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L.A. Tries to Ban Soda Vending Machines From City Parks, Libraries

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Tue, Jun 19, 2012 at 3:05 PM

click to enlarge TINISANTO/ CC 2.0
The highly politicized crackdown on America's fat people hits Los Angeles today, with a motion from L.A. City Councilman Mitchell Englander to ban all soda vending machines on city-owned property.

Englander, a physically fit frat-bro type who is clearly trying to one-up New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his proposed ban on extra-large sodas, warns in his motion that...

... sugary drinks can "affect young people both mentally and physically" -- even cause them "to be violent against peers and in dating relationships."

His solution?

... we should ban soda in City Library and Park vending machines. The elimination of sodas in RAP vending machines will not put an end to childhood obesity, but it is a small step in educating the public about healthier food and beverage choices,

I THEREFORE MOVE that the Library Department and the Department of Recreation and Parks be instructed to report with recommendations for phasing out and eliminating the sale of sodas in all vending machines at their facilities.

We agree: Sodas are bad. But this is mushy Democratic campaign fodder at its finest.

Instead of finding a way to reopen shuttered L.A. libraries and extend their hours so kids have a place to stay out of trouble after school, City Hall is focusing its energy (and resources, especially if soda/vending-machine companies sue) on a nosy big-government invasion of choice.

Health officials recently argued to the New York Times that Bloomberg's supersized soda ban would do little to combat obesity in the Bronx -- a much more complex issue than a few extra ounces of sugar water.

Similarly, here in Los Angeles, politicians have their priorities all screwed up: They trample the efforts of the South Central Farmers, then spend countless hours on fast-food regulations that haven't proven to make an inch of difference.

That said, Tom LaBonge and Ed Reyes -- the councilmen who sit on the Arts, Parks, Health and Aging Committee, where the soda ban goes next -- might want to work off their potbellies before coming out in support of an all-city diet.

[@simone_electra / swilson@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

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