News

Newsom vetos 'Happy Meals' toy ban, but S.F. Sups could overturn

'Unnecessary government involvement,' mayor says

Legislation to ban "Happy Meals" toys that could be copied by other Bay Area cities was vetoed yesterday by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom who called it "unwise and unprecedented governmental intrusion" into private choices.

Newsom said he opposes the proposed ban in San Francisco on toys being included in McDonald's "Happy Meals" that fail to meet health standards, but the veto could be overturned by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

Newsom proclaimed his intent to veto the ban after the board passed the legislation last Tuesday by an overwhelming and veto-proof majority of 8-3. The board plans to override the veto, District 1 Supervisor Eric Mar said.

The legislation, sponsored by Mar, would disallow toys to be included in children's meals that exceed 600 calories and lack fruits and vegetables. It would go into effect in December 2011.

"I am surprised that Mayor Newsom plans to veto the Healthy Meal Legislation, given his consistent support of healthy eating and active living through his sponsorship of programs like Shape Up San Francisco, Sunday Streets, and Soda Free Summers," Mar said today in a statement.

While many politicians view the ban as a coup against children being lured toward unhealthy meals by toys, Newsom said he sees the law as unnecessary government involvement in decisions that should be left to parents, a sentiment echoed by spokespeople for the McDonald's restaurant chain.

"We must continue to take steps to combat childhood obesity, a genuine health crisis in America, but this bill takes the wrong approach," Newsom said.

"Parents, not politicians, should decide what their children eat, especially when it comes to spending their own money," he said.

Newsom said that despite the legislation's "good intentions," it is an "unwise and unprecedented governmental intrusion into parental responsibilities and private choices."

McDonald's opposed the legislation, arguing parents should be allowed to make their own choices. At least one local McDonald's owner complained that the law would effectively ban him from serving Happy Meals in their current form.

Mar Tuesday called the legislation "a simple and modest policy that holds fast food accountable."

He argued that with childhood obesity a major concern, it's necessary to compel restaurants that market to children to offer healthier choices.

Kyveli Diener, Bay City News, contributed to this report.

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Phil
a resident of another community
on Nov 13, 2010 at 8:48 am

Every one of the City Counsel members who supported or introduced the measure should be recalled. Given the challenges facing the community, and indeed, the nation with unemployment and poverty, helping create jobs can give parents lots of healthy meal choices. Even so, this legislation is wrong on so many levels -- targeting McDonalds and not BK or any other restaurants, ignoring our freedom of choice and parental rights. It can't even be argued medically that Happy Meals themselves are unhealthy -- it's the quantity and frequency of certain foods and beverages that are the issue, and the most unhealthful thing on a burger is the bread. The legislation is insane and probably illegal, and if this is the most important thing on the city agenda, the people of SF would do better to replace this group FAST.


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Posted by Fonda
a resident of another community
on Nov 13, 2010 at 9:48 am

I live in Sunnyvale, the most noise polluted city in America. Santa Clara first banned these innocuous meals, while ignoring one of the things more invasive and damaging to young and old -- CAR ALARMS. For more than a decade, these useless devices are ruining our lives and broken sleep has a greater body of medical evidence connecting it to obesity than these kids meals. We can all be healthier if we STOP THE NOISE and BAN THE ALARMS.


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Posted by BHO
a resident of The Knolls
on Nov 13, 2010 at 10:36 am

San Francisco....what can I say?......you sweet, loving, delusionally parentalistic hippie FREAKS......how DARE you?....what's next?....you ban toys in happy meals, but Pot & prostitution is ok?....never mind that abortion is not only ok but actively promoted.....you people ARE truly the leading edge of our society.....congratulations!.....weirdos....you (Northern coastal CA, Washington, Boston & NYC) should all secede & band together & form the United States of Bizarroworld....then leave the rest of us in (& from) flyover country the HELL alone...go sing kumbaya & tax yourselves into oblivion and make up whatever fantasy rules you want.........

If McDonald's (&all other businesses in SF) would please take one little bit of advice....LEAVE SF....COMPLETELY....you don't need their filthy wacky money & I'm quite sure they don't want your prescence & would LOVE to subsist on all "locally grown, sustainable" granola bars & wear their hemp sandals....LEAVE THESE CLOWNS TO THEIR OWN DEVICES


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Posted by A Reason Why Government Needs to Get Involved
a resident of Rosewood
on Nov 13, 2010 at 3:35 pm

Just another reason why government needs to get involved. Some parents are incapable of making intelligent decisions for their children and allow them to eat whatever we want. You can see it in the obesity rates across the country. Until people educate themselves, government has get involved. Hence the board trying to mandate what parents should already been doing.


