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South LA to ban new fast food

The neighborhood of South Los Angeles, in an effort to take a bite out of obesity, is considering a moratorium to ban new fast food restaurants from opening for one year.

While obesity is a problem in America, (hovering around 33% in adult men, according to CDC) stopping new fast food restaurants is hardly the solution. Here we have another case of government babying its citizens in an effort to make them be better people. Unfortunately, I think we’ve all experienced on a personal basis that it is literally impossible to make someone be a better person and lead a better lifestyle. They have to choose to it themselves.

Furthermore, this well-intended policy has huge potential for negative ramification. First, how are they going to make a definition of what ‘fast food’ is? The article linked does not specify what ‘fast food’ will be defined as, but no matter the criteria, there will be exceptions where new restaurant that is considered fast food could be perfectly healthy.

The article says that the moratorium is intended to give the city time to find and attract healthier food options to the area. What the council members are failing to look at are the economic reasons that healthier food options weren’t naturally flourishing in the city in the first place. Not to mention that this policy with its criteria of what fast food is and isn’t, will create more needless red tape for new businesses to start in the area, fast food or not.

  1. Chris Holman says:


  2. Sean says:

    Chris, how much wine have you had?

  3. Chris Holman says:

    No offense to the god-fearing, but this whole thing sounds a lot like the argument that prayer in schools will solve a school district’s problems. Not that this specific argument has been forwarded, but you know what I’m getting at.

    This, is one case where the wonderful black box of ‘The Market’ could actually have an impact.

    Trouble is, people don’t mind polluting their bodies.

    Personally, I’m all for more death due to personal choices to limit your circulatory system’s ability to make your body function. In a weird way, perhaps, it is kind of like the EEEEEELITE LIIIIIBERRRRAL THEEEEEEEORY of Natural Selection manifesting itself in the world today.

  4. protagony says:

    fuck, I’m not sure this blog is the best forum, but at the same time really don’t want to concede. So;
    1. Did I use that semi-colon correctly? I would say yes, but its an arcane usage.
    This isn’t a case of majority rules. Your freedom to smoke wherever infringes on my freedom to not be around smoke. The campus ban would be a better example and you can probably beat me at the bar/restaurant ban since it involves private ownership, BUT still in this situation theres two freedoms that come into conflict with each other. I would argue that in slavery theres a conflict of freedom against no freedom, which in that case clearly freedom won. But in the smoking case, only some people can be given a freedom over another freedom. Eugene picked standing up for non-smokes, which in my opinion was the correct one, and it served the majority which I do think matters sometimes. You don’t have to agree with the principle everytime to agree with the principle sometimes.
    2. Occasionally no business wants to act as an individual business, so the government (elected by the people, to represent the peoples will) can help things by creating an even playing field. Even though most bars probably would have liked to be non-smoking they were concerned with losing business.
    3. Allowing more and more fast food places, isn’t really increasing choice. Limiting the development of more, is potentially helping to create more. Sounds like this place has enough fast food joints, and creating more would just manuever money and resources, and wouldn’t really bring in more. It might in reality, but the extra income generated by a couple more mcJobs, wouldn’t actually change the impoverished landscape of the community. Also, even though this might work might not. It might, therefore is worth it. I don’t agree that this is a situation of creating a fake solution to a real problem.

    that being said, I’m done. I’m sure I’ll disagree with something in a month or two. We can debate principles more then. fast food thing, and smoking is dead to me. I may argue for campus ban later.

  5. Timothy says:

    1. If you were to go around and ask every person in Eugene about the smoking ban the majority would be glad it passed.

    If you were to go around and ask every voter in the Antebellum South about slavery, the majority would be glad that they were allowed to own other human beings as chattel. How dare those Yankees want to do something about it, majority rule! Nevermind things like personal liberty or property rights (the foremost of which is self-ownership), majority rule!

    Are you even capable of seeing how weak the majority rule argument really is? And that doesn’t even include all of the complicated models of voting methods that can explain how voting doesn’t really tell you that much about aggregate preferences. There’s literature on this stuff, seriously, perhaps a little light reading would clear up that they’re/their issue and help you say something coherent.

    Regarding 2 – see… we already had that, only the people making the decisions about what was and was not allowed on their property were the people who — and I know this will come as a confusing shock to you — actually owned the property. What a novel concept! The proprietor of an establishment making the rules? Who would have thought of such a thing?

