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[for weslinder] California Socialism (regulating fast food)

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by pgabriel, Jul 29, 2008.

  1. pgabriel

    pgabriel Educated Negro

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    EDIT: TWO SUBJECTS

    ban on trans fats

    SACRAMENTO -- -- California became the first state to require restaurants to cook without artery-clogging trans fats, such as those in many oils and margarines, under restrictions signed into law Friday by the health-conscious governor.

    Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a physical-fitness advocate and crusader against obesity, sided with legislators who said the measure would help get the fat out of Californians who are too dependent on fast food.



    Q&A: What foods have high levels of trans fats?
    Opinion: Editorial - Don't ban trans fats, disclose them
    Health blog: 'Trans-fat free' does not mean 'good for you'
    Trans fats can preserve flavor and add to the shelf life of foods but have been linked to heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

    The new law, http://97AB 97 by Assemblyman Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia), requires restaurants to use oils, margarines and shortening with less than half a gram of trans fat per serving by Jan. 1, 2010, and applies the standard to deep-fried bakery goods by Jan. 1, 2011.

    "California is a leader in promoting health and nutrition, and I am pleased to continue that tradition by being the first state in the nation to phase out trans fats," Schwarzenegger said. "Consuming trans fat is linked to coronary heart disease, and today we are taking a strong step toward creating a healthier future for California."

    New York City has a similar ban, which began July 1 with a three-month grace period.

    Those who violate the California law could face fines of $25 to $1,000.

    The legislation was vigorously opposed by the California Restaurant Assn., which argued that it would not substantially affect public health because people eat 75% of their meals at home.

    The decision on what restaurants use in cooking should be based on the desires of customers, not government officials, said association spokesman Daniel Conway.

    Even so, he said, "given the fact that our industry is already phasing out trans fat in response to customers and that there is a delayed timeline for implementation, we are confident our members will be able to meet the mandate of the law."

    Indeed, the law follows steps already taken by such institutions as McDonald's and Spago Beverly Hills to meet customer demand.

    "I am completely in support of it," chef and Spago owner Wolfgang Puck said in an e-mail. "My companies stopped using trans fats years ago."

    The fats can be found in vegetable shortenings, margarines, crackers, candies, cookies, snack foods, fried foods, baked goods and other processed foods made with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

    The Carl's Jr. chain plans to stop cooking with trans fats by the beginning of the year, said company spokeswoman Beth Mansfield.

    "We saw where the industry was going," she said.

    Other chains that have fully or partly eliminated trans fat or had previously committed to doing so include Wendy's, El Pollo Loco, Mimis Cafe, KFC, Burger King, IHOP, Applebee's, Starbucks, Subway, Taco Bell, Denny's, Panera Bread, Red Lobster and the Olive Garden, according to the restaurant association.

    The group said ethnic restaurants and bakeries would be hardest hit by the ban, because many ethnic dishes are more difficult to prepare with trans fat-free substitutes.

    Rod White, the owner of Bertha's Soul Food in Los Angeles, estimated that it would cost him $30 more a week to buy cooking oil without trans fat, and he was angry.

    "The government is infringing too much on the rights of people to even eat what they want," he said. "Are they going to outlaw salt next because it causes hypertension?"

    Compliance will be checked by state health inspectors on their periodic restaurant visits.

    Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond in Virginia and an expert on environmental regulations, predicted that if the ban works smoothly, other states will consider similar steps.

    "California is always the leader in these kinds of laws," he said.

    Scientific studies have established that trans fats increase so-called bad cholesterol in the body and decrease good cholesterol, contributing to the buildup of plaque in arteries, according to Dr. P.K. Shah, director of cardiology at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles.

    "This law will address the health issue of cardiovascular disease, which is the No. 1 killer in the nation and the state of California," Shah said.

    Eliminating artificial trans fats from the food supply could prevent 6% to 19% of heart attacks and related deaths each year, according to an estimate published by the New England Journal of Medicine.

    The new regulations could mean real savings, not only in lives but also in health costs, according to Mendoza.

