(Note: This post was guest blogged by my oldest daughter, aka gategirl, who is a sophomore at USC. USC is in the area affected by the proposed legislation discussed below.)
Los Angeles lawmakers apparently don't have enough to worry about these days. Their latest campaign for social justice is to help the poor, oppressed people who are forced to eat fast food! To do so, officials are talking about placing a ban on the building of new fast-food restaurants, a ban which could last as long as two years.
A councilwoman stated "The people don't want them, but when they don't have any other options, they may gravitate to what's there." Run that by me again. If people don't want fast food, then they won't eat fast food. Businesses do not grow and succeed by selling products that people don't want.
I understand the logic of supply forcing demand, but to insist that the entire population of Los Angeles is eating fast food under duress is a bit mind-boggling.
Also amusing is this excerpt from the article: "In just one-quarter of a mile near USC on Figueroa Street, from Adams Boulevard south, there are about 20 fast-food outlets." Have they considered the fact that there is a huge market of college students right across the street from these eateries? The high concentration of fast food merely reflects the market of customers. There are also roughly 20 fast-food counters at my local mall for the same simple fact: there are customers who want to be served.
Aside from the simple supply-and-demand arguments, one must also consider the potential effects of this proposed "health zoning." This bill will stop investment in South Los Angeles. Fast-food restaurants will not be allowed to bring their business in the area. Other, healthier options may step into the void, this is true. But people may decide to drive an extra few miles to find that elusive McDonald's, perhaps on the other side of the city line.
Restricting businesses from investing is not necessarily the healthiest thing for South Los Angeles.