McHatin'

The L.A. City Council, a city council I refuse to take seriously until it grows a spine and bans metal bats, has an idea:

"Fast food is primarily the only option for those who live and work here," says City Councilwoman Jan Perry. "It's become a public-health issue that residents be given healthier choices." 

Sounds great! How do we provide people in South L.A. with more choice, Councilwoman Jan Perry? 

She has introduced a two-year moratorium on new fast-food outlets in this part of the city, where small, single-family homes dominate and gangs thrive in a rough urban landscape. 

Now, I'm not sure what the best response to a burgeoning obesity problem might be. But when you've got a serious health problem that correlates strongly with poverty, I would guess locking out  businesses known for providing entry-level jobs is not particularly helpful. Is the assumption that a bunch of Trader Joe's and Bikram yoga studios are going to swoop in and take over? Barry Glassner weighs in (italics mine):

"We should always be very cautious about restricting food and dining options for other groups of people," says Barry Glassner, professor of sociology at the University of Southern California and author of "The Gospel of Food: Everything You Think You Know About Food Is Wrong."

He and others cite several benefits fast-food restaurants offer to those living in poorer neighborhoods: good, inexpensive food; a safe environment for kids; and fast preparation, which is particularly appealing to single parents, many of whom work more than one job.

"If a particular community wants to kick out certain kinds of food, that is one thing. For outsiders to do it is patronizing and demeaning," says Dr. Glassner. "Calling all fast food evil is just too simplistic."

Still, others hold more moderate views.

Yeah, that's crazy, Barry Glassner! He must be on some high-fructose-corn-syrup-induced high. Let's hear from that "moderate":

Kathleen Hall of the Stress Institute of Atlanta agrees that healthier eating contributes to a longer, more satisfying life. Besides food zoning, efforts must include educating youths about food, countering media influences, and promoting the importance of families eating together in quiet environments, she says.

So, for those keeping score on the food zoning debate as relayed by the Christian Science Monitor: Skepticism about fast food zoning = pro-fatty fringe. Support for zoning plus a comprehensive education program = happy medium.

The svelte Jacob Sullum reviews Glassner's latest book here.

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  • Keith Cunningham||

    You might want to blog about this piece of nonsense as well:

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/09/12/BAJ3S3KBQ.DTL

  • ||

    In the time it takes for me to wolf down a Big Mac, joe will have written a defense of this.
    You know you live in a rich country when even inner-city poor are having weight problems.
    And this is not a bad thing.

  • ||

    California über alles!

  • ||

    "Kathleen Hall of the Stress Institute of Atlanta agrees that healthier eating contributes to a longer, more satisfying life. Besides food zoning, efforts must include educating youths about food, countering media influences, and promoting the importance of families eating together in quiet environments..."

    Your kids will meditate in school!

  • thoreau||

    Come quietly to the camps...

  • ||

    Of course I must support bans on fast food. I am, after all, in favor of other government programs, and that's totally how it works.

  • ||

    joe, I didn't even get to the fucking pickle yet.

  • ||

    Glassner was also the August 1st edtion of the Skeptics Guide To The Universe podcast and said much the same thing.

  • Nasikabatrachus||

    It's like that libertarian joke-phrase-truism: If you want to aggress against the citizens, you're a leftist; if you want to aggress against foreigners, you're a right winger; if you don't want to aggress against anybody, you're a danerous radical.

    And for this, as with many other problems, the statists focus the argument around cracking down on businesses, and libertarians who defend freedom of association are left looking delusional as the real source of the problem, the federal government's perfidious agricultural subsidies, goes undiscussed.

  • JBinMO||

    Not to worry about the lack of new business in the area, I'm sure liquor stores, strip clubs and payday loan places will fill any gaps.

  • ||

    Gee, let's look at this. I doubt that the LA Council will admit that poor people are generally less intelligent than the non-poor, but they do admit that they aren't smart enough to make their own choices for them. What do you call that kind of logic?

    I'd have more respect for this councilperson if she just came out and said "You people are too stupid to know what to eat."

  • ||

    Jamie,

    And I didn't defend the ban. Just mocked you for your brainlessness.

  • ||

    I don't get it, J-D.

    How is the statement "Poor people don't have adquate choices," a statement that poor people are stupid?

    It sounds more like a statement of confidence that they would choose intelligently, if they had the opportunity.

  • ||

    How is the statement "Poor people don't have adquate choices," a statement that poor people are stupid?

    Because the statement is utterly untrue. Since they do in fact have the adequate choices to eat "healthy" food the obvious conclusion is that the council is simply unhappy with the choices those dummies are making. Of course they can't just come out and say that - they have to rationalize their desire to make better choices for them by blaming it on something that sounds good to the reporters but is, in reality, complete nonsense.

  • ||

    And I didn't defend the ban. Just mocked you for your brainlessness.

    Coming from the most anti-principled liberal shitbag on this forum, I take that as a compliment.

  • ||

    Joe: They have the food outlets they chose. The demand of consumers in poor areas led to the supply of fast food restaurants. The LA City Council does not approve of these choices, and so they treat the poor like ignorant children.