    "This has always been about the health of our citizens," he said.

    Mendoza's legislation was supported by such health organizations as the American Heart Assn., the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

    "Everybody agrees there are health benefits in getting rid of trans fat," said Michael Jacobson, the center's executive director. "It is causing several thousand deaths each year."

    patrick.mcgreevy @latimes.com


    Moratorium on Fast Food Restaurants in Poor Neighborhood


    L.A. may impose moratorium on fast food restaurants


    Associated Press


    LOS ANGELES — In the impoverished neighborhood of South Los Angeles, fast food is the easiest cuisine to find — and that's a problem for elected officials who see it as an unhealthy source of calories and cholesterol.

    The City Council was poised to vote today on a moratorium on new fast-food restaurants in a swath of the city where a proliferation of such eateries goes hand-in-hand with obesity.

    "Our communities have an extreme shortage of quality foods," City Councilman Bernard Parks said.

    The aim of the yearlong moratorium, which was approved last week in committee, is to give the city time to try to attract restaurants that serve healthier food.

    The California Restaurant Association says the moratorium, which could be extended up to two years, is misguided.

    Fast food "is the only industry that wants to be in South LA," said association spokesman Andrew Casana. "Sit-down restaurants don't want to go in. If they did, they'd be there. This moratorium isn't going to help them relocate."

    The proposed ban comes at a time when governments of all levels are increasingly viewing menus as a matter of public health. Last Friday, California became the first state in the nation to bar trans fats, which lowers levels of good cholesterol and increases bad cholesterol.

    It also comes as the Los Angeles City Council tackles issues beyond safety, schools and streets. The council last week decided to outlaw plastic bags.

    Fast-food restaurants have found themselves in the frying pan in a number of cities. Some places, including Carmel-by-the Sea and Calistoga, have barred "formula" restaurants altogether; others have placed a cap on them — Arcata allows a maximum of nine fast-food eateries; others have prohibited the restaurants in certain areas, such as Port Jefferson, N.Y., in its waterfront area.

    Most initiatives were designed to preserve a city's historic character. The Los Angeles bid is one of few that cite residents' health.

    The mounting pressure has caused chains to insert healthier food choices in their menus. McDonalds offers salads and low-fat dressings; Burger King stocks Kids Meals with milk and apple pieces.

    That's why the restaurant industry says it's unfair to blame them for fat people.

    "What's next — security guards at the door saying 'You're overweight, you can't have a cheeseburger'?" Casana said.

    But public health officials say obesity has reached epidemic proportions in low-income areas such as South Los Angeles and diet is the key reason.

    According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, 30 percent of adults in South Los Angeles area are obese, compared to 19.1 percent for the metropolitan area and 14.1 percent for the affluent westside. Minorities are particularly affected: 28.7 percent of Latinos and 27.7 percent of blacks are obese, compared to 16.6 percent of whites.

    Perry says that's no accident. South LA residents lack healthy food options, including grocery stores, fresh produce markets — and full-service restaurants with wait staff and food prepared to order.

    A report by the Community Health Councils found 73 percent of South L.A. restaurants were fast food, compared to 42 percent in West Los Angeles.

    If the moratorium is passed, Perry wants to lure restaurateurs and grocery retailers to area.

    Rebeca Torres, a South Los Angeles mother of four, said she would welcome more dining choices, even if she had to pay a little more. "They should have better things for children," she said. "This fast-food really fattens them up."
     
  2. count_dough-ku

    count_dough-ku Contributing Member

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    With each passing day, the future depicted in Demolition Man is becoming more and more of a reality.
     
  3. glynch

    glynch Contributing Member

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    Public libraries are another form of socialism.

    As a conservative/ libertarian would argue: What gives big government the right to take the tax money from some folks and use it to let other people read books for free. Ah the good old days before income taxes and the public libraries.

    One of these days, if the conservatives get on enough of a roll, they will go after the public libraries. They can give the poor vouchers to go to Barnes and Noble.