    Regarding 3 – the problem is, fundamentally, that you’ve jumped on the Cass Sunstein bandwagon and think that third-party decision makers can, in some sense, limit the choice set down enough that people make “good” choices. Please explain how a more limited choice set provides more choices and freedom. For extra credit, please examine why “doing something” is always preferable to “doing nothing” when faced with a problem that your action is unlikely to change. If you’re really feeling frisky you can take on how a third party can possibly have more information than a first party about the latter’s preferences.

  6. protagony says:

    Shit sorry, that should have said a few things…. not a couple.

  7. protagony says:

    A couple of things
    1. If you were to go around and ask every person in Eugene about the smoking ban the majority would be glad it passed. I used to smoke and I still liked the no smoking in bars, when I moved to Eugene. So again the inconvience has been transferred to people that can smoke elsewhere. Less people will get lung cancer, more people will be happy. It’s a pretty sensible resolution.
    2. Neidermeyer, thats partially what I’m argueing. If a town or community decides something is right for that town or community then great. I hate large federal programs, and think that the power of the individual/community is larger when local and state governments have more control. It’s more effective and allows things like smoking bans to happen in some places and have other places (springfield) that allow it. I realize that won’t be true in 4 months…. I think you see the point.
    3. Bryan – I do inherently believe that some people in society don’t make “choices”, does a crack addict go out and say “I’d like to go exchange some goods and services for a commodity that will provide me with leisure and enjoyment”? No, their being driven by something that at this point has reached beyond a personal choice. In the fast food situation, I see the city council as trying to make an effort at getting more freedoms and choices to the local people, it might work, it might not, but their doing something about a bad situation.

  8. Sean says:

    Vox populi now equals Vox Protagony. Count me out of this society.

  9. Vincent says:

    All this does is give local effective government and the citizens a way to control what kind of businesses get to live near them.

    Much like the Eugene smoking ban, enacted by wise (and effective!) local officials who maintain that hedgerows and wrought-iron fences count as barriers to airflow.

    And really, if “the people” are too stupid to make informed decisions about what to eat, how can they be trusted to make informed decisions on who to vote into the local government?

  10. Johnny says:

    Listen to Benji-

    They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

  11. Niedermeyer says:

    “One principle that I see in libertarianism that makes me not a libertarian is that people

  12. Sakaki says:

    protagony: One thing that you automatically assumed is that I am obese. That, in fact, is not true. I am considered, by insurance standards, to be in tip top health. And I eat 3 double cheeseburgers at a time. So, effectively, I’m NOT harming other people with my eating.

    The fact of the matter is that you hate freedom. You hate people going into the local fast-food restaurant and eating what they will without regard. And that is where people like me come in, making certain that people like you pay for hating freedom…one double cheeseburger with extra extra pickles at a time.

  13. Bryan says:

    “One principle that I see in libertarianism that makes me not a libertarian is that people

  14. protagony says:

    but your desire to eat 3 double cheeseburgers should only inconvenience YOU not others.

    and even taking insurance out of the picture, obesity effects other people besides the individual, for example that persons children, who will probably grow up to burden the system as well.

  15. Sakaki says:

    >So when the city council makes an effort to improve a local impoverished neighborhood slightly better I don

  16. protagony says:

    this blog post is a fantastic example of conservative/libertarian bullshit, making it look like the “big bad government” is taking away peoples rights. These are locally elected officials who were elected by local citizens. Theres no inherent right for a corporation to plant a business wherever it wants. All this does is give local effective government and the citizens a way to control what kind of businesses get to live near them. A lot of these people live day by day. They’re not “choosing” to go to fast food restaurants. Their just trying to live. One principle that I see in libertarianism that makes me not a libertarian is that people “choose” whats best for them. That the average citizen has enough information and sanity to make the right decision for themselves. Unfortunately this isn’t the case at all in the real world. And fat fuckers essentially cause my insurance premiums to go up, and health care in general to go up. So when the city council makes an effort to improve a local impoverished neighborhood slightly better I don’t see anything bad about that.

    love the magazine. looking forward to the back to the booze issue.

  17. Vincent says:

    There’s some good thoughts on this subject over at Stereo Describes My Scenario.

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