In my previous article about this subject, I outlined the proposal of Superior, Wisconsin, city councilor Greg Mertzig to limit which fast food kids’ meals would be allowed to come with free toys. Fast food restaurants such as McDonalds, Burger King, and Hardees would have to make sure each kids’ meal which came with a toy would meet nutritional guidelines as defined in an ordinance.
The vote to determine whether the proposal would be developed into an ordinance came Tuesday, December 7, 2010. In a resounding “No thank you,” the Superior city council voted seven to one to shelve the proposal.
Mertzig claimed earlier that his constituents prompted him into this action. Those constituents seemed absent, or silent, at the city council meeting. Instead, the only backers of Mertzig’s proposal at the meeting were medical professionals who lived in Duluth. Hardly to be considered constituents.
Councilor Tom Bridge indicated the Superior constituents who contacted him were not in favor of the proposal. He noted, however, that he did receive quite a few phone calls urging his support. All of the calls were from Duluthians.
Lest we believe the issue is totally dead in the Twin Ports of Superior, Wisconsin, and Duluth, Minnesota, it should be remembered that those who appeared in favor of Mertzig’s proposal were residents of Duluth and in the health care business. In fact, the day of the vote the Duluth News Tribune published a Local View Opinion piece written by the same health care professionals who drove across the bridge to attend Tuesday night’s meeting.
Dr. Nancy Monaghan-Beery is a pediatrician who graduated in 1995 from Kansas City University Of Medicine And Biosciences College Of Osteopathic Medicine and is currently with Duluth’s Essentia Health Care System. Dr. Ann Stephen is a pediatrician at Duluth’s Essentia Health Care System and the branch facility in International Falls, Minnesota. She graduated in 1986 from the University Of Nebraska College Of Medicine in Omaha. Lisa Spooner is a registered and licensed outpatient dietitian specializing in pediatric nutrition and working at the Duluth Clinic, part of Essentia Health. Jamie Harvie has been the executive director of Duluth’s Institute For a Sustainable Future since 2000 and the food coordinator of Health Care Without Harm. These four were the main mentioned supporters of the proposal to ban toys in fast food kids meals.
Somehow, I do not believe this is the last time this proposal will be made in the Northland. But, for now, true common sense has prevailed.
http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/event/article/id/185714/group/News/ “Happy Meals Survive Superior Council Vote.” Shelley Nelson.
http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/event/article/id/185645/ “Local View: Superior Can Level Playing Field With Common-Sense Nutrition Measure.” Dr. Anne Stephen and Jamie Harvie.
http://www.healthgrades.com Physician Backgrounds