  • ||

    Brian,

    "Fast food is primarily the only option for those who live and work here," says City Councilwoman Jan Perry.

    YOU may think that "they do in fact have the adequate choices to eat "healthy" food," but guess who doesn't? At least one LA Councilwoman.

    But of course, that can't possibly be her REAL reason. Only libertarians on comment boards can see into the true hearts of LA City Councilors.

  • Paul||

    "We should always be very cautious about restricting food and dining options for other groups of people," says Barry Glassner, professor of sociology at the University of Southern California

    I thought this was called "leadership".

  • Garth||

    Are there really neighborhoods without food options aside from the local Micky-D's? I have lived in a couple of rather marginal neighborhoods in my lifetime and there was always a fresh food market of some sort. Maybe it was mostly populated by people speaking something other than English, but I doubt that there are many people who really have no choice.

    I will point out that I lived in one borderzone-ish place where there was a grocery store across the street from a Micky-D's. I hate to admit that the two establishments upheld stereotypes based on clientèle.

  • Paul||

    Besides food zoning, efforts must include educating youths about food, countering media influences,

    yyyyeah, I want my government to counter media influences. Let's start by closing down a few newspapers. Mmhmm.

  • ||

    Brandybuck,

    Let me get this straight. McDonald's, Burger King, and the rest have one, and only one, model of how the run a store. They have one menu they offer coast to coast.

    And yet, you can assert with such confidence that the fact that those companies offer that menu in LA is a demonstration of revealed preference?

    That seems a bit of a stretch. You're going to completely ignore that those companies have a production model that allows them to be the fastest with the cheapest - that, in fact, in a place with a limited market for suppliers, that the number and type of estalishments is limited by forces other than the preference of consumers?

  • ||

    Only libertarians on comment boards can see into the true hearts of LA City Councilors.

    Exactly right. Because we know that this nanny-state bullying and "public health" shit they peddle is authoritarian at its core.
    So joe, what is Santa Claus getting you for X-mas?

  • ||

    Garth,

    I think the "lack of choices" the councillors pointed to referred to prepared meals.

    Standard libertarian disclaimer: I am not advocating for "food zoning" or bans on food. No further positions beyond those openly stated should be inferred. Your milage may vary. Do not taunt Happy Fun Unprincipled Shitbag.

  • ||

    Some moron-repellant, hopefully.

  • ||

    How is the statement "Poor people don't have adquate choices," a statement that poor people are stupid?

    Ooh, Ooh, Raises hand excitedly...
    Joe if the people in South LA wanted to eat at tofu and brocolli restaurants, there would be tofu and brocolli restaurants in South LA. People in South LA vote daily with their hard earned and scarce dollars on what kind of restaurants they want in ther neighborhood. For an outsider to limit their choice is an insult to their intelligence. You goddam know it, too.

  • ||

    It's true. The poor in Compton have no fresh foods alternatives. I've been there, and I've never seen a farmer's market anywhere near Compton.

    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=12301+Atlantic+Ave,+Lynwood,+CA&sll=37.09024,-96.503906&sspn=44.25371,71.894531&ie=UTF8&ll=33.91003,-118.205938&spn=0.045517,0.07021&z=14&iwloc=addr&om=1

    Whoops, wait! What's that? Is that the LYNWOOD FARMER'S MARKET, right in the heart of South Los Angeles?

  • JBinMO||

    "I thought this was called "leadership"."

    Do you also think what George Bush does is called "leadership".

  • ||

    J sub D,

    Answered already.

    There are more factors that influence what kind of suppliers locate in an area that consumer preference.

    But let's say that's not true. Let's say that the incredibly convenient thesis you put forward is true.

    Is it so incredibly implausible that this City Councilor could possibly disagree with you about that?

  • ||

    Still, others hold more moderate views.

    Let the consumer decide? That's just crazy talk!

  • ||

    joe, would you support limiting what kinds of food, food stamp recipients buy too? No eggs (cholesterol), no hamburger (obesity) no snack cakes (HFCS, and we KNOW that's evil), no potato chips (salt, and hypertension is notorious for killing poor, ignorant, black folks), etc. Hell let's just let some government health person go through every store in California that accepts food stamps and put an approved or disapproved sticker on each item. This kind of crap is so paternalistic and, yes, racist. You should be ashamed.

  • ||

    You might think that the photograph of the overweight customer entering Jack-in-the-Box that accompanies the LA Times article on this topic is yet another example of biased reporting or editing. You would be wrong.

    The photograph was actually the result of a game akin to the Sultan's daughter puzzle. The photographer was given a camera with film for one picture. One hundred patrons were sent into the restaurant, and the photographer had to take the picture of the fattest one. The catch is that he only saw them once, as they went in, and he could not go back and photograph an earlier patron.

    The picture he took is what ran in the paper. No word yet on whether he got to marry the person or was beheaded...

  • ||

    joe,

    The preference of the people is revealed through the existence of these fast food outlets. Businesses fail every day. In my lifetime I've seen numerous fast food restaurants boarded up and eventually turned into something else. The fact that these businesses have managed to survive suggests a demand for their services among the population of the area in question.

