|Getting Roasted For a Line
by Doug McIntyre [radio
Abraham Lincoln called upon "the better angels of our nature." Theodore Roosevelt inspired us to be "the man in the arena." FDR cautioned us, "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." Soaring words that have echoed throughout the annals of American history.
But move over, MLK, you might have "had a dream," but you've got nothing on Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar, who will keep the boys at Bartlett's busy with his soon to be immortal words, "What about El Pollo Loco?"
"Give me liberty or give me death!" "Remember the Alamo!"
"What about El Pollo Loco?"
Believe it or not, the city of Los Angeles has a "Planning and Land Use Committee." If you've never heard of it, don't feel bad. It's more commonly known as "The Whatever Eli Broad and Ron Berkel Want Rubber Stamp Social Club and Chowder Society." But believe it or not, Los Angeles actually has a committee to oversee planning and land use, which is something to chew on as you circle Art's Deli for the 38th time looking for a parking space.
But we do have a committee, and at its most recent hootenanny Councilwoman Jan Perry - fresh off her triumphant negotiations with the ACLU allowing the homeless to sleep on the sidewalk in front of your house - earned another feather in her Wikipedia biography by convincing the committee to send her fast-food ban to the full council.
"We have a serious problem in my district with fast-food restaurants and the increasing level of obesity and diabetes," said Perry to the committee. And so the stage was set for Councilman Huizar's moment in the sun.
Rising to the challenge, Huizar gathered his thoughts. Those lucky enough to witness the event are conflicted; some claim Jose Huizar shot to his feet, others say he simply shouted from his chair, but all agree on the phrase itself: "What about El Pollo Loco?"
A line like that would be enough for most politicians, but Huizar isn't most politicians. The words came to him as if he was possessed by the spirit of Daniel Webster himself!
"Would El Pollo Loco be included?" he continued.
Stunned, the committee, Perry included, sat frozen like a low-carb, zero-trans-fat Jenny Craig entr e. "You can't get healthier food than grilled chicken with the skin off," continued Huizar, demonstrating not only a mastery of parliamentary rhetoric, but a commanding grasp of the El Pollo Loco menu.
"It's like he was a shift-supervisor or maybe even an assistant manager," said a former El Pollo Loco assistant manager who accidentally walked into the meeting while looking for Laura Chick's office.
I know what you're thinking. "Damn! The one night I didn't go to the Planning and Land Use Committee meeting!" Don't cry on my pillow. With Jose Huizar the magic just happens.
Which is not to short-change Councilwoman Perry. Girlfriend should get her due. Let's examine Perry's quote of note: "We have a serious problem in my district with fast-food restaurants and the increasing level of obesity and diabetes."
Now, if we made this a fill-in-the-blank contest and asked Perry's constituents to complete the sentence: "We have a serious problem in my district with __________."
How many folks do you suppose would answer, "fast-food restaurants?" I'd be high-balling it at 0percent.
Rotten schools, gang murders, teen pregnancy, drug abuse, crummy housing, no jobs, lousy public transportation, did I mention gang murders? Any or all jump to mind as pressing, immediate priorities for the L.A. City Council, but leave it to Perry to tackle the really tough problems lesser leaders might dodge - the Egg McMuffin vs. the Bacon Breakfast Jack.
This is just the latest outbreak in an epidemic of nitwit, feckless posturing and legislating by politicians who dare not stick a toe in the waters of what really ails Los Angeles.
Jan Perry's proposed fast-food restaurant ban for South L.A. is the legislative equivalent of junk food. She's offering up a hollow solution to fight hollow calories.
Americans are getting fatter, and diabetes among kids has never been higher. These are real problems. Perry's solution is fake. It's just another sugar-coated fix from the lie merchants of Spring Street.
In Los Angeles, Burger King ain't the only one's serving up whoppers. CRO
first appeared at L.A. Daily News
2006 Doug McIntyre