The bill to end hidden tax on New York City business and restore the role of public health

There once was a Mayor de Blasio, who couldn’t quite calm the mobs, ya know? So the police got more power, and the public turned sour, and no one heard again from former Mayor de Blasio. / ‘Loves you not’ illustration by Jessie Cacciola

On July 25, 2012, Bill de Blasio, then the city’s public advocate running for mayor, announced his plan to sue the Bloomberg administration for what he called a hidden tax. “Two months ago,” he wrote later that week for the Post, “I tried prying information from city agencies about which violations are generating all the new revenue, which neighborhoods and businesses are being hit hardest, and whether quotas were responsible for driving the record level of fines. …


For the kitchen-less, restaurants remained open

Ladies in London, illustration adaptation by Jessie Cacciola

It is impossible to know if restaurants will reopen without knowing why they opened, why they stayed open during the 1918 flu pandemic, why they exist at all.

Our world is round and so is time more of a circle than a straight line. If that’s true, by November we’re due for a roaring ‘20s, followed by a great depression. But we don’t have quite the same limitations we did in 1918. To warn the public that it needed to avoid gathering, they first needed to gather; in fact, public spaces served as prime…


Why Amazon Can’t Get it Right

What does it mean to be competitive when you create customers who can’t be satisfied and workers who are invisible?

A light lunch of fish salad for Louis XIV, adapted by Jessie Cacciola

The thing that disturbed me most about Jeff Bezos’ statement before Congress last week is not what might have disturbed most, but as a sales person (I work in food distribution), it’s very telling. It’s not surprising, but I wonder how it landed, not among Congress, but among the market that allows Amazon to exist, its customers and employees.

“I founded Amazon 26 years ago with the long-term mission of making it Earth’s most customer-centric company.”

Nothing in this statement…


In fetishizing the heat of the kitchen, the circus continues to sell bread

Illustration by Jessie Cacciola

If a restaurant can afford to hire a PR company, does it need the press? Maybe only in the state of competition that is New York City or Los Angeles. Is the restaurant, then, any more deserving of attention than one that can’t afford representation, or one that chooses to spend money on PR rather than fix the fan in their walk-in?

These are things we, as journalists, should be asking ourselves. Journalists do not exist to collect low-hanging leads. We are here to uncover the very…


The only things deterred are tax and good will

“Chairman Pickle” Illustration by Jessie Cacciola

“A tax is a levy collected for general government services. A fee is levy collected to provide a service that benefits the group of people from which the money is collected. A penalty is a levy collected with the express aim of deterring some kind of undesirable behavior.” — William Rinehart

M y mother is an accountant. She likes to count money. Her father was an accountant. He liked to count money, too. Those who like to count money are generally able to find ways not to lose it. I was…


The power of prevention, if only we bought it

Illustration by Jessie Cacciola

Too often it is only in times like this that health departments receive the funding they actually need. In so many ways, NYC’s 2020–2021 budget has not met this moment. While the city covers 92% of the NYPD’s close to $6 billion executive budget (not counting its total $11 billion budget, which includes officer pensions), it only covers 51% of the DOHMH’s $1.6 billion.

In the mid-1960s, under president Johnson’s Great Society, the nation shifted resources from prevention to treatment. This made way for a bustling private health sector — for…


In the absence of guidelines, restaurants are left to write their own

Illustration by Jessie Cacciola

A person without a mask is an egg without a shell. This will mean something to cooks who spend their days saving us from bad eggs. We, the people, are an unpasteurized yolk. One crack of a mask, a drop to the chin, and microbes are free. Vapors float out like fireflies, invisible only most of the time, as they flicker on to their next host.

I, like many critics stated this week, have not dined out at a restaurant since mid-March, and I don’t plan to until…

Jessie Cacciola

Jessie Cacciola is a food operator & writer in New York. She runs Grade Pending Press, a research & advocacy space for food providers & those who inspect them.

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