    Here's a pickle for you: if, in the past, restaurants and markets offering healthier fare have been introduced into the area, why have they not survived? (If they have survived, then I don't see the purpose of government intervention at all -- having demonstrated their ability to stay on their feet, why does anyone feel the need to prop them up?) If such restaurants and markets have not been previously introduced in this area, why do we expect the moratorium to have any effect on that trend?

  • ||

    "...if, in the past, restaurants and markets offering healthier fare have been introduced into the area, why have they not survived?"

    Because the government has not properly compensated for the "market failure" which has led to the closure of such eateries.

    Obvious answer: SUBSIDIES!

  • Asharak||

    Out of all of the problems that plague Los Angeles (unaffordable housing, gangs, pollution, racial and economic stratification) and the L.A. city council decides to focus on fast food? Not that I'm defending McDonald's, but if this isn't the epitome of not having one's priorities straight, I don't know what is.
    And yet California liberals have the temerity to wonder why they have a reputation for being phonies.

    If they get ever around to actually opening healthier eateries in South L.A. if this proposed fast food ban gets passed, I'll eat my hat at McDonald's.

  • JBinMO||

    This council woman probably ownes a couple of McDonald franchises in the area. Graft.

  • ||

    I think the "lack of choices" the councillors pointed to referred to prepared meals.

    Oh please. Come on, she said it was a public health issue that they be given healthier choices meaning that they currently lack adequate choices from which to acquire healthy meals, which is patent bullshit. Now you want to redefine what she said to mean choices for healthy "prepared meals"? I guess libertarians on comment boards are not the only ones who can see into the hearts of the LA City Councilors after all.

    Besides, what exactly are these healthy prepared meal choices that are mysteriously absent from the poor neighborhoods? Red Robin? McCormick and Schmick's? My neighborhood is not "poor" but I don't know of many places serving prepared meals around here that would pass for "healthy". And BK and McD's all have salads and other "healthy" items if one wants to eat low-far or low-calorie meals. Of course whether eating the way the learned council-woman apparently thinks they should actually leads to a healthier, better, or longer life is debatable to begin with.

    The fact is that fast food is, contrary to the council member's claims, absolutely, without question, not the only choice they have. They can easily and cheaply get any number of fruits, veggies, and all manner of supposedly healthy food at the grocery store.

  • Asharak||

    This is still nowhere as bad as San Francisco making it illegal not to provide adequate shelter for pets despite also having a dearth of affordable housing and a homeless problem).

  • ||

    Not that I'm defending McDonald's,...

    Okay Asharak, I will.

    They are clean. There is no smoking allowed. A double cheeseburger, chicken sandwich, french fries, and two (small) hot apple pies comes to a grand total of $4.00 before taxes (no drink included because I can't stand soda pop). That's a damned good value for prepared food. Plus many have play areas for children, something you don't find at your typical vegetarian restaurant, or sushi bar.

  • Douglas Gray||

    Poor people in South L.A. make less healthy food choices than those in more affluent areas of the City. Poor L.A. blacks aren't into tofu, spinach wraps and juice bars. If they were, there'd be plenty of 'em in South L.A.

    Really want to get 'em to eat well? Tell WHOLE FOODS to open up a huge market with the promise that the L.A. tax payers will subsidize their losses, and also fix prices so that the poor can afford to buy there.

    Hey, man, if you're going to embrace the welfare state, let's go hog wild!

  • ||

    J sub D,

    How many times would you like me to repeat that I don't support this bill, or other efforts to limit food choices?

    You know what? I don't care. Piss off.

  • ||

    anonymous coward,

    I don't doubt that there is demand for fast food there. I'm sure Councilor Perry understands that this demand exists, as well.

    But do you really think that customer preference is the only force which influences the types of good available? What about supplier preference, or supplier efficiency, or cost? Especially in a market where the consumers are of limited means.

    Anyway, ask your pickle to someone who supports the proposal. I don't think it makes much sense.

  • ||

    Brian Courts,

    Are you sure you want to stick with the argument that fast food restaurants and grocery stores are direct competitors offering the same products?

    C'mon, you can do better than that.

  • ||

    And yet, you can assert with such confidence that the fact that those companies offer that menu in LA is a demonstration of revealed preference?



    Yes. This is standard economics. You don't have to go to crazy-talk radicals like Hayek or Friedman, just any standard Econ 101 textbook. Look up the chapter on supply and demand.

    Here's how it works in real world terms: McDonalds opens a store in South LA. The residents, who want only high quality healthy food, do not patronize it. So it goes out of business. Several months later, Burger King opens a franchise there. But it too goes out of business because it doesn't offer the food choices the residents of South LA prefer. Later, when Jack in the Box is looking to open a new store, they notice that the former McDonald's building is sandwich deli, and the former Burger King building is a BBQ house, and so they choose to supply their burgers elsewhere.

  • ||

    Of course, my scenario is one where the residents do not prefer fastfood chains. That such chains appear to be ubitquitous in South LA, it seems that the residents prefer them.

  • ||

    DEMAND KURV!

