Attack Happy Meals? Fine. But What About the Pitiful State of SF School Lunches?
Oh, here we go. Once again, we can rely on Sup. Eric Mar for legislation that's all about the feel good and the headlines, but not about the policy. Today, we find out that he wants to ban Happy Meals, because he wants to protect the children from their own parents and guardians, and because it sounds cool to him and his ilk. You can bet the SF Gate comments are flipping out about this one.
It sounds noble - until you realize like most SF legislation, is another half-assed idea hatched to make someone look good. As always, this will apply to Big Evil Chains - but you know that they'll exempt "local" restaurants, just like with the fake plastic bag ban. And, it will generate lots of heat, but the alleged goal (healthier children) is lost. Instead of wasting dollars on some showboaty measure like this, why not instead get more healthy produce in neighborhoods that have none? Why not instead educate parents so they can make informed decisions? Fast food shouldn't be a daily staple - but taking your kid to McDonalds once in a while will not kill them, either.
Oh wait. I forgot. Not only would that be a long term commitment to policies and program that won't show up on his next election mailer, it might also call attention to Mar's own shameful record on child nutrition.
What's that you say? Well, Mr. Mar was once a member of the San Francisco School Board. Want to see what kind of healthy lunches they're serving? Check out this student-made video that shows what they're serving at Lowell High, the gem of the school system:
While the video was made in 2009, after Mr. Mar left office, it is ludicrous to think this only started after he left office. Same goes for ongoing non compliance with complex regulations.
Interesting. We have people in office who don't mind coming up with "flavor of the month" policies, instead of long term effective solutions that aren't as showy. They generate regulations that are needlessly complex and don't serve the intended goal (in this case making sure kids get healthy options for lunch, etc.) and leave the detritus for someone else to deal with.
But subject them to such regulations, as the school district was, and suddenly it's a human rights violation.
To Summarize: Better food for kids=good. Giving parents the options and information about said choices=good. Getting better quality food, fresh vegetables, etc. to all neighborhoods=good. Showboaty regulations that are ill thought out and are intended mostly for a mail piece in 2012=FAIL.
UPDATE: Thanks for the link, SF Weekly!