I smell another county job

Record Editorial

  • Friday, October 3, 2008 2:39am
  • Opinion

Hello, I am John Smith and I would like to look in your freezer. I am a trans fat enforcement officer with the King County Department of Health.

I can see the posting now on the county’s Web site. Trans fat enforcement official wanted. Must have valid drivers license for transportation to raids on various restaurants. Must be height-weight proportionate to uphold the image of a healthy person. Must provide cholesterol screening with HDL and LDL levels in the healthy range. Must be familiar with police procedures in the event an enraged customer or restaurant owner does not comply with the law.

Am I being sarcastic enough? Is the county, once again, stepping over its boundaries? Should I plan on opening a speak-easy where the password is “french fry?” I can understand laws for drunk drivers, or theft, or other crimes. But with every new law the county creates, a new job seems to be created and once again, the ranks of county employees swell and our taxes increase.

This time the King County Board of Health has decided on two proposals, one to require labeling at chain restaurants that lists calorie and other health content, and the second to ban trans fats in all restaurants in King County.

I can agree with the first proposal, it’s about providing information to make an intelligent decision about what to eat. But to ban something and then penalize a restaurant for not conforming to the ban? That’s not about choices; that’s about dictatorship.

I don’t have a choice about wearing a helmet when riding my bicycle in Snoqualmie. I don’t have a choice about burning a pile of debris in my back yard during the rainy season and now my french fries are going to lose some level of taste because my favorite restaurant was busted for doling out a controlled substance, trans fat.

In other words, provide the information and let people make their own choices. I use the labels at the grocery stores and if I decide I want to eat a kosher dill pickle with 270 grams of sodium per half-pickle, it’s my choice.

Oh no, I likely gave the Board of Health another substance to ban, sodium. It does cause blood pressure to increase and many of the same arguments causing the trans fat ban idea to surface could be applied to sodium.

I plan on hoarding kosher dill pickles along with those cholesterol sticks called cheesy dogs and will be eating them as I burn a fire in my back yard come September.

Unfortunately, the board of health passed both measures so in the end, it’s one more freedom taken away.


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