    No, Brandybuck, the discipline of Economics does not teach us that no other factors besides consumer preference influence what goods are made available for sale in a market.

    Maybe you should try flipping past that chart on Page 3. See what else is in there.

    But that was a good try!

  • ||

    It's gets mighty irritating to discuss different designs for an airplane, and to be constantly interrupted by some airhead saying, "But things that are heavier than air go down, not up! Read some physics!"

    So you'll have to excuse me, Brandbuck, but I really don't need you to explain to me how supply and demand works. Got it. Thanks. Take care.

  • Asharak||

    Okay Asharak, I will.

    They are clean. There is no smoking allowed. A double cheeseburger, chicken sandwich, french fries, and two (small) hot apple pies comes to a grand total of $4.00 before taxes (no drink included because I can't stand soda pop). That's a damned good value for prepared food. Plus many have play areas for children, something you don't find at your typical vegetarian restaurant, or sushi bar.


    There's something to be said for these things, I agree, but being fond of fast food myself, I'm not a McDonald's fan because I don't like their food products.

  • ||

    Good coffee at Mickey D's. At least in New England.

    Do they still serve that piping hot sewage water in the rest of the country?

  • ||

    How many times would you like me to repeat that I don't support this bill, or other efforts to limit food choices?

    You know what? I don't care. Piss off.


    But you make excuses for the proponents of this nonsense.

    You know what, Have a good evening! ;-)

  • ||

    Are you sure you want to stick with the argument that fast food restaurants and grocery stores are direct competitors offering the same products?

    Hard to stick with an argument I never made. C'mon, you can do better than that.

  • ||

    Don't be a worm, Brian. You argued that fresh fruits from a grocery store with, in economic terms, a replacement for Extra Value Meals. That the people buying fast food during their lunch breaks could just replace it by going into the bodega.

    Either stand by your arguments, or don't make them.

  • highnumber||

    All these haters ignore that McDonalds is not necessarily bad for you.

    Proof: McNugget meal compared to some "homestyle" meals. Note that you can get fruit with the happy meal.

    or order a salad, ya nut. I don't like too many salads, but theirs are pretty good.

    You can shop at Whole Foods and buy creme fraiche, horribly fatty cheeses, lovely fat-marbled beef, all sorts of food that tastes wonderful, is horrible for you, and costs an arm & a leg. You can go to McDonalds and eat healthy food on the cheap. It's not where you shop, it's how you shop.

    Full disclosure: I own 40 shares of McDonalds stock. It ain't much, but it keeps going up and paying dividends (which are also going up).

  • ||

    joe, I didn't even get to the fucking pickle yet.



    Eh? Are you eating your Big Mac in song order? (I mean, who saves the bun for last?)

  • ||

    There's something to be said for these things, I agree, but being fond of fast food myself, I'm not a McDonald's fan because I don't like their food products.

    Me neither, I go with Arby's for fast food usually. It's just that defending McDonalds is fun because so many of the self appointed food overseers (CSPI, etc.) use Mickey Dees as the perfect example of the consumate evil that is corporate, greedy, (and successful) fast food chains.

  • ||

    Either stand by your arguments, or don't make them.

    I always stand by what I said. Always nice to avoid the issue by taking (rather weak) shots at mischaracterizing what they said - not something you've ever bitched about people doing to you now is it?

    But fine, you want to play your games (and since you seem to know what city councilor meant unlike libertarian commentors on this board) please identify the "direct competitors offering the same products" (your apparent standard that my suggestion of grocery stores violates) that would count as the healthy choices the city councilor had in mind. The fact is there are no such places so the fact that grocery stores are not either (which I never argued they were, your silly insistence notwithstanding) is irrelevant to the point at hand making your picking that point to argue seem even worse than it already did.

  • ||

    highnumber,

    Isn't McDonald's based in Oak Brook?

  • ||

    Brian,

    Did you offer raw food from grocery stores as a replacement for fast food meals, or not?

    Why, yes, yes, you did.

    And since I don't support the bill, and have repeatedly stated that I don't support it, I don't see any reason why I should be expected to defend it. Yep, that's a good point about other segments of the restaurant market - the restaurant market, Brian, meaning something that could actually be a direct replacement for fast food meals - not being able to offer alternatives at equivalent costs and convenience.

  • highnumber||

    ProGLib,

    Yes, they are. That's one of the reasons I choose to buy a little of their stock. They get lots of coverage in the local news, so it's easy to track what they're up to. I usually see buying individual stocks as too close to gambling. (I'm not much of a gambler. Just small stakes on occasion.) I viewed this as akin to putting money on a hometown team that all the experts picked to win.

  • ||

    highnumber,

    I see, I see.

    Do you eat the McRib sandwich when available?

  • ||

    This idea that poverty causes obesity is the biggest crock of shit ever.

    You get a society that's so rich that even the poor people are fat and some how this is blamed on poverty?

    Could it be that people lack self-control? And maybe, shockingly, those unable to work themselves out of poverty have the least self-control in the entire population?

    Liberals are so full of shit. People are hungry and you need government intervention. People get fat you need government intervention. There is no end to it.

