Santa Clara County’s Government Has Nothing Better to Do

By April 27, 2010Regulations

From The Mercury News, “Santa Clara County: Supervisors ban toys with fast-food meals”:

By a 3-2 vote, Santa Clara County supervisors today approved the nation’s first childhood obesity ordinance targeting toy giveaways with fast-food meals.

The ordinance would prohibit restaurants from giving away toys with kids’ meals that are high in fat, sugar and calories.

The ban’s reach will be very limited. It will only affect restaurants in the unincorporated areas of Santa Clara County such as San Martin.

This is repulsive, that a government board thinks its authority includes banning things that make life fun because somewhere someone eats too much. It’s as if the concept of freedom and individual responsibility never occured to them, the three member majority, that is.

When governments like Santa Clara fail to tend to business and continue to encroach on the individual, bad things happen. From the March 2 Mercury News, “Santa Clara County whacks its budget again“:

Clara County supervisors digested grim news Tuesday: a midyear review of the county’s financial health that the budget director described as the worst in a quarter-century.

The county faces a projected $250 million shortfall when its annual budget hearings begin this summer. But even before they tackle anticipated layoffs and cuts to programs serving the needy, they face a more immediate problem — how to plug a $52 million hole in the current-year budget.

And yet they have time to regulate Happy Meals? Their priorities are all messed up.

UPDATE (8:15 p.m.): News coverage…

Los Angeles Times, “It’s a sad day for Happy Meals in Santa Clara County

Reuters, “California county wants to ban toys in kids’ meals

AP opines, “The ordinance is largely symbolic as it would only cover unincorporated areas of Santa Clara County, meaning only about a dozen fast-food outlets and several other family-owned restaurants would be affected.”

That doesn’t seem “largely symbolic” at all; the ordinance affects a dozen fast-food outlets and several other family restaurants. That’s a direct impact on business owners, their employees and their customers.

County Supervisor Ken Yeager has assumed a loco parentis role for himself. Per AP, he says, “[It] is unfair to parents and children to use toys to capture the tastes of children when they are young to get them hooked on eating high-sugar, high-fat foods early in life.”

UPDATE (8:25 p.m.): Santa Clara County’s leaders have been indulging themselves in this government nannyism for some time, as recorded by Walter Olson at Point of Law. This 2008 entry is good, by which we mean, bad, “Students! Help Santa Clara County scout out new ways to sue American business!

Join the discussion One Comment

  • June says:

    I can’t believe that we are allowing the politicians to tell us how to parent. My 9 yr old asks for Happy Meals everytime we drive by a McDonalds..I say no and that’s the end of it..she gets fast food 1 to 2 times a month. If she wants the toy from the Happy Meal, I simply purchase it for her. Most McDonalds will let you buy the toy without the meal. She has collected all the Madam Alexander dolls not to mention the Disney Movie ones without having to eat junk food in the process. It’s not the businesses that are making our children unhealty and obese, it’s bad parenting.

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