Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Bring It

The issue of healthy snacks and drinks is in the news again. I feel certain I have written about this before. I'm convinced we are fighting about the wrong thing. Why are we fighting at all?

Howard County should not be in the vending machine business. Why on earth should we be standing on our heads second-guessing appropriate items for county residents when they are perfectly capable of choosing their own? If you want snacks and drinks, and you have the money to purchase them, bring your own.

The world does not owe us vending machine everywhere we go.

County office buildings should be safe, comfortably heated, cooled, ventilated, with excellent air quality. There should be adequate working bathroom facilities, and plenty of access to clean drinking water: water fountains. Those are reasonable expectations, in my opinion.

The vending machine people want you to believe that "there's a product for every moment" of your day. Do we really want to make the statement that Howard County is for sale?

"I'm Howard County: sell me."

And the vending machine executives are lined up to tell us what to buy.

To be perfectly clear, I think it matters a lot what goes into those machines. This is not an issue of whether or not Citizen A will chose to look good in a swimsuit this summer. This is a public health issue. This is as important to the public good as the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906. All the health problems that stem from choosing those products every moment of the day?

We all pay. And it is expensive.

So, if I were casting a vote on CB 17 2015, I would vote yes. But I can't help wondering why Mr. Kittleman, whose aims are to be both fiscally responsible and to promote personal responsibility, wants to have vending machines at all? It would be extremely gratifying to me if he made a bolder statement that Howard County is not in the snacking business.

We'll see.


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