    Better yet they can give the poor vouchers that can be spent on new bookstores run for profit by their big contributors. It can be privatization GOP style.

    At the least conservatives must be chafing that we don't means test access to the public libraries, so that only the lower socio-economic folks can go for free.
     
  4. weslinder

    weslinder Contributing Member

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  5. weslinder

    weslinder Contributing Member

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    I lived in a small town that did this. Library access was $25/year, waived if you were a student or under a certain age. It was the best library in any small town that I've ever lived in, and wasn't taxpayer supported at all.
     
  6. weslinder

    weslinder Contributing Member

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    Fixt.
     
  7. Rocketman95

    Rocketman95 Hangout Boy

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    What town?
     
  8. weslinder

    weslinder Contributing Member

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    Nederland, TX
     
  9. Lil Pun

    Lil Pun Contributing Member

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    LOL! :D

    I was thinking of that movie too.
     
  10. Bandwagoner

    Bandwagoner Contributing Member

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    The UK banned handguns then locking knives.

    After a few more shootings last year they are working to bring in real solutions like community activities and bringing neighborhoods out in the open.
     
  11. glynch

    glynch Contributing Member

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    So where did the initial money come from?

    So other towns without the wealthy benefactors should do without.

    I bet it was nice and clean and little used. Good public policy to discourage reading. Ah the joys of having an eligibility worker/ librarian to make folks prove that they are students or low income. Pay stubs, tax returns, bank account statements. Sounds like a winner particularly in a big city.

    What is next for the conservatives/ libertarians? For profit toll roads? Wait we have those. For profit stop lights? They can have video cameras for traffic tickets and be owned by those who contribute to politicians' elections.
     
    #11 glynch, Jul 29, 2008
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2008
  12. weslinder

    weslinder Contributing Member

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    The initial money (for that library) was donated. That library was a replacement for another that was run the same way, but I don't know where the initial money for that came from. The library was very nice and well-used. It wouldn't work everywhere, but when applicable, it works better than anything else.
     
  13. glynch

    glynch Contributing Member

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    Why does "it works better than anything else" ?

    I guess it might do better than an underfunded public library in a poor small town. There are some pretty nice public libraries around.
     
  14. Rocketman95

    Rocketman95 Hangout Boy

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    I think we should all applaud a situation like that. If it's saving taxpayer money and people are still receiving the same benefits, I don't see an issue.
     
  15. insane man

    insane man Member

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    because as citizens of a civilized country its our privileged to spend money on great causes like public libraries. it is the duty of the government to do this.

    the government should not abdicate its responsibilities. it is the only way to ensure some level of transparency and that all residents are being treated fairly. if its privatized, there will eventually be selections and discriminations. and usually those with the least resources, who likely need the most, will get left out.
     
  16. glynch

    glynch Contributing Member

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    Hey it isn't bad to have a charity library. I doubt that the $25 is doing much for the cause. Say $125,000 for 5000 members. Unless there is a foundation worth millions bankrolling the library, it would be good to have a public library as a backup or available to take over the operation if needed.

    I would also think there is a county library around there somewhere, too.
     
  17. pgabriel

    pgabriel Educated Negro

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    I would have hoped this thread would have discussed the gov't trying to help people stop killing themselves on fast food, and try to spur some growth of more healthy options in poorer areas. but libraries are nice
     
  18. jgreen91

    jgreen91 Member

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    How could anyone possibly view the banning of trans fats a bad thing?

    Start a new thread if you want to talk about public libraries.
     
  19. Lil Pun

    Lil Pun Contributing Member

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    Some people have the view that people should eat what they want to eat and that those who do not know what they are eating educate themselves.
     
  20. count_dough-ku

    count_dough-ku Contributing Member

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    Exactly. This isn't like banning smoking everywhere. At least you can argue the dangers of second hand smoke(although even as an avid non-smoker, I personally oppose all these smoking bans).

    But each person has control over what he or she eats. The government has no business regulating what kind of restaurants are allowed to operate in a neighborhood.
     

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