Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Just How Corrupt Is The Los Angeles Country Health Department?

Plenty corrupt as has been shown by Joel Grover of KNBC with his on-going expose of the conditions at the 7th Street Produce Market in Downtown Los Angeles.

But that is only the beginning of what has been going on in that department.

During my battles to evict drug dealers who ran restaurants on Main Street, after years of work, I finally got the worst of them (where crack was openly sold through a window 24 hours a day for years) temporarily shut down for health code violations, and even that took direct intervention from Gloria Molina’s office. But while they were closed during the day, when the sun went down - they reopened and sold drugs until dawn.

After weeks of this, I finally got an honest inspector to come at night to catch them open, which would permanently revoke their permit. But then someone reported to me a county car was parked by the restaurant when it opened that night. Hours later my inspector came out - and they were... closed.

And the next night they were open again. This went on for weeks until theyir suspension was over, and they could ‘legally’ reopen again. It finally took round the clock surveillance and a police battering ram to shut down the place.

Later, another evicted restaurant owner who catered to the drug dealer clientele reopened in a long closed restaurant without applying for a permit. And that was grounds for shutting them down. I reported it - repeatedly - but suddenly an ‘A’ appeared in the window showing it had been inspected – and yet it had not been shut down for being open illegally.

I called to see what happened and someone made the mistake of telling me what had really happened. When my complaint was finally about to be acted upon, a health inspector called the restaurant owner to WARN them of the raid, and the illegal restaurant owner then came in and they gave him a license as if he was just opened – without even inspecting the restaurant – which was illegal. He then was inspected the and they gave him 'A', ignoring the fact he had been illegally open for months

And he is still open today, though luckily the increased police presence has driven off most of his drug dealer clients.

Around that same time, a legit restaurant opened a closed restaurant – but it got shut down for two months, which resulted in the restaurant eventually closing.

After that, I no longer bothered to try and use the County Health Department to close down drug dealers since they were so clearly working in tandem with them.

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