Carol Platt Liebau: Nanny State Nightmare

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Nanny State Nightmare

Even though it ran two days ago, it's impossible not to comment on this unbelievable story from the LA Times.

Apparently, the City Council is thinking of implementing "health zoning" -- that is, simply not permitting any more fast food restaurants to be opened in South LA (the former "South Central") for up to two years.

The people don't want them [fast food places], but when they don't have any other options, they may gravitate to what's there," said Councilwoman Jan Perry, who proposed the ordinance in June, and whose district includes portions of South L.A. that would be affected by the plan.

The obtuseness of the comment boggles the mind -- and reveals a fundamental ignorance of how a capitalist economy works. The fact is that if any entrepreneurs had reason to believe that healthier "options" would attract customers and make money, they'd flock there. And forbidding new fast food restaurants will do nothing either toprevent the ones there presently from continuing to prosper or attract new, healthier eateries.

In any case, the proposal is fundamentally insulting. First, it presents the people of South LA as victims. What's more, it treats them like children, by suggestomg that the people in South Central -- where "Thirty percent of adults . . . are obese, compared with 20.9% in the county overall" -- won't or can't make the "right" (ie. government-preferred) choices for themselves or their offspring unless the government acts to take the fast food option off their plates, as it were.

Everyone knows, a steady diet of fast food is unhealthy and a poor idea -- but it's not the government's job to monitor what goes down the throats of the citizens who feed it with their tax dollars.


Blogger One Salient Oversight said...

So, based upon two choices, one of which results in a better health outcome, one which does not but satisfies some idea of "freedom" and "personal responsibility" that not everyone shares, you choose the one that hurts black people the most.

And you wonder why non-Whites don't flock to the GOP?

2:55 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

I would bet the existing fast food establishments in the area would welcome this move!

5:24 AM  
Blogger Chepe Noyon said...

For once, I find myself in complete agreement with Ms. Liebau, and I thought it worth noting this historic occasion.

7:20 AM  
Blogger Earth to Carol said...

If I look at just the statement that Carol selects, I agree but the article points out that there are no or little choice of restaurants. The high density of fast food joints could very well be a zoning issue and one that citizens are complaining about.

It may not be that this is getting rammed don't people's throats, rather what they want. I'd be upset if I was working in that area and didn't have available to me, within a reasonable driving distance, a descent place to dine at, yet it was saturated with establishments offering bad and unhealthy food. The people do elect members to the zoning board and can remove them if they are unhappy.

I suspect that these fast food franchise deals may be easier to get bank financing then say a mom & pop family business. So there could be quite a number of factors at play.

10:01 AM  
Blogger Duke-Stir said...

How free are the zoning laws in swanky San Marino, Carol? Does your community not embrace a capitalist economy?

2:31 PM  

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