Hats off to city Comptroller John Liu, who sent more than 30 interns to paint the exterior of the Sean Bell Community Service Center.
The center, which opened last May, was created to honor the life of Sean Bell, who was killed in a hail of 50 bullets hours before he was to be married after police mistakenly believed he was carrying a gun. He was not and his killing added to the distrust many people in southeast Queens already felt toward the NYPD.
The center was created to heal, but since its opening it has needed a coat of paint. In sending his interns, Liu showed that he understood the pain the shooting caused and the hope for healing the center represents.
Big Brother Meets Ronald McDonald
In April, City Councilman Leroy Comrie introduced legislation targeting restaurants that included toys with meals with high fat content served to children. His bill called for a $200 to $2,500 fine on eateries that offer toys in meal packages that have more than 500 calories, 600 milligrams of sodium and high percentages of saturated fat.
The people at McDonald’s said they were working on making Happy Meals healthier. Come September, McDonald’s will offer low-fat options in Happy Meals.
Good for them, and good for the kids. Hopefully, other fast food chains will follow, even if they do not include toys in meals for children.
Although the end result is laudable, Comrie’s approach was not. Childhood obesity is a problem across this nation, but it is the parents’ responsibility to see that their children eat healthy meals, not governments.
The councilman is standing on a slippery slope. Where will the line be drawn? Do we want any politician telling us what we can or cannot eat or what we can feed our children?
It is one thing to require eateries to post calorie and fat content, but it is quite another to tell people how many calories their child can eat if the meal comes with a toy. We would have no problem if the Council met with the leaders of the fast food business and asked them to voluntarily serve healthier meals. But imposing arbitrary calorie limits under the threat of heavy fines goes too far.