The War on Fast Food: Can a D.C. Suburb Fight Fat with Zoning?


Maryland's Prince George's County has the highest obesity rates in the Washington, D.C. area. Now the county council is considering a bill that would give it zoning authority to keep new fast food eateries out of its jurisdiction.

But is tackling obesity as easy as keeping cheeseburgers and fries out of people's hands?

The author of the bill, Karen Toles, thinks so and tells Reason she's just trying to hold fast-food restaurants accountable for "preying" on her constituents. The Center for Consumer Freedom's Justin Wilson says the bill violates the rights of customers and businessmen and argues that "obesity is far more complicated than blaming…one single industry."

The bill's worst enemy maybe Prince George's itself: The county recently loaned $300,000 to a local businessman so he could open up two new Little Caesars pizza restaurants.

The bill is scheduled for a vote later this year.

About 2.30 minutes. Produced by Joshua Swain and hosted by Kennedy.

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  1. Nobody needs more than ten french fries.

    1. Also, nobody needs to eat more than seven at a time.

      1. Man, I gotta learn how to read slower. I read ten "inch" fries, not ten "french" fries.

      2. McDonald's 20-piece Chicken McNuggets will now become McDonald's 3-piece Chicken McNuggets.

        Of course, the average fatty will just purchase 7 orders of 3-piece Chicken McNuggets...

        1. Well you just need to make that illegal then too. You can even give the new crime a cool name, like structuring or smurfing:

  2. When someone chooses to give you money in exchange for a service or product, you are preying on them. No one is responsible for their own actions, except for corporations.

    1. No one chooses to give money for goods and services without there being some kind of manipulation or coercion involved on the part of the seller.

      1. IT'S THE TOYS!

  3. Maryland's Prince George's County... is considering a bill that would give it zoning authority to keep new fast food eateries out of its jurisdiction.

    If this includes donuts, stay away from their cops. They're already extra brutal shit bags.

  4. What are the chances that she has obese/overweight kids and is guilty of bad parenting? Because that's what usually happens with these Nanny-State people: they try and control other people's lives since they can't control their own.

    1. I just want to know where the fuck all the nannies come from. When I was a kid no one (with the exception of anti-tobacco/anti-alcohol) would have dared to take their personal dietary pet peeves to the government. It just wasn't any of the government's business. It seems like the nannies came out of nowhere about fifteen years ago.

      Okay, the anti-smoking/drinking crowd are nannies, but at least there are common misuses of tobacco and alcohol that actually harm third parties. No such thing with french fries.

      1. you mean you've never heard of french fry ether? It's like secondhand smoke but it makes people obese! The government is gonna make fast food restaurants separate into a fry and no-fry section.

      2. Anybody here remember when the cigarette companies said "if you let them'get' us, they'll go after McDonalds next"? Remember how the cigarette compnies were mocked?

  5. I went to Fleming's steakhouse at LA Live last Saturday. My wife and I had a couple martini's. I had the filet mignon, my wife had some fat porkchops. We both got baked potatoes, loaded with sour cream, cheddar cheese, and bacon. Not fast food. I woke up Sunday morning and felt like I had put on five pounds overnight.

    Should they ban expensive, upscale, sit down restaurants, too?

    1. Or is the point to punish people who want quick, tasty, inexpensive food (working class, poor, etc.).

      1. Ban all restaurants, but give people back the right to gambol.

      2. They're not punishing anyone, they're helping them!

        You see, working class and poor people are too stupid to know how to feed themselves properly, and it is the duty of the government to do something about it.

        People who can afford to eat filet are smart enough to know that they can't eat meals like that every day, so those establishments may remain.

        1. You see, working class and poor people are too stupid to know how to feed themselves properly

          ...but once they get into the voting booth to elect the county council, they suddenly become omniscient. It's like the Teacher in ST:TOS.

    2. We both got baked

      Dude! Don't bogart that filet!

  6. No doubt that this legislation is supported by the existing fast food outlets.

    1. Look for more and more of this kind of thing now with Obamacare. It is a control freaks wet dream.

  7. Prince Georges County: worst county ever? Isn't their sheriff's department one of the most abusive and violent in the country?

  8. "Maryland's Prince George's County council"


  9. They would be better off banning all modes of transportation except walking and biking.

  10. How hard is it to mandate that fatties run on a treadmill five times a week? Force people to contract with a private gym from an approved list, and document to the IRS that they are maintaining that gym membership, or pay the penalty. I mean, how difficult is that?

    1. I'm becoming convinced that we should simply start taking all of their proposals to their logical end-point. These guys will do it anyway, but it will just take 10 years while they get everyone used to the slightly smaller infringements. We need them on record now opposing the logical end-points.

      1. Wait, isn't Obama on the record for opposing debt ceiling increases 6 years ago? As much as having them on the record would work for people in the know, with a marionette theater of media puppets, the lib-fascist movement could easily suppress that sort of conflicting information.

        1. FDR was on the record as opposing public sector unions upon the enaction of the NLRA. In fact, he called public sector unions "unthinkable and intolerable."

          How has that worked out?

  11. Maryland's Prince George's County always a shining model of wise governance.

  12. This is all about keeping poor people out. The kind of people who eat fast food aren't the kind of people PG County wants hanging around.

  13. PSA: Karen Toles, the councilmember featured in the video, was put on probation earlier this year for going over 100 mph in a county-issued car on the beltway while weaving in and out of lanes and failing to pull over for a police officer. http://articles.washingtonpost.....s-judgment

    She's just protecting people here, people.

  14. I was watching that viral "driverless car pull ups to a drive through window" prank, and I couldn't help but notice that 80-90% of the cashiers at the window were black. They need these jobs.

    Why go after the malls, retailers, and fast food joints that are fueling Obama's miracle economic recovery? If Mcdonalds closed a third of their stores tomorrow, unemployment might hit 12-15%.

  15. 2013 Fashion kickoff for u

  16. Also, nobody needs to eat more than seven at a time. Sohbet odalar?

  17. violates the rights of customers and businessmen and argues that "obesity is far more

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