Keep eyes off our fries

You know it’s a slow day at City Hall when your elected officials spend time working up a healthy food policy. Dog-catching procedures, well within the council’s scope, apparently required no further attention. So it was that on June 19, as reported by the Review-Journal’s Benjamin Spillman, the council served up a resolution on what it wants you to eat.

The measure narrowly passed on a 4-3 vote, with Mayor Carolyn Goodman and Councilmen Bob Beers and Stavros Anthony dissenting. Council members Lois Tarkanian, Bob Coffin, Ricki Barlow and Steve Ross sided with the nanny state.

The wording of the policy originally called for restrictions on food outlets perceived to be unhealthy, to which Mr. Anthony rightly said: “Are we going to start this where if In-N-Out Burger wants to open up in my ward, they can’t because it’s not healthy? … I think that is ridiculous.”

That was enough food for thought to push Mr. Coffin to recommend the elimination of wording that discouraged particular food choices. After editing, the resolution called for, among other things, a review of policies and regulations that can obstruct the opening of farmers markets and other healthy food outlets.

What was left in or out of this sandwich is irrelevant. The whole policy is a giant nothing burger. We still have the ability and freedom to choose what we eat. Furthermore, our notions of what defines healthy eating continue to evolve. After years of being told that fat in all forms was the worst possible thing you could ingest, we’re learning that fats are an essential part of a good diet, and that a diet with no fat is actually bad for you. And we’re supposed to trust our elected officials to make judgments on what’s good or bad for us?

It can be safely assumed that the City Council had good intentions. But a better intention, and surely a better use of taxpayer time and facilities, would have been to skip this policy meal and move on to meatier agenda items.

As Mayor Goodman said: “I personally hate overgovernment. I don’t dislike it, I hate it with a passion.” We second the motion. And we want fries with it.

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