Sunday, January 16, 2011

LA's attack on fast food

“The urge to save humanity is almost always a false-front for the urge to rule it.” -- H. L. Mencken

This is beyond ridiculous:
Driving along Crenshaw Boulevard, it is not difficult to find a place to grab a bite. At some intersections, there is a fast-food joint on each corner.

If the restaurant chains had their way in some parts of town, city officials say, no street would be without its own fast-food outlet.

Los Angeles is making one of the nation’s most radical food policies permanent by effectively banning new fast-food restaurants in South Los Angeles, a huge section of the city that has significantly higher rates of poverty and obesity than other neighborhoods.

A handful of much smaller cities have enacted similar regulations for primarily aesthetic reasons, but Los Angeles, officials say, is the first to do so as part of a public health effort. The regulations, which the City Council passed unanimously last month, are meant to encourage healthier neighborhood dining options. Supporters envision more sit-down restaurants, produce-filled grocery stores and takeout meals that center on salad rather than fries.

“If people don’t have better choices or don’t have the time or knowledge or curiosity, they are going to take what’s there,” said Jan Perry, a city councilwoman who represents part of South Los Angeles and pushed for the regulations. “To say that these restaurants are not part of the problem would be foolish.”
A few points:
  • The unemployment rate in Los Angeles County is 13 percent. Yet promoting business and jobs is apparently less important than regulating caloric intake.
  • If Councilwoman Jan Perry desires healthier options for her constituents, why doesn't she put her money where her mouth is and open the kind of establishment she would like to see?
  • This action continues a general trend towards increased paternalism with government action against trans fats, bake sales and Happy Meal toys. Government evidently no longer exists to protect people against others but also themselves.
  • If someone is not allowed to decide what types of food they can eat, how free is that person?
  • You can bet the existing fast food businesses, which are exempt from the ban, are fully behind such an effort as it reduces potential competition.

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