Here we go again. Controversy over something that has been taken out of context for political manipulation and gain. Some folks just love to start stuff and it makes my ass itch. Dr. Calvin Ball, District 2 Council Rep, created a very cool compromise in the tug of war over snack and sugary beverages. His legislation promotes healthy choices but takes some of the sting out of former County Exec. Ken Ulman’s plan. Dr. Ball proposes that vending machines on county property offer 25 percent “junk” food, move the healthy choices up to eye level, and make them 25 cents less than the high calorie crap. No one’s personal choices are in jeopardy here. And it saves people money which is what I thought that was what the GOP was all about. Ummm….what’s wrong with that?
C’mon son! Are we Healthy Howard or what? It’s time for some tough love when it comes to health and the vending machine. I find this back and forth hmmming and hawing to be silly. Kittleman’s lack of response to Dr. Ball’s bill (he claims to have not read the bill yet) disappoints me but doesn’t surprise me. The fact of the matter is we have a serious obesity problem in this county much like the rest of the country. Dare I drop the ‘F’ bomb here? Ok. Some of us are FAT! The transition team said they want to “aggressively address the County’s obesity issue” and yet when a bill is on the table to start the “aggression”, Mr. Kittleman and his friends sit at parade rest. Where did all that vigor go?
What’s the problem here for real y’all? We have dozens of health clubs and gyms all over the place. Trader Joe’s, Whole Paycheck (Whole Foods), Roots Market. Walking trails. Road races. Health fairs. Heck! We have a small organizations devoted to making sure Howard Countians know where the healthy hot spots are. So why is it so far fetched for the government to balance the food and beverage choices offered on its property? Especially when more and more research is proving that a tax can make a positive impact on health outcomes. And conversely, a limitation on healthy food choices can have a negative impact. When you have junk food and drinks offered on county property and turn around and tell people ‘we care about your health’ it sends a mixed message. Do you really care?
I’m not angry by the way. Just irritated that people who claim to care about health so much drag their feet on this issue. Just like they do about Long Reach redevelopment. Just like they do on guns at story time in the library. As a citizen, this game of chicken shakes my confidence in my local government. I know this is how politics is played but does it have to go on for practically every legislation that the Democrats propose? What exactly are the Republicans trying to prove? That Democrats can’t have their way? I think they’ve made their point. In fact the voters proved that point when they elected a Republican governor and County Executive and a bunch of other Republican folks. Now they’re playing with public health issues as a way to flex their muscles. Not cool. Time to get to work. Settle this like grown ups ASAP and move on.