appear. I learned about it only when I got a hefty fine ($500 if I recall correctly–I’m trying to forget the whole restaurant ownership experience). Now, I’m not saying the requirement for such a devise does not have merit; however, the requirement should be explicitly stated somewhere and the business operator should be given a warning and the opportunity to correct the problem–not socked with a fine.

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Long time sunnysider

@43rd street resident united 40s meetings are a community meeting for people who live in the Sunnyside / woodside areas. They discuss what s going on in our neigherhood . The captain of the 108 precinct comes and duscusses the crime in the area and what they are doing to lower crime. If u hav a problem u can stand up and tell ur story and normaly they will try to do something about it. Def worth an hr of ur time once a month if u really care about your neigherhood .

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43rd Street Resident

@ long time sunnysider

Please tell me what exactly the United 40’s organization does?

How do you qualify for membership?

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43rd Street Resident

@ long time sunnysider

Please tell me the purpose of united 40’s organization what is it they exactly do other then give themselves awards. What are the qualifications for membership?

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Long time sunnysider

I hav said it over and over again the people who write their comments on this website and other websites should attend the local meetings in our community and see and hear what s really going on in our neigherhood . Next united 40s meeting s the 2 nd Thursday in October.stand up and b heard. If u really care about ur neigherhood u will b there. Otherwise forget about posting the negative comments on this website. U need to b seen and heard.

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Anonymous

Yeah that’s what we need, lighter penalties for health violations. We need those about as much as we need lighter penalties for banking violations. This extreme “let the free market handle everything” thinking is what is ruining our country. Van Bramer is just another un-informed conservative dinosaur. It’ll be nice when they all go extinct.

Reply
Ruben

I think most of us know that a low grade is almost always never about the food.

unless you’re talking about Post Diner on 40th st, where the only thing edible there is a banana.

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Neighborhood Joe

Bloomberg gives away land to rich families and hikes fares and fines on poor people. Typical of his class. Just what Romney did in Massachusetts.

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Ich_bin_ein_Sunnysider

Van Bramer is right.

The city is only interested in shaking down bars and restaurants for as much money as they can get and not about public health. It’s a legalized extortion racket.

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