  • ||

    Full disclosure: I own 40 shares of McDonalds stock. It ain't much, but it keeps going up and paying dividends (which are also going up).

    I invested in Halliburton simply out of my hatred of liberals. It went up for a while and then I needed money so I sold it.

    When I got more money I invested it in Exon Mobile. Went from 61 to 88 dollars thus far. Profiting from an evil oil company, evil because they supply us with electricity and heat for our homes, is a real turn on.

  • ||

    I've won Big Macs because I could do the "two all beef patties, special sauces, lettuce, cheeze, pickles, onions, on a seasame bun." really fast when I like 8. Thank god for the free market and jingle advertising.
    I think I'll go scarf down one of the grease burgers right now. Damn! Wish they had the old fashioned non-biodegradable styromfoam containers to throw on Joe's lawn where it would sit for like 100,000 years.

  • Jimbo||

    Brandybuck,

    Joe is absolutely right! He proved it with his own post. There is absolutely ZERO demand for snotty comments from asshole liberals by readers of this site, yet Joe appears after every single post. QED: Demand does not always equal outcome. Someone call the LA City Council and get them on the case.

  • ||

    Did you offer raw food from grocery stores as a replacement for fast food meals, or not?

    Why, yes, yes, you did.


    WHA?

    Are you seriously arguing that poor people aren't competent enough to make meals from raw food at a price at or below fast food without somehow depriving themselves? I don't even pretend to understand what you are trying to say, because it's incomprehensible.

    Don't poor people own cookware?

  • Stephen Smith||

    Or, alternatively, the US could stop subsidizing the crops that make fast food so cheap (so that the beef that McDonald's uses wouldn't be so cheap); remove the price floor of sugar (so that corn syrup would no longer be used); repeal minimum wage laws, open the borders, and remove health and licensing restrictions (so that the streets would be filled with delicious, cheap ethnic food served by matronly Chinese, Mexican, and Indian grandmothers, whose sons and daughters would go on to code our desperately-needed social networking software). Removing subsidies for crops commonly used for animal feed would have the added benefit of helping the environment, as producing 1 calorie of beef is as harmful to the environment as something like 10 calories of raw plant material.

  • ||

    Did you offer raw food from grocery stores as a replacement for fast food meals, or not?

    Why yes, yes I did - as an example "healthy choice" that some people were apparently lacking. In fact I use the grocery store as a a replacement for fast food myself (not often enough perhaps). That it is not identical to fast food is both obvious and necessary for it to be considered a "choice" after all. You claimed that amounted to me arguing "that fast food restaurants and grocery stores are direct competitors offering the same products." That seems an absurd characterization of what I said, but I'll let others be the judge (and of course, if they were offering the same products it would defeat the concept of an alternative).

    So, yes, someone can go shopping and buy stuff to make a lunch to take with them as an alternative to eating "unhealthy" food at a fast food place. I do it, I see many others do it - including people who would be considered poor by US standards. I suspect that if eating "healthy" were all that important to someone they would choose to do so as well. If they don't, then they simply have other priorities, which is fine. But, it is not because they lack healthy alternatives to fast food.

  • ||

    its common knowledge that those who work for non profits are some of the most dysfunctional and idiotic people who cant hold down regular jobs (and probably stumbled through college taking hits by the bong load while discussing the virtues of marx's critique which they failed to read). Their incompetence is second only to politicians.

  • ||

    Supply and demand are not equal players on the stage. Demand has a much larger role to play in deciding what goods will be sold. It is the shopper who writes the grocery list, not the grocer. If doesn't matter how much supply of Big Macs the evil rapacious corporations provide supply, if the consumers don't want them, they will not buy them.

    I suspect quite a bit of hyperbole in the article, but if it is indeed the case that fastfood chains are the only choice of food in South LA, then it can only be because the residents want only fastfood. I say this because I can point you do hundreds of other poor neighborhoods in California where there is a large variety of delis, grocers, taquerias, rib joints, ethnic markets, etc.

  • highnumber||

    ProGLib,

    Oh, no! Pig does not touch these lips. Ever.

  • ||

    As I well know. But whether any actual pig is in the McRib is highly questionable. Certainly no pig meat lies therein.

    Ever order a Filet O' Fish, emphasizing the "O"?

  • Ray G||

    I quit buying Scientific American years ago when they a ran an article by a Yale professor who proposed that we could end the propensity for poor people to smoke at a higher rate than the population, by simply giving them more money.

    If they felt better about themselves, they would smoke less was his central theme.

    And to think, I could have been Ivy League material if I thought more like that. . .

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    High, are you absolutely certain that the McRib is actually pork?

  • ||

    Did you offer raw food from grocery stores as a replacement for fast food meals, or not?



    I will offer raw food as a replacement for fast food meals.

    Anyone can make a healthy homemade meal, for cheaper than McDonalds, for not much longer than it takes to wait in a McDonalds drive through window.

    Perhaps the Los Angeles city council should give disadvantaged people manditory home economics lessons.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Ever order a Filet O' Fish, emphasizing the "O"?

