Not So Happy San Francisco

adpostal's picture

What's the deal with the city's ban on happy meals.  While I agree with the reasons behind the ban, mainly health concerns for children and reducing the city's health care costs, I feel that this is a bit too much like "big brother," and that people should be able to make their own decisions about what food they eat.  If the city's so concerned about this, why don't they work on getting poorer sections of the city more access to grocery stores and subsidize organic/local foods?  Thoughts?

RyanJ's picture

Career Politicians

Quite frankly, we could improve the City/County quite a bit, by dispensing with career politicians who are more interested holding office not matter what office it is.  My personal experience with Phil Ting in discussion involving his role as County Assessor was that he has a shallow understanding of his proper role.  It has provided him with a stepping stone to the mayor's office. 

No one can be blamed for being ambitious, but I would prefer a candidate whose ambitions complement the ambitions of the city and show a genuine interest in public policy instead of personal advancement.   And this web site, where has it been prior to his interest in running for mayor?

Let's reset San Francisco by deleting careerists like Phil.  (How long to you think this post will last before it is deleted?)

CJC's picture

Ryan - you are on 5 days and

Ryan - you are on 5 days and counting...

Adpostal - I'm not quite sure that taking toys away from Happy Meals is quite 'big brother' status. I do not think it is particularly sinister. One of the roles of government is to provide a good quality of life and part of this involves promoting a healthy citizenry. This includes things like limiting traffic emissions, controlling drugs and of course establishing food standards. With McDonalds, we are talking about the health aspect of food, not specifically food safety. It is for this reason that government does not, and indeed cannot, ban bad foods. They can however, discourage them. The fact of the matter is that currently unhealthy foods are far cheaper than good food and so there is a constant incentive toward bad diet. Hence emerges the irony of the fat-poor and the skinny-rich.

When a child is faced with the prospect of an instantly gratifying meal of fat, sugar and salt - with a toy to boot - their 8 year old minds are unlikely to make the 'healthy decision'. And as any parent knows, these young minds are experts at getting what they want and so parents tend not to stop this. Anything that can be done, within reason to help people make healthy lifestyle choice is a good thing. 

Big Brother is not watching...

adpostal's picture

True, but...

While I agree that offering a disincentive from unhealthy foods is a good thing, I feel that parents should ultimately make the decisions for their kids about what the family will eat.  If they cave that easy to their 8 year-old, then going to McDonald's is the least of their parenting problems.  I guess my point is why stop at taking away happy meal toys?  Why not regulate what Netflix people can get and what types of stores they shop at? 

Ben Shore's picture

Happy Meals shouldn't be illegal in San Francisco

As someone who considers themselves a "liberal," I don't share the fear and indignation that many feel when it appears that government is "imposing" on their lives. But in this case, I do think San Francisco government should keep to themselves. Of course we want to encourage kids to eat healthier. But, I agree that that is on the part of the parents and not the government. The Board of Supervisors was overextending themselves a bit on this one. They should get to the root of the problem, promoting better health eduction in schools. Hey, they could even run an ad campaign encouraging healthier eating if they want. But at a certain point, people take it upon themselves to be healthy or not be healthy and it's really hard to believe that simply outlawing happy meals (what about kids meals from other unhappy places?) will make that big of a difference.

Paid for by Phil Ting for Assembly 2012. FPPC ID# 1343137