Another wacky ban added to city’s list 

San Francisco added to its long list of banned behaviors Tuesday after Mayor Gavin Newsom’s veto on the law prohibiting toys in Happy Meals was rejected.

San Francisco has become the first major city to ban the toys or other items in fast-food meals for children that do not meet specific nutritional guidelines, such as at least half a cup of fruits or vegetables. The proposal sparked national attention and ignited a debate over government intrusion.

Supervisor Eric Mar, who introduced the legislation, thanked his colleagues Tuesday for "standing up for our children’s health and holding the fast food industry accountable."

The Board of Supervisors voted 8-3 Tuesday to reject Newsom’s veto, which takes at least eight votes to override. Supervisors Michela Alioto-Pier, Sean Elsbernd and Carmen Chu supported the veto.

Newsom has said that "parents, not politicians, should decide what their children eat, especially when it comes to spending their own money," and called the law "unwise and unprecedented governmental intrusion into parental responsibilities and private choices."

McDonald’s had attempted to fight the passage of the law.

"Parents tell us it’s their right and responsibility — not the government’s — to make their own decisions and to choose what’s right for their children," McDonald’s spokesperson Danya Proud said in a statement.

But Mar said the industry is a strong one.

"As a city we need to do much, much more. Dollars spent by the fast-food industry far outnumber any resources that we, as a city, could spend on outreach and education," Mar said.

San Francisco has garnered national attention for bans it has proposed and passed in recent years: plastic bags, the sale of cigarettes in pharmacies, declawing cats, throwing compostable garbage in with other trash, and leaving trash cans out overnight.

Newsom himself had explored the idea of banning the sale of sugary sodas, but backed off and instead enacted such a ban for just city departments.

The toy ban goes into effect in December 11.

 

Forbidden City

 

Supervisors overturned the mayor’s veto on legislation to ban fast-food children’s meals. Below are recently enacted bans and a controversial ban that has recently been proposed.

Recently enacted bans

  • Sale of tobacco products in pharmacies and grocery stores with pharmacies
  • Declawing of cats
  • Mixing of compostable trash with regular trash
  • Leaving garbage cans out after day of collection
  • Use of plastic bags
  • Smoking in restaurant outdoor seating
  • Use of Styrofoam food to-go containers

 

Proposed ban

  • Male circumcision. A local resident is collecting signatures to place on the November 2011 ballot a measure that would outlaw circumcision of males under the age of 18.
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