Friday, August 01, 2008

L. A., We Have a Problem

Normally I don't let politics take a front seat on my blog. But one issue has caught my attention and nags at me.

It is this: the city of L.A. banning the building of new freestanding fast food joints for the next year. They are touting concern for Americans' health as the reason--as if this move is going to curb obesity, lower the rate of heart attacks, or turn junk food junkies into marathon maniacs.
Is it really the job of city government to sever our ties with burgers and fries?

No one can make people patronize a place. By the same token, anyone can boycott a business. But since when is it up to a city government to say "no more" to a non-violent, amoral move of capitalism?

The city of Baltimore went too far by banning cigarette smoking in bars. It was a law that "butted" in by increments. First, years ago, all restaurants had to have smoking and non-smoking areas. I liked that because I'm a non-smoker and don't like to smell cigarettes while I'm eating. But some smokers love lighting up at the end of a meal to make it complete. Who am I to say they shouldn't? Restaurant owners should have the say; it's up to them to figure out if they're making or losing money by which policies they enact.

But soon Balto's government got pushy and, before long, smoking was banned altogether in restaurants. If people wanted to smoke, they had to go outside; if they wanted to smoke and eat in one place, they headed to bars. Government then forced bar owners to spend thousands of dollars on sprinkler systems and other things to make their establishments safer for patrons. Finally, in one hot session of legislature, smoking in bars was completely "snuffed out" in Maryland.

Did it affect me personally? Of course not. I don't go to bars and I don't smoke. (Although, about once a year I get a hankering to buy a pack and smoke all the cigs in one sitting. I have yet to do it.) I simply don't do the bar scene or smoke because it's lifestyle decision.

What bothers me more than secondhand smoke is the toxic air politicians have circulated to drive business away for non-violent, amoral reason. I have seen firsthand the effects of a law "in the name of health" here in my home state of Maryland. What's next, banning new grocery stores because they sell Twinkies and Coke? Banning Christian bookstores because they push religion? Banning cars because people get killed in them? Ridiculous? Yes. So is the banning of fast food joints.

How about banning new porn shops? We all know porn destroys people and families. How about banning a new Target? After all, they sell Tylenol, and if you take too way much of it, you'll die.
I say ban Home Depots from being built. They sell chain saws. My husband's uncle accidentally cut his jugular and bled to death while trimming hedges.

Los Angeles, we have a problem. Banning the building of new fast food restaurants won't cure people of their love for fast food or their desire to get it. But if we don't stop you from cooking up
socialism, you're gonna get fatter and fatter on the lard of a lazy republic.

I say, let the people decide if and when and where they're going to eat, but don't attack capitalism. It's what America was built on. That and cheeseburgers. Even if I was an obsessive health nut, I would be against the fat nose of city government telling me I couldn't build a Burger King if had the wherewithal to do so.


Karen said...

you are spot on Zo! so are we also going to say that those with a hankering for burger and fries are not allowed to drive to junkfood outlets for not only will they be eating unhealthy food but also now wasting more gas??

Anonymous said...

I tend to agree. People need to be educated about health, and if they still decide to frequent those joints, it's a free country! Besides, they offer salads and yogurt and whatnot. They say the issue is about what's available, but there is "healthy" food available there, and if people really cared, they'd go for that over the Big Mac. But maybe it's the Big Mac they actually want.