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June 14, 2005 > Editorial: Watch out Ronald and Jack, Bob is back!

Editorial: Watch out Ronald and Jack, Bob is back!

In the good 'ol days of the Planning Commission, Councilmember, then Commissioner Wieckowski and his allies were happy to bash fast food restaurants at every opportunity. After all, these dens of caloric inequity were responsible for almost all ills of society. Although there are small "fast food" cafes, often pushing much of the same fare, located in almost every corner of the world, it is the advertising and success of chains that aggravate the social conscience of some politicians. While there are plenty of solid arguments on both sides of the nutrition issue, legislative social engineering can be a serious intrusion into our lives and should not be taken lightly.

The problem and biggest hurdle for these social experts is that in our society, people are given choices and, on occasion, many of us choose a Big Mac or Breakfast Jack because it fits our lifestyle, pocketbook or craving for something that tastes good, no matter what the doctor says. Although we have not seen a massive invasion of the big chains (except for Quiznos), Ronald and Jack along with their friends, Wendy, Carl, et al. are not off the hook yet. Bob has decided that time has not moved things his way so now a referral has shown up for the June 14 meeting of the Fremont City Council.

Item 8.1.1 asks for a study of fast food restaurants that was referred to council when Mr. Wieckowski was on Planning Commission. Tabled by the council at its March 5, 2002 meeting, this study should be given "near-term medium priority for the Planning Division." Defined, this means that "staff would seek to complete the background work and have recommendations available sometime in the next six to nine months, assuming other higher priorities do not interfere."

This little study in the midst of a budget crunch asks planning personnel to review other city definitions, regulations and design guidelines and suggest a set of revisions that would ultimately be incorporated into the Zoning Ordinance. Since Fremont is about to embark on a new General Plan, embroiled in financial crisis and wrestling with regional transportation, it seems that fast food issues can wait even as a "medium priority." Chill out, Mr. Wiekowski, let's talk about it at Burger King.

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