San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom (D) has reportedly vetoed an ordinance that would have prohibited restaurants from offering toy giveaways in children’s meals deemed too high in calories, salt or fat. Approved in an 8-to-3 vote on November 2, 2010, by the city’s Board of Supervisors, the ordinance has the minimum amount of support needed to override the veto, an action which apparently has not yet been scheduled. The ordinance was discussed in Issue 371 of this Update.
Announcing the veto on November 12, Newsome called the legislation an “intrusive and ineffective approach” to combat childhood obesity. “Parents, not politicians, should decide what their children eat, especially when it comes to spending their own money,” he said in a statement. “Despite its good intentions, I cannot support this unwise and unprecedented government intrusion into parental responsibilities and private choices.”
According to the California Restaurant Association, the legislation may face a legal challenge if it becomes law. “The legality of this ordinance is an open question, but a final decision has not yet been made regarding a lawsuit,” an association spokesperson told a news source. See Mayor Gavin Newsome Press Release, November 12, 2010; The San Francisco Chronicle, November 13, 2010.