Thursday, September 4, 2008

Put Your Hands on Your Head, and Step Away from the Buritto

In the latest example of government control over our daily lives, the Los Angeles City Council has unanimously approved a one year moratorium on the development or opening of fast food restaurants in the impoverished 32 square mile south Los Angeles community. It seems as though the local politicians are not satisfied to manipulate and control the daily lives of these people simply through subsidies, entitlements, social programs, tax breaks, and liberal bent substandard government run education. The city council substantiates their efforts with the fact that this community has the highest per capita concentration of fast food restaurants of anyplace in the United States. This, combined with horrendous health statistics, apparently calls for government intervention. The Los Angeles Times points out that the community in question also has a lower concentration of “eateries” than Hollywood. Duh? We are talking about the ghetto here folks! By the way, this community also has a lower concentration of good old fashioned grocery stores so the less expensive option of preparing a cheap meal at home is not an attractive undertaking (notice I said “OPTION”). Correct me if I am wrong, but I think you can get a whole shopping cart of Roman Noodles and Spam for about the same price as a carton of cigarettes. And yet Jan Perry, the Councilwoman who proposed the ordinance proclaims, “The people don’t want them [fast food restaurants], but when they don’t have any other options, they may gravitate to what’s there.” Oh yeah, I can see it now; the Crips and the Bloods sitting down at the little street corner cafĂ© under the vine covered lattice, while sharing a fat free latte and fresh fruit.

Am I the only person who sees something seriously wrong with this? It has been proven time and time again that supply and demand prevails when left alone, which is the reason for the high concentration of fast food providers and the low concentration of grocery stores. The government does not provide options…..demand does! This is not about health nor is it about attracting nice restaurants (that no one will patronize anyway). This is about controlling people’s lives and crushing capitalism. Of course, none of these idiots have paused for a single second to consider the number of jobs these fast food restaurants provide to the community. I can see it now on the next episode of “Cops” in south L.A. as the officer is questioning a suspicious group of young men. “….you guys have any guns, knives, drugs, Big Macs, burittos, corndogs, anything like that I need to know about?” Of course, they answer “no” to the officer, but a subsequent search reveals a stash of fresh sausage biscuits under the passenger seat. “Those aren’t mine,” the driver proclaims. “I don’t know how those got there,” he says. The officer appears frustrated with his lies. Holding up the illegal food contraband, the officer says “do you know what this stuff is doing to the people in our community? What if a kid got a hold of this?” Of course, the next step would be to get the accused some help through Social Services to get them off the smack.

Not to miss their opportunity for tight control, in typical government fashion the City Council has worked hard to define the potential offenders as "any establishment which dispenses food for consumption on or off the premises, and which has the following characteristics: a limited menu, items prepared in advance or prepared or heated quickly, no table orders and food served in disposable wrapping or containers." Okay, I am not a lawyer, but it seems to me that McDonald’s has a far more extensive menu than Ruth’s Chris Steak House. Wouldn’t you just love to see McDonald’s stick it to the City Council by opening a bunch of new restaurants with table service (higher prices of course), cook it to order nice and slow, and serve it on a regular plate? And to think McDonald’s turned down my application for Director of Public Relations. Of course, the government will be there in the lobby with a stop watch to ensure it was not served too quickly. Leave it to the government to drive up costs and promote mediocrity.

Get ready for the next big headline in the L.A. Times. “South L.A. Sting Nets Record Cache of Big Macs, Corn Dogs, Chicken Nuggets, and Burritos.” Then, at a televised press conference, the Sherriff will proclaim, “The city is a safer place today thanks to the efforts of the brave men and women of the Los Angeles Police Department.”

Time to go now. I am working on my plan to earn a living by smuggling trans fat cooking oil into New York City.

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