    Ever order a Coke at Jack-in-the-Box and ask them to hold the secret sauce? They spit in your drink when you do that.

    Wait. They don't have secret sauce at Shit In The Box anymore.

  • ||

    Did anybody else follow up on their expert?

    From Dr.(of Spirituality) Kathleen Hall's bio:

    "Dr. Hall has perfected her expertise...where science meets the soul."

    www.stressinstitute.com

    They also sell great inspirational stone coasters and shower hangers in the Relaxation Room !

  • ||

    Common sense, folks ... if people you define as poor are grossly obese, your definition of "poor" is wrong. Especially if these poor people drive cars, have color TVs, stereos, and live in houses with running hot and cold water, etc.

    Poor people can eat healthily for less than what it costs to eat at McDonalds. I eat oatmeal or cracked wheat for breakfast -- a few pennies a serving. Peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat for lunch. Macaroni and cheese with steamed vegetables for dinner. All cheap. All nutritious. All quick and easy to make. And if you want to splurge and go to Mickey-Ds once a week, you'll be OK if you keep the portion sizes down.

    We're not talking about poor people, we're talking about people making unhealthy choices despite having plenty of other options. Legislation won't fix that.

  • ||

    "Fast food is primarily the only option for those who live and work here," says City Councilwoman Jan Perry.

    I'm not sure what definition she's using for the South LA area, but Google shows some choices.

  • ||

    "I will offer raw food as a replacement for fast food meals.

    Anyone can make a healthy homemade meal, for cheaper than McDonalds, for not much longer than it takes to wait in a McDonalds drive through window.

    Perhaps the Los Angeles city council should give disadvantaged people manditory home economics lessons."

    Any ONE can, but these people often work two or three jobs and have to prepare food for themselves AND their children. The more people you have to feed, the more time it takes - and the cost of living anywhere in Los Angeles is so high that poor people need to work several jobs to make ends meet, so they are too exhausted to take another hour and cook when they get home.

    Do any of you people actually LIVE here?

  • ||

    If the city council's concern is that there are not better quality restaurants than McDonald's then a moratorium does nothing to solve that perceived problem. Healthier restaurants will open in those areas or not, no matter how many Burger King's or Wendy's there are in the area. A moratorium just creates a new potential problem by limiting the kind of restaurant that alreay exists. It is another example of a busybody government wanting to do "something" even if that something is ineffective and ultimately harmful.

  • ||

    The preference of the people is revealed through the existence of these fast food outlets. Businesses fail every day. In my lifetime I've seen numerous fast food restaurants boarded up and eventually turned into something else. The fact that these businesses have managed to survive suggests a demand for their services among the population of the area in question.

    The idea that "the people" have a single preference that's revealed by the existence of fast food outlets is a pretty collectivist notion for libertarians to be making, but it seems to be echoed by several posters on the thread. There may well be individuals with a preference for a macrobiotic diet living in South Central LA who find that the market doesn't provide them with the alternative choice they prefer. You don't have to support government action to remedy this situation--and joe has pointed out several times that he's not supporting the particular goverment remedy discussed in the article--to agree that it's possible that the market alone won't produce alternatives for healthy eating in a given neighborhood, even when there are people in that neighborhood who literally hunger for such an alternative.

  • Fluffy||

    Look at the guy who is the supposed radical here:

    "If a particular community wants to kick out certain kinds of food, that is one thing."

    Um, fuck you it is.

    "We, the City Council, have decreed that there is to be no Indian food within the city limits!"

    Blow me, fucker.

    The "Community" doesn't get to "keep out certain kinds of food", using any other mechanism than individual purchasing decisions. Advocating for the right for the "Community" to do so is advocating for tyranny.

    This is what you get for trying to make reasonable concessions on the zoning issue. Zoning advocacy starts out with plaintive requests that you separate residential areas from chemical and explosives plants. It ends - it ALWAYS ENDS - with cocksucking losers trying to micromanage what businesses will and will not be allowed to operate, based on nothing other than their trussed-up personal preference.

  • ||

    The "Community" doesn't get to "keep out certain kinds of food", using any other mechanism than individual purchasing decisions. Advocating for the right for the "Community" to do so is advocating for tyranny.

    As Stephen Smith has pointed out, there are many other mechanisms already in play that contribute to the preponderance of fast food outlets. Do you think, on balance, McDonald's is the beneficiary government action or the victim of it?

  • Fluffy||

    McDonald's has absolutely been the beneficiary of government action, most notably in the area of transportation policy and land use policy.

    But making the leap that says "the state builds roads people drive on to go to businesses, so that means we can declare our cities Indian-food-free zones," is absurd.

    The business history of McDonald's really isn't particularly relevant to the zoning issue in any event, because to make this restriction work they will have to ban categories of restaurants, not brands. I will be equally unable to open "Fluffy's Hamburger Shack" - a brand which has no history of positive state action on its behalf to atone for - as I will be to open a McDonald's.

  • ||

    "it's possible that the market alone won't produce alternatives for healthy eating in a given neighborhood".

    Wrong.

    The market WILL produce alternatives. If there is sufficient demand. Obviously there isn't sufficient demand in South LA.

