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Austin Council Votes Down Fast Food Ban
Updated: Thursday, November 21 2013, 06:27 PM CST
A proposal to ban new fast food restaurants within a half mile of where children go failed Thursday in a 4-3 Austin City Council vote.
The idea came from a two year Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) assessment. It discovered four key areas for improvement, better access to mental health, healthy food, transportation and the overall impact of obesity.
Officials identified five zip codes, including 78754, 78724, 78725, 78758, and 78753, as food deserts without nearby grocery stores and with fast food.
Supporters believe that contributes to obesity.
"I believe it's about finding that balance. Is it taking government too far if we look at restricting the growth of kinds of retail around where children go? We are going to look at the data and see whether it is appropriate for the City of Austin," Council Member Laura Morrison explained.
Wally's Burger Express owner Robert Mayfield could not believe a proposal would restrict new small businesses like his near schools, municipal parks, child care centers, libraries and rec centers. He's been next to Anderson High school since the 1980s.
"It's an insult to myself and everyone who has a business really," said Mayfield.
He argues Austin council members probably cook burgers like his in the backyard.
"What's unhealthy about a hamburger bun, lean hamburger meat, mustard, pickles, lettuce, tomatoes, onions?" questioned Mayfield.
Other opponents voiced their opinions all agreeing the government should not be controlling what kids eat, parents should.
Los Angeles passed a fast food ban in 2008 in the city's worst food desert. City leaders said it was easier to find a gun in South LA than it was a veggie or fruit. Now they are looking to lift the ban.