Big Burger Brother
Los Angeles City Council, which presumably has absolutely nothing better to do, has voted unanimously to prevent new fast-food restaurants from opening in the impoverished southern part of the city. It seems South Los Angeles has more fast-food outlets than other parts of the city, and a higher obesity rate among its residents, so the council, under some sort of plantation mentality, has determined that the poor folk who live there just aren't capable of making their own decisions about what they eat. Said Councilman Bernard Parks, "Our communities have an extreme shortage of quality foods." Did he ever hear of the free-market system? If a restaurant chain offering healthy food believed it could make big profits in South Los Angeles, it would open a store there as quickly as possible. Spokesmen from the fast-food chains say they're being singled out unfairly and have plenty of healthy options on their menus. What are they supposed to do when a person comes in and orders a double Whopper with cheese? Should they say, "Ma'am, I'd love to give you the hamburger, but your backside has its own zip code, so you're going to get a salad."? It's a nice concept to give people more dining options, but wouldn't it be better to work to attract different restaurants, rather than resort to a sort of economic-social-gastronomical engineering that is most likely an illegal restraint of trade? South Los Angeles resident Curtis English, who has no car and limited funds, recognizes that some of the fast-food offerings are not all that healthy, but the restaurants are convenient for him, and the price is right. Earlier this week, he got breakfast and lunch at McDonald's for a total of $2.39. Just try finding a place where you can get broiled cod and fresh vegetables for that price. And what about the people who guy groceries and cook at home? Shouldn't the city council be hiring monitors to snatch unhealthy foods out of people's shopping carts? Very few people are so stupid that they do not recognize that a Big Mac is worse for them than a garden salad with diet dressing, and that a steady diet of Big Macs and fries can lead to health problems down the road. I know that Oreos aren't health food, and I don't sit down and eat a dozen at a time, but I also know that they and Twinkies sure tasted a lot better in the days before the assault on trans fats began. It's time for governments - local, state and federal - to stop trying to micromanage people's daily lives. Our concerned leaders may see this as a matter of public health, but when it's all said and done, people will find what they want and eat it.