Letters to the Editor

Letter: Healthy mandate?

September 16, 2013


To the editor:

Despite having one of the most educated populations of any city in the state, the city leaders once again feel they must protect us from ourselves. According to the Journal-World, Lawrence Parks and Recreation plans on requiring city-owned concession stands to have at least half the offerings meet their “healthy” guidelines. The requirements go so far as to regulate the cost of these items must be equal to or less than comparable “unhealthy” items. 

It appears the city leaders have no faith in the free market system our country was built on. I believe the contracted vendor, if requested by their customers, would be happy to provide “healthy” items for purchase at a competitive price. The vendor reports “healthy” items were offered in the past, but sales were poor. Requiring at least 50 percent availability of these items, food waste will likely increase. Wasting of food should be considered a sin in light of the number of people struggling to feed their families in this community. Increased waste will result in increased prices to maintain vendor’s profit margins.

While the city may have good intentions, government regulations will never be as efficient as the free market system in responding to the desires and purchasing habits of its citizen customers. Let’s not even think about our tax dollars spent on salaries of city employee to sit in meetings to develop, implement and monitor these unnecessary requirements. 

What’s next? Will the city have employees monitor each concession stand transaction to make sure at least 50 percent of an individual’s purchased items are “healthy”?


Marilyn Hull 4 years, 7 months ago

I think these changes are reasonable and will be welcomed by some families. Our country has a long history of protecting children from themselves on the premise that their judgement is underdeveloped. If we follow Mr. Graham's argument to its extreme, should we start selling cigarettes and beer to kids in our rec centers because there is demand for them?

John Graham 4 years, 7 months ago

Ms Hull,

I never suggested selling beer and cigs to kids or anything close. I find your statement quite offensive. I simply stated I believe the vendors would likely be happy to sell "healthy" food options if the customers requested such items and when offered actually purchased them. I don't believe the government needs to waste their time and our tax dollars dictating what food choices should be available. The free market will take care of the issue without the government making a total mess of things. The answer is not more government regulations intruding on every minor detail in our lives.

Marilyn Hull 4 years, 7 months ago

I'm sorry if you were offended, but I stick by my guns in supporting placement of healthy options in public venues where the customers are primarily children. As a mom of four who spent A LOT of time at ball parks and rec facilities, I would really have appreciated having some healthy food available for my young athletes and myself.

John Graham 4 years, 7 months ago

Glad you like "healthy" choices. The issue is if you and your friends want certain "healthy" options then talk to the vendors directly. I bet if you do and then actually purchase those items, the vendors would be happy to supply them as they are in business to make money. But for the city to mandate what percentage of items on the menu be "healthy" as well as mandate what the items should sell for is nothing short of ridiculous. The government should have more important things to do than over regulate the content and pricing of concession stands. There is another option if you want "healthy" items while at the rec center or ball fields, you could make your own and not rely on the government to do your job as a parent in deciding and providing what your kids eat. But hey, why do something yourself when you can have the government do it for you. Maybe the government should start mandating what items are allowed on restaurant menus in the city as well. Might as well go all the way and have the government regulate what items are allowed in the grocery stores. Or do you and your children not go to restaurants or grocery stores?

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