Perry Seeks Limits On Proliferation of Fast Food Outlets
by Howard Fine
First she tackled smoking in public parks. Now L.A. City Councilwoman Jan Perry has her eye on fast food restaurants.
Last Tuesday, the city’s Planning and Land Use Committee approved a motion by Perry to have the city planning department study the number of fast-food businesses in certain low-income areas of the city.
Perry said she introduced the motion because she believes the high concentration of fast-food restaurants in low-income communities contributes to health problems among residents, like obesity, diabetes and high-blood pressure. Children who eat fast food frequently, she said, are the most prone to develop health problems later in life.
“It’s time to take proactive steps to change these statistics,” Perry said. “Low income areas are inundated with fast-food restaurants that serve over-processed food that is high in fat, sugar and sodium.”
Local restaurant owners and the California Restaurant Association oppose the action.
“We oppose any measure that has a government entity determining the number of establishments in a given area,” said CRA spokesperson Mark Martin. “That decision should be left up to the marketplace.”
Added Jack Srebnik, owner of 17th Street Caf & #233; in Santa Monica and president of the CRA’s Westside/Beverly Hills Chapter: “The people who live in these neighborhoods should be the ones who decide whether or not to patronize fast-food restaurants. If they decide not to, then new ones won’t come in.”
After being accused for months of price gouging during the power crisis, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is fighting back.
Frank Salas, the DWP’s chief operating officer, said last week that the agency has been trying to get the message out that the DWP charged higher prices because the power cost more to generate.
State Sen. Joseph Dunn has been leading a state Senate investigation into the DWP’s power pricing practices.
“When the calls from the state came in for more power, we had to start up old, expensive generators at tremendous expense,” Salas told the downtown Current Affairs Forum. “That’s why it cost more for us to generate the power than private generators.
“But for political reasons, the folks in Sacramento don’t want to accept that, Salas continued. “Sen. Dunn is running for Attorney General and wants to keep his name in the press. And some of the other members of his committee want to embarrass the governor.”
When told of Salas’ remarks, Dunn was amused.
“Ken Lay said this about me a year ago and Ross Perot just said this last week, so Salas is in pretty good company there,” Dunn said. He did acknowledge that he was considering a run for statewide office after he serves his second four-year term in the Senate (he’s favored to win re-election in November).
Staff reporter Howard Fine can be reached by phone at (323) 549-5225, ext. 227, or by e-mail at