    I frequently see people (like joe) who throw out the phrase DEMAND KURV as though it is some sort of pejorative. When that happens, it's clear that the thrower simply doesn't understand economics (in spite of his protestations to the contrary).

    If the people of South LA wanted healthy food, that they could afford, someone would supply it; that they can't afford it will not be helped by a city council ban on restaurants that provide food (some of it healthy) that they CAN afford.

    And hey. Where is Dan T. in all of this? Why isn't he just telling the people of South LA to MOVE if they don't like the restaurant choices there.

    CB

  • MATTDAMON||

    DEMAND KURV!!!!!

    *looks around - nobody hier. hrumph. stomps off*

  • ||

    I think anonymous coward (all the way back at 7:02pm) hit it on the nose.

    I would add that fast food restaurants probably exist in that area for multiple reasons beyond pure demand. One of them would be having the capital necessary to take a hit for a while if there's a period of time when nobody eats at the franchise, and has the financial ability to risk failure in the face of possible (and probable, based on precedent) success. You won't find many restaurants, chain or otherwise, that serve predominantly food that a person should eat on a daily basis if they want to remain thin.
    I therefore think the councilwoman's actions are completely hopeless, both for moral reasons and practical reasons. WTF does she think is going to happen as a result of her glorious moratorium?

    Secondly, I get satisfaction out of being economical, myself. I try to minimize the amount of time I spend preparing food while maximizing the nutrition of that food, while simultaneously minimizing cost. I calculate that my lunch cost for the day is roughly $.80 for my sizable portion of whole wheat pasta dish with tomatoes, chic peas, and mixed vegetables, and $.40 for my yogurt (bought in a larger container and partitioned into reusable containers at 6oz a piece). I drink water (lots of water). My lunch costs less than a McDonald's lunch and it took me all of 5 active minutes to make and sort.. 15 if you count waiting for the water/pasta to boil.

    I would have no problem with some non-profit, church, or whatever printing pamphlets braking down exact options for nutritious and easy meals, calculating cost savings over a period of a month (as a lure as to why to bother paying attention), and distributing them in areas where they think they're needed.
    The government, however, should butt out.

  • ||

    I'm sorry, i should specify that the time estimate was for 4 portions (1 time, 4 meals), while the cost calculations were per meal.

  • ||

    "If the people of South LA wanted healthy food, that they could afford, someone would supply it"

    should have read:

    "If the people of South LA wanted healthy food, and they could afford it, someone would supply it"

    So... to repost correctly:
    ***********************************************

    "it's possible that the market alone won't produce alternatives for healthy eating in a given neighborhood".

    Wrong.

    The market WILL produce alternatives. If there is sufficient demand. Obviously there isn't sufficient demand in South LA.

    I frequently see people (like joe) who throw out the phrase DEMAND KURV as though it is some sort of pejorative. When that happens, it's clear that the thrower simply doesn't understand economics (in spite of his protestations to the contrary).

    If the people of South LA wanted healthy food, and they could afford it, someone would supply it; that they can't afford it will not be helped by a city council ban on restaurants that provide food (some of it healthy) that they CAN afford.

    And hey. Where is Dan T. in all of this? Why isn't he just telling the people of South LA to MOVE if they don't like the restaurant choices there.


    My bad.

    CB

  • edna||

    "...promoting the importance of families eating together in quiet environments..."

    well, i suppose dinners with an italian or jewish family will be the next thing to be banned.

  • Episiarch||

    Not everyone knows how to cook. Cooking healthy food for yourself requires some knowledge and practice. However, I have known plenty of people who had no idea how to cook, refused to learn, yet managed to eat healthily and stay in shape all the same.

    People who eat like shit choose to eat like shit for various reasons: cost, simplicity, taste, etc. Banning certain restaurants will not change that. No one will get thinner or fatter--they will continue to eat as they did, because that is what they like, and will find another way to get it.

    Ban White Castle, and somebody goes to the supermarket and buys frozen White Castle burgers. The people proposing such bans are nothing more than paternalistic authoritarians who will control the peasants "for their own good", which actually means "to fulfill my need for power over others".

  • ||

    Cracker Boy, I said it's possible the market won't produce alternatives for healthy eating.

    You said the market would produce alternatives if there were sufficient demand. So if there's not sufficient demand, it wouldn't produce the alternative. So either outcome is possible, depending on the level of demand.

    You've just agreed with me, so why did you say I was wrong?

    You repeat this collectivist notion I pointed out earlier "If the people of South LA want healthy food. . ." What if some people want it, but only a few? "The people" of South LA don't want any single one thing--the various individuals in South LA want things. Isn't that boilerplate libertarian rhetoric?

  • Russ 2000||

    They can easily and cheaply get any number of fruits, veggies, and all manner of supposedly healthy food at the grocery store.

    yes, but only at more expensive stores. Becuase the LA City Council has restricted Wal-Mart from opening superstores with the really low-cost food.

    McDonald's needs to start asking for subsidies if they want to open stores in poorer neighborhoods.

