by McQ | July 29, 2008 2:00 pm
One of the things I point out regularly is government intrusion when and where it is unwarranted, unwanted and certainly unneeded. Obviously it is a target rich environment, but one that constantly teaches a valuable lesson about where governments at all levels seemingly end up.
Unfortunately it’s the nature of the beast, and it is why wise people keep on constant eye and a tight rein on the institution. It seems that whenever a collection of those constituting a ‘governing body’ meet, their job eventually devolves into doing things which further justify their jobs (and they keeping them). That usually means finding more areas of your life in which to intrude.
In the impoverished neighborhood of South Los Angeles, fast food is the easiest cuisine to find — and that’s a problem for elected officials who see it as an unhealthy source of calories and cholesterol.
The City Council was poised to vote Tuesday on a moratorium on new fast-food restaurants in a swath of the city where a proliferation of such eateries goes hand-in-hand with obesity.
“Our communities have an extreme shortage of quality foods,” City Councilman Bernard Parks said.
The aim of the year-long moratorium, which was approved last week in committee, is to give the city time to try to attract restaurants that serve healthier food.
This is the old “camel’s nose under the tent” scenario. They couch their intrusion into a neighborhood and an industry by saying their opinion about what food is or isn’t acceptable is the only valid opinion and they will use their power to prevent legitimate businesses from locating in an area they’ve decided should have a different type of cuisine.
Of course, there’s an unintended consequence to be found here, something I’m sure they don’t even realize. Should this pass, the existing fast-food restaurants would operate with no added competition and no incentive to change. Their business will protected by government decree.
But the Council’s justification for such a moratorium is all about your health, of course. If you won’t take care of yourself to their satisfaction, they will, through the force of their offices, make it happen by such radical measures as deciding what type of restaurant is best for your neighborhood, fatty, er, citizen.
The California Restaurant Association diplomatically calls this nonesene “misguided”:
Fast food “is the only industry that wants to be in South L.A.,” said association spokesman Andrew Casana. “Sit-down restaurants don’t want to go in. If they did, they’d be there. This moratorium isn’t going to help them relocate.”
Amazingly simple, isn’t it? If there was a demand for that type of a restaurant, it would be there by now. Because, you know, markets, when they’re left to work, usually are very efficient at anticipating demand and, if there is a profit to be made, fulfilling it. If you’ve ever watched how the franchise brands such as Applebee’s, O’Charley’s or Outback, for instance, choose their sites, it is through a thing called a “market study”.
No market for sit-down restaurants, no restaurants.
This ruling isn’t going to change that reality. It is simply going to lock out businesses which may be willing to locate there, provide jobs and serve that community.
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. “They should have better things for children,” she said. “This fast-food really fattens them up.”
And, of course, Ms. Torres apparently can’t say no to her children in a fast-food joint. What in the world makes anyone think that if there’s a “sit-down” restaurant with “better choices” that she and her children are going to choose any of them (or that she’d actually make them choose healtier choices if they were available)?
This is another, in a long line of indicators of the depths to which governments at all levels feel entitled go in deciding how to manage your life. And that is precisely what this amounts too.
But public health officials say obesity has reached epidemic proportions in low-income areas such as South Los Angeles and diet is the key reason.
Of course their answer is always more restrictions, more regulations and more intrusion into the choices of your life. Why? Because that’s what they do.
Now, consider one more very important point: this is being done in the name of your health without government actually having control over your health care. Imagine, if you will, what choices will be severely limited or eliminated if that ever was to come under their control.
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