The Green Revolution is in full swing in South Los Angeles. It seems as if every popular fast-food restaurant in America has touched down in this particular area, serving some of the nation’s prized cash crops. Cheap corn, soy, potatoes, and grains are dominating the restaurant market in this mostly black and Latino section of L.A., and despite the constant need for investment, its constituents have allowed their elected officials to impose moratorium on fast-food business once again.
These protectionist regulations have been taking place for a few years now, spearheaded by Ninth district councilwoman Jan Perry. On Monday, The New York Times quoted Perry saying, “If people don’t have better choices or don’t have the time or knowledge or curiosity, they are going to take what’s there.”
These measures are supposedly set up to help curb many of the food related health problems, such diabetes and heart disease, that disproportionately affect lower income and minority communities. This regulation will once again cover a 30 mile mile radius where over 1000 fast-food restaurants are operational. The hope is to encourage small restaurant entrepreneurs with healthier and more innovative menus and concepts invest in a community starved for a different cityscape.
The moratorium has predictable push back from large corporate advocacy groups and libertarians. They are typically defending the rights of “free” enterprise and estimating that future business owners will not invest as freely. But, in reality, does anyone believe large corporations will pass on cheap land just because a few politicians want their name in the paper.
No one should actually have hope this will help curb the appetite for fast-food when it’s affordable and quick. The dynamics of the community have to change before any alternative food & beverage investment takes a chance in this region of L.A. This is the same area that was highlighted and negatively broadcasted consistently during 1991 riots; it was inevitable that only large franchises, with heavily subsidized loans, would be the only businesses to invest in a war-torn area.
If the city council was really interested in helping the citizens of South L.A., it seems they would encourage investment in farmer’s markets across the 30 mile radius, so that people who do not have transportation can walk to buy fresh produce. Touting, as Perry has, that a chain supermarket was established in the area instead of another fast-food restaurant is like saying, I rather take the time to cook a cheeseburger than have it made for me in 5 minutes. You are basically wishing upon a star that people will make better food choices because they have to prepare it themselves. We banned drugs, and how has that worked out?