October 17, 2007, - 3:30 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
NEAT ‘N’ NASTY. That’s what you get when you scramble the letters of “NANNY STATE.” Yes, sometimes anagrams create the truest definition of them all.
In the case of the Los Angeles City Council, The Nanny State is now The Statist Nanny City. But it’s still NEAT ‘N’ NASTY.
You see, the Council wants to stop any new fast food chains from opening in the city. They want to institute a moratorium on new fast food restaurants in South L.A. until city planners can find ways to attract new healthy-fare restaurants.
That’s absurd. The market has decided. L.A. City Councilmembers South Los Angeles constituents have decided. And they want fast food.
They don’t want “healthy fare.” They want cheap, fast, and greasy. Despite the Morgan Spurlocks in their city government, Los Angelenos like to supersize it.
Councilmembers believe that a diet heavy on fast food is contributing to a rise in obesity in Los Angeles. Uh, no. People who can’t control their own impulses and are too lazy to go exercise their gluttony off is the reason for the rise in obesity. Shutting down restaurants and redlining areas of town to keep out fast food restaurants ain’t gonna solve that problem.
Aside from that, there’s the issue that fast food restaurants provide the best quantity of food at the lowest price, making it the most affordable nutrition for people in lower-income areas. What–you’re gonna send minimum-wage and welfare check consumers to Whole Foods a/k/a “Whole Paycheck” to buy organic Belgian Endive and bulghur wheat for dinner?!
For the record, I don’t eat at fast food restaurants. For the most part, they aren’t kosher. But I believe in the freedom of your right to choose where you eat, not my right to choose it for you. That’s the beauty of our country, where freedom and the marketplace are supposed to reign supreme. The marketplace decides what our choices are, not government nannies who intrude upon our lives and tell us how to live.
The proposal would halt the issuance of city zoning permits to new fast-food restaurants in the neighborhoods for at least one year and up to two years.
Councilwoman Jan Perry, who represents one of two South L.A. districts, says she has not encountered significant opposition as her proposal goes before a council committee later this month. She says other cities will be watching.
“Other municipalities may want to emulate it if it leads to the inclusion of new . . . restaurants or grocery stores,” she says. [DS: G-d help us. Coming soon to your town.] . . .
“Dictating to other groups of people what they should eat or want to eat is about the most patronizing kind of activity I can imagine,” says Barry Glassner, professor of sociology at the University of Southern California, whose campus is located in South L.A. . . .
A study by the Los Angeles Times found that 45% of the 900 restaurants in South L.A. are fast-food chains or restaurants with minimal seating, compared with 16% of 2,200 restaurants in Los Angeles’ Westside. . . .
It should be no surprise fast food is popular, particularly in an area such as South L.A., says Kenneth Herbst, assistant professor at the Babcock Graduate School of Management at Wake Forest University and a specialist in food marketing.
“Many enjoy the taste fast-food offers, and taste is so important,” he says. “Fast foods often meet a price point with which many segments feel comfortable.” . . .
Takiia Rivers, 16, says she didn’t see what the fuss is about. “I don’t necessarily know that there are too many” fast-food restaurants, she said.
“No, it’s OK now,” said her friend, Mariela Sanchez, 17, carrying the last of her meal from Taco Bell. . . .
Just defining what constitutes fast food isn’t always clear. The proposal would exempt sit-down restaurants where servers take orders. And people’s idea of choice can differ, too.
Two years before a new fast food restaurant can open–because the City says so. Hello . . .? That’s Communism. It’s statism in its worst incarnation.
The only way you get healthier restaurants in town is if there is a market for it. And clearly there isn’t. You cannot legislate health and weight-loss
No-one needs the Los Angeles city council to play nanny. This is still a free country. Property owners should be able to sell or rent to whomever they want, greasy spoon or not.
Today, it’s about McDonald’s and Taco Hells. Tomorrow, it’s about conservative or Jews or Christians or doctors or some other equally arbitrary statist exclusion.
Time for NEAT ‘N’ NASTY–The NANNY STATE–to go bye-bye. Doesn’t Los Angeles have other more important problems . . . like crime, drugs, teenage pregnancies, etc.?
I guess they don’t have those probs in Los Angeles.
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