  • ||

    People of Earth:

    But are the fruits at grocery stores sufficiently irradiated already, or must they be irradiated at the checkstand? Inner city residents -- and all humans -- need to consume more radioactive fruits!

  • ||

    "Los Angeles's ordinance is helping the community face the fact that there is collective responsibility in this as well as personal responsibility," says Christine Ferguson, director of the Stop Obesity Alliance in Washington."

    Collective responsibility for eating habits? How about "And why beholdest thou the Big Mac that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the Whopper that is in thine own eye?

  • Jennifer||

    Any ONE can, but these people often work two or three jobs and have to prepare food for themselves AND their children. The more people you have to feed, the more time it takes - and the cost of living anywhere in Los Angeles is so high that poor people need to work several jobs to make ends meet, so they are too exhausted to take another hour and cook when they get home.

    So putting cheese and some cold cuts between two slices of bread is more time-consuming than driving to McDonald's, standing in line, placing your order, waiting for it, and driving back home? It takes a whole hour to boil some pasta and top it off with sauce from a jar?

    It only takes me ten minutes to do the pasta thing, and less than one to make a sandwich. That's because the laws of physics work differently when your household income is above the poverty level.

  • ||

    parse - not sure here, but I think we're agreeing. When I say "the people of South LA" I mean the "market that is South LA". Their collective voice, as you call it, determines whether a business succeeds or fails (DEMAND KURV) again. We both agree that their collective voice is made up of many individual voices, maybe saying different things, but their dollars spent determine what they, as a group, are saying. In an economic sense...

    Gotta' go submit to the authority of the TSA now. Ya'll have good Friday.

    CB

  • poco||

    Mac and cheese is cheap, but not nutritious.

    So where do the South-Central abuelitas who still cook from scratch for their families shop? They must be finding cilantro and dried beans somewhere.

  • ||

    Yes, Cracker Boy, thre are many individual voices, maybe saying different things. Some may find that they want to purchase things that aren't offered in the market. It's possible that there isn't a sufficient demand for some items to support a business that supplies them. And when I pointed that, you said "Wrong."

  • ed||

    Today I had a can of tuna for lunch. And an apple. Took 25 seconds to remove both from pantry and place in paper bag. I'm not rich. The end.

  • ||

    (Found a little time before the strip search).

    Sorry parse.

    You just made it sound like this is some sort of market failure, which it isn't. There's no market failure in South LA. The market is doing what it's supposed to do... match supply with demand. I misunderstood your post.

    CB

  • Fluffy||

    "What if some people want it, but only a few? 'The people' of South LA don't want any single one thing--the various individuals in South LA want things. Isn't that boilerplate libertarian rhetoric?"

    I think instead of "What if" the correct question is "SO what if".

    The fact that some market niche might be underserved is irrelevant to the question of whether the "community" should be able to prevent me from opening a restaurant to serve a different segment of the market.

    This is about the relationship of the state to individual restauranteurs.

    The city council is saying, "Well, you know, other people are allowed to operate hamburger stands in that area, but despite the equal protection of the laws we're going to forbid YOU from opening a hamburger stand in the same general area, because we feel there are enough hamburger stands, but not enough tofu stands. Open a tofu stand or we won't allow you to use your property."

    Blow me.

  • ||

    "So putting cheese and some cold cuts between two slices of bread is more time-consuming than driving to McDonald's, standing in line, placing your order, waiting for it, and driving back home?"

    I think the suggestion was that it's less time consuming for many people to hit the drive thru at McDonalds than it is to go to the grocery store and do the shopping.

  • ||

    ...Nobody's doing exclusively one or the other, but for a single parent, I imagine, it might be easier to grab something at McDonald's if you haven't been to the store in a while and you just don't have the time.

    ...and either way, nobody should have to qualify something like that to a city council.

  • ||

    Fluffy, is this really your attitude: "So what if poor people don't have any healthy alternatives when it comes to eating? Everybody else is happy on a diet that promotes heart disease, so just shut up and eat your Big Mac." As I said before, you don't have to support government intervention as a solution to acknowledge that it's a problem if people don't have any place to buy good food.

  • ||

    "As I said before, you don't have to support government intervention as a solution to acknowledge that it's a problem if people don't have any place to buy good food."

    I'm a disinterested party, but I'd be interested to hear that argument.

    ...the one where you point out that poor people don't have access to good food but don't imply that the government should intervene.

  • ||

    It has occured to me that present fast food franchisees in South LA would be overjoyed by this. It's always nice when additional competition is banned/outlawed.

  • ||

    Wow, I get a lot stupid responses, but John-David, you really take the cake.

    Are you seriously arguing that poor people aren't competent enough to make meals from raw food at a price at or below fast food without somehow depriving themselves? I don't even pretend to understand what you are trying to say, because it's incomprehensible.

    Don't poor people own cookware?


    Are you frigging kidding me? Raw food from a grocery store is a replacement good for prepared meals if the buyer owns cookware?

    Bwah hah hah hah hah! I must be doing something right, if this is the quality of thought presented as a rebuttal.

  • ||

    Jennifer, you'll understand better when you have kids.

    *ducks*

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