If you ride BART to its northwestern terminus, you’ll find yourself at Macdonald Avenue and 19th Street, just a few blocks east of downtown Richmond. Macdonald is a four-lane street lined with restaurants, gas stations, and other retailers. I came here to find out how local business owners feel about the soda tax ballot initiative.
Sixteen percent of people in Richmond live below the poverty line. The city has the highest rate of diabetes deaths in Contra Costa County. But it also has one of the nation’s most progressive mayors, Mayor Gayle McLaughlin.
As controversy rages regarding the government's right to regulate health, some have been quick to compare the ideas of government regulation to preventing obesity, to legislation against lung cancer and smoking. While obesity and lung cancer are both health issues, research shows that they aren't as analogous as one might expect. Men who smoke a pack of cigarettes per day have a relative risk of mortality nearly four times higher than the national average. The relative risk of mortality from obesity isn't even close to that; it's 1.5 times the average.
Marcy Berry is the Vice Chair of the Libertarian Party of San Francisco. She spoke with KALW’s Isaac Silk about whether the government should be involved with legislating healthy lifestyles.
MARCY BERRY: No. Not at all, no at all times, no. It should be left up to parents to families to the people in charge. It’s not, in my opinion, up to the government to address such things. So, say if someone is obese, why is that person obese? She shouldn’t eat that much. I have children; they’re not obese. So, I don’t expect the government to make them thin. I expect myself to guide them