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Posted by Me Too
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 13, 2010 at 4:14 pm

@ A Reason Why Government Needs to Get Involved: You are absolutely wrong, Its the governments intrusion that put us where we are in the first place. Almost all meat in this country is subsidized (either directly or the feed grains) by the government, while 98% of all vegetables are not subsidized. That is why its much cheaper to buy a hamburger than a salad (just search for Big Mac vs Salad for more info). People who don't have much money and want to feed their family can spend much less on meat, bread, potatoes then on healthy vegetables or fruits. Maybe in the government had stayed out of the way in the first place instead of trying to "fix" things, we wouldn't be in this state.


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Posted by Me Too
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 13, 2010 at 4:19 pm

@A Reason: So you are favor of the government controlling every aspect of a child's life? No parent should be allowed to make any decision that is not government approved. Oh wait, you said until the parent gets educated...so are you suggesting some sort of Parent License, awarded after successful completion of a class and examination, based upon government approved guidelines? So if a parent does not pass this test before the birth of a child will that child be taken by the government until such time that the parent passes the test? Will the Government Board that runs the program be elected officials or appointed?


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 13, 2010 at 5:08 pm

"Just another reason why government needs to get involved. Some parents are incapable of making intelligent decisions for their children and allow them to eat whatever we want."

They're banning toys, not food. McDonalds probably has every right to replace the toys with a brownie if they want! I don't like McDonalds at all and visit maybe once a year, but I don't think the government has any right to get involved here.


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Posted by Sally
a resident of Birdland
on Nov 13, 2010 at 8:54 pm

I like parent's idea - McDonald's should put brownies and cupcakes in the happy meals instead. That will teach those politicians a lesson. SF would be in better shape to get rid of these morons. And the person above that said government should get involved - that is absolutely ridiculous. If the government wants to get involved - they are in the wrong country.

San Francisco - an embarrassment to the Bay Area.


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Posted by Maria
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 13, 2010 at 11:46 pm

""I am surprised that Mayor Newsom plans to veto the Healthy Meal Legislation, given his consistent support of healthy eating and active living through his sponsorship of programs like Shape Up San Francisco, Sunday Streets, and Soda Free Summers," Mar said today in a statement."

Well, gee, the difference between those programs and the passage of this legislation is that participation in the prior programs is VOLUNTARY.


Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Nov 14, 2010 at 3:17 pm

There are lots of restaurants that are dirty, where workers don't always wash their hands after picking their nose and sometimes eating their own nose jelly, picking their ears with tooth picks,and combing their hair. In SF Chinatown, the smells alone are toxic and capable to taking you out! In the Mission/SF, the food is often very very greasy. In Japantown/SF, the sushi sometimes stinks of rotten fish.

Most if not all restaurants in SF & throughout the Bay Area are dirty and smelly. Rarely if ever are they clean enough to sit and enjoy a meal.

If you don't mind stuffing your face with toxic food/treats...then go for it!!!

Advice: eat at home.


Like this comment
Posted by Me Too
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 14, 2010 at 10:18 pm

Cholo makes a good point which I will extend - since Chinese restaurant give out fortune cookies, could we consider those toys (my kids have specifically asked to go to get the cookies)? There are a lot of Chinese menu items (at the ones I go to) that would not meet the healthy guideline...


Like this comment
Posted by S. F. Sucks
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 15, 2010 at 8:33 am

Is there no end to the lunacy in San Francisco?
Has every nut job outside the White House moved to San Francisco?
Why don't they just change the name of the city to San Wacko?


Like this comment
Posted by kolohe
a resident of another community
on Nov 15, 2010 at 9:52 am

I have to agree with Cholo and Parent. Why take the toy out? The toy is not causing you bad health. If you don't want to eat fast food, cook at home. I eat fast foods from time to time, mostly cause it's FAST and I need to be somewhere. And yes, I don't like that choice, but if I had managed my time better....to the poor children that are obese, look no further than the parents. Maybe we should put a pamphlet in the "Kid's Meal" that educates the parents. And a portion of our monies goes towards a good cause at McDonalds, it helps out with the McDonald houses. And my family has been lucky that those homes are here.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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