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Friday, August 01, 2008

Fast-Food Moratorium in South L.A. (Part 1)

If you were to ask me to provide an honest answer regarding the question of our youth (and our populous in general) getting obese - I'd completely agree. The data doesn't lie, and neither do my eyeballs. People are getting fatter - and more people are getting fat. I would never, though, say it was an "epidemic", since that's supposed to be a word meaning a rapidly-spreading disease. Despite some crappy article I read once about how if you have several obese friends then you're more likely to become obese, weight problems are not a disease (social or otherwise). You can't "catch obesity" - not even from toilet seats.

But it's our right to be fat.

It's our freedom of choice to choose sedentary lifestyles or picking up a bucket of KFC instead of lifting weights or even ordering too much healthy food which in turn isn't healthy. You can't blame the gyms for being too expensive (though they are expensive indeed). You can't blame the video game industry for getting you addicted to sitting and button-mashing (thanks to DDR and WiiFit "games"). You can't blame the food places for letting you order too much (I mourn the loss of the "Supersize"). You can't blame the fast food industry for "being there" (unless you're a moron).

So the Los Angeles City Council must therefore be a bunch of morons.

They voted unanimously to approve a law banning new fast-food restaurants from opening in South Los Angeles for at least a year.

Why in the name of all that is good and holy and deep-fried would they do such an idiotic thing?

Because 30% of the kids in South L.A. are obese, compared to the L.A. average of 25% of obesity in children.

That's it. A 5% difference - one extra kid out of twenty happens to be obese in South Los Angeles, so let's ban all new fast-food locations from opening. That sixth kid to tip the scales in every 20-child South L.A. classroom best get ready for an ass-kicking from the other five obese kids for crushing their dream of a new place to gorge on greasy delights! Oh, and by the way, THIS DOES NOTHING! At best, you're forcing people to waddle a little further to get their fix rather than letting a closer location get built. At worst, you're raping the sanctity of the free market. This little charade doesn't change the goddamned MARKET OPPORTUNITY!

Do you know why fast-food locations are doing well in that area and more want to open up? Because that's what the market demands. We just had a Dunkin Donuts / Baskin Robbins open in our building a month ago - even though one exists less than one block southeast from our building. And a few weeks ago, yet another one opened a block northeast of our building. Do you know WHY they're opening up three Dunkin Donuts locations within a block of each other?


I would never expect our city to decide "the downtown area is overcaffeinated and obese and caffeine is a drug and donuts are fattening, so let's ban new donut/coffee locations so that other businesses can move in." Okay, Chicago is the Nanny City, so I might expect it - but it's still a ridiculous idea. If the people wanted a new sit-down food location with healthy choices, then one of those businesses would move in and would prosper. FORCING one of those to open up INSTEAD of what the market wants will result in poor sales and the inevitable closing and moving out of that business. In my neighborhood, we mostly have greasy spoons and take-out Chinese and Mexican places. And some Italian-esque fancy/expensive bistro tried opening up. And nobody came. So they've closed. Twice. Maybe if another burger joint moved in there, business would be booming for them. It's called the FREE MARKET.

Councilwoman Jan Perry, who has pushed for a moratorium for six years, said the initiative would give the city time to craft measures to lure sit-down restaurants serving healthier food to a part of the city that desperately wants more of them.

"I believe this is a victory for the people of South and southeast Los Angeles, for them to have greater food options," she said.

You moron! If that part of the city "desperately" wanted more sit-down healthy restaurants, then one would be opening in one of the available spaces. You can't just BAN certain types of businesses from renting that space just because you're "holding out" for one you like. If a business moves in and you don't like it and don't want it, you don't go. And if enough people do that, it goes out of business and closes and some other business can try it out. And if NOT enough people refuse to go - that means that people DO want that service/product and YOU'RE the idiot for thinking that YOUR opinion represents your entire area's opinion.

That's how it's supposed to work - and you shouldn't be allowed to pass an idiotic law to tell people what they supposedly want but obviously don't.

The law defines fast-food restaurants as "any establishment which dispenses food for consumption on or off the premises, and which has the following characteristics: a limited menu, items prepared in advance or prepared or heated quickly, no table orders and food served in disposable wrapping or containers."

My full rant on this law's language will be found in Part 2... In traditional George Carlin format...

Please Digg this article and join the debate regarding this bill!

1 comment:

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