Welcome to the Socialist Republic of California, Part Deux
Poor L.A. area gets moratorium on fast food
By Christina Hoag
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 07.30.2008
LOS ANGELES — City officials are putting South Los Angeles on a diet.
The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to place a moratorium on new fast-food restaurants in an impoverished swath of the city with a proliferation of such eateries and above-average rates of obesity.
The yearlong moratorium is intended to give the city time to attract restaurants that serve healthier food. The action, which the mayor must still sign into law, is believed to be the first of its kind by a major city to protect public health.
"Our communities have an extreme shortage of quality foods," City Councilman Bernard Parks said.
Representatives of fast-food chains said they support the goal of better diets but believe they are being unfairly targeted. They say they already offer healthier food items on their menus.
"It's not where you eat, it's what you eat," said Andrew Pudzer, president and chief executive of CKE Restaurants, parent company of Carl's Jr. "We were willing to work with the city on that, but they obviously weren't interested."
The California Restaurant Association and its members will consider a legal challenge to the ordinance, spokesman Andrew Casana said.
Thirty percent of adults in South Los Angeles are obese, compared with 19.1 percent for the metropolitan area and 14.1 percent for the affluent Westside, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
Research has shown that people will change eating habits when different foods are offered, but cost is a key factor in poor communities, said Kelly D. Brownell, director of Yale University's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity.
"Cheap, unhealthy food and lack of access to healthy food is a recipe for obesity," Brownell said. "Diets improve when healthy-food establishments enter these neighborhoods."
A report by the Community Health Councils found 73 percent of South Los Angeles restaurants were fast food, compared to 42 percent in West Los Angeles.
South Los Angeles resident Curtis English acknowledged that fast food is loaded with calories and cholesterol. But since he's unemployed and does not have a car, it serves as a cheap, convenient staple for him.
On Monday, he ate breakfast and lunch — a sausage burrito and a double cheeseburger, respectively — at a McDonald's a few blocks from home for just $2.39.
"I don't think there's too many fast food places," he said. "People like it."
Others welcomed an opportunity to get different kinds of food into their neighborhood.
"They should open more healthy places," Dorothy Meighan said outside a Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet. "There's too much fried stuff."
Councilwoman Jan Perry said that view repeatedly surfaced at the five community meetings she held during the past two years. Residents are tired of fast food, and many don't have cars to drive to places with other choices, she said.
Los Angeles' ban comes at a time when governments of all levels are increasingly viewing menus as a matter of public health. On Friday, California became the first state in the nation to bar trans fats, which lower levels of good cholesterol and increase bad cholesterol.
The moratorium, which can be extended up to a year, affects only stand-alone restaurants, not eateries in malls or strip shopping centers. It defines fast-food restaurants as those that do not offer table service and provide a limited menu of pre-prepared or quickly heated food in disposable wrapping.
The definition exempts "fast-food casual" restaurants such as El Pollo Loco, Subway and Pastagina, which do not have heat lamps and prepare fresh food to order.
The ordinance also makes it harder for existing fast-food restaurants to expand or remodel.
Rebeca Torres, a South Los Angeles mother of four, said she would welcome more dining choices, even if she had to pay a little more.
OH THANK YOU NANNY STATE! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Has anyone ever seen the demolition man? Sylvester Stallone has a line in the movie that says, "I want to eat a fat burger with a glass of beer while smoking a cigarette if I want"
Of course we all remember that the nanny state had put into place a ban on anything not healthy for you, the result was a black market that served rats.
Anyway, I digress
I will tell you the truth. I have 5 kids...those kids are healthy and in good shape.
Why? I make sure they excercise by playing outside.
I make sure they eat right by buying the right things from the store.
I LIMIT their fast food intake to once every 2 weeks.
I TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR MY HEALTH AND THE HEALTH OF MY KIDS.
I DON'T want the state or city telling me that I can or can not eat fast food...ITS MY DAMN CHOICE ... and last time I checked ... This is the United States of America, where individual choice is guaranteed to me in the constitution.
Of course, what the city isnt thinking of is that in this impoverished section of Los Angeles, there are those who rely on fast food for work, and often times is the only choice they have if they cant afford the high cost of owning a car to be able to commute to a job that actually pays.
So what is the city doing?
Keeping the poor reliant on the government.