The news out of Washington Thursday was that federal officials want to impose tough rules on advertising cereal, soda pop, snacks, happy meals and other foods to
children because of the epidemic of childhood obesity.
characters like Toucan Sam, pitchman for sugar-coated Froot Loops and sedentary online games, was cited as an example of using commercial messages to support unhealthy lifestyle and eating habits.
At LA City Hall on Thursday lies come sugar-coated routinely and truth is lost in all the hot air, the Council Budget Committee took the exact opposite of the childhood obesity epidemic by giving its seal of approval to Park Commission President Barry Sanders’ plan to plaster the zoo and city parks with the poison of commercial messages.
Sanders was thwarted last fall in covering every visible surface of three parks with posters promoting Warner Bros. “Yogi Bear” movie in exchange for a tax-deductible gift of $50,000 to the LA Parks Foundation, which Sanders also runs.
City Attorney Carmen Trutanich invoked the city sign ordinance to stop the madness but Sanders has continued to line up “sponsorships” and “partnerships” and took his case to the Budget Committee where he found support from everyone except Paul Koretz who was squeamish about trashing the parks with advertising.
He told the Budget Committee that corporate sponsors wouldn’t donate to the parks unless they got “recognition,” by which he meant huge signs defacing the parks and not a 2-foot plaque thanking them.
Foaming at the mouth, Greig Smith denounced the City Attorney’s efforts as “egregious,” Rosendahl was befuddled about what the problem with advertising in the parks is and Bernard Parks thought that anything that brings in money is good.
They ordered Chief Legislative to show them how they legally can ignored their own attorney’s advice and cash on making sure kids playing in the parks get the message: Buy, Buy, Buy — That’s what life is all about.
What Smith and the other Council members ought to find egregious is their own behavior in singling out the parks and libraries — the only departments voters endowed with shares of property taxes to protect them — for budget-busting “full cost recovery” requirements.
Parks and libraries — already savaged with massive budget cuts that have forced sharp cuts in services and hours — are being hit with millions of dollars in bills for water, power, trash pickup, early retirement costs among others.
So why not sell fast food and mind candy to kids?
Last week, they updated their report in advance of the budget hearings: