Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Burger Ban... LA Approves One-Year New Fast Food "Moratorium"

As I mentioned a few days ago LA City Council would be voting on a proposal that would place a moratorium (sounds better than a "ban" right?) on any new fast-food restaurants in a predominantly poor 32-square-mile area of South Los Angeles. Not surprisingly, the proposal was unanimously approved yesterday.

The move comes after "residents at five public meetings expressed concern with the proliferation of fast-food outlets in the community plagued by above-average rates of obesity" according to an article at

Ostensibly, the move is designed to bring in healthier alternatives to an area where nearly 75% of all restaurants are fast-food outlets. As I've said before, I don't usually go for this type of food policing by local (or bigger) government but you have a couple of issues at play here, namely a nationwide problem with obesity that's more prevalent in poor areas (childhood obesity is 30% in this particular area) and a dearth of grocery stores that could provide residents with alternatives to slowly killing themselves (and their children) with fast food.

Here's some coverage from the LA Times along with reader comments.


I am so wise said...

Per chance, you're not against fast food because it happens to be the food choice of the poor? I've notice a lot of foodnistas like your self rail against fast food, while ignoring the fact that Starbucks serves drinks as fatty as any McDonald's offering, and that Subway produces healthier food options as any sit down restaurant the LA government will attract to the area.

Dan said...

LOL... I'm hardly against fast food! I'd eat at White Castle once a week if there was one nearby and I have a soft spot (that's slowly hardening) for several fast-food treats including Filet-O-Fish, Chick-Fil-A and the taste of a good ol' BK burger or McDonald's Quarter Pounder with Cheese, old school fries from the Golden Arches and those damned BK onion rings with the spicy dipping sauce. Seriously, ya might be barking up the wrong tree on this one.

And I can't state this enough, but I'm usually not a proponent of these kinds of measures. Thin the herd, survival of the fittest and all that. But I've got options, eat healthy (most of the time) and will occasionally treat myself to something that's bad for me. But I have the resources that fast food doesn't have to be my main food source. Believe me, I understand why people eat fast food... is it so wrong to want them to have the ability to make better choices?

And it's not like LA City Council is closing existing fast food restaurants or forcing these places to substitute apple slices for french fries. 75% of the restaurants in this area are fast food. If somebody wants a burger, taco, chicken, etc. nobody is stopping them and they'll have plenty of places to go. But they may have to walk an extra block to go to Rubio's... is that gonna kill them? Nope. Might even be good for them.

But when residents express their concern that maybe there are too many fast food joints cropping up, isn't it the responsibility of an elected official to take a closer look. Don't try and make this something it isn't or make me out to be something I'm not.

And actually, I have talked about the fact that Starbucks drinks pack caloric, sugar and fat wallop.