Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Looping Back to What Is Less Than Healthy for the Community

The New York Times today is reporting that “Regulators plan to require labels to contain less healthful aspects of food alongside upbeat claims” (F.D.A. to Clarify Standards for the Front of Food Labels, By William Neuman, Published: October 20, 20090. What has this got to do with urban design and city development? For that, read our First Monday in October: An Open Letter to Sonia Sotomayor about Noticing an Eminent Reality (Tuesday, October 6, 2009) and consider that the Empire State Development Corporation is refusing to consider in its official assessments the ways in which the Atlantic Yards mega-project will be deleterious to the community or even to weigh the ostensible public benefit of the mega-monopoly against the extraordinary private benefit that will occur to its no-bid developer, Forest City Ratner. (See: Thursday, March 5, 2009, Missing a Leg To Stand On: ESDC Didn’t Consider Developer Profit, the Main Thing Atlantic Yards is About.)

The food industry has been self-certifying the “benefit” or “smart choice” of eating such foods as Foot Loops which, by weight, is 41% sugar. Reading the statement in today’s Times of the food industry spokesman saying that he believed in the food industry’s program, we couldn’t help but think of our government development officials at ESDC:
“We believe in the science behind the Smart Choices program,” Mike Hughes, the program’s chairman, said in a statement. “We also look forward to the opportunity to participate in F.D.A.’s initiatives on front-of-package labeling.”
That sounds just like the ESDC officials putting out their press release last Wednesday after oral arguments before the New York Court of Appeals (the state’s highest court) saying that they believed the pretextual public benefits they have promulgated with respect to Atlantic Yards. To wit:
“We expect that the Court of Appeals will recognize the many substantial public benefits of the Atlantic Yards project, and that the court will affirm . . .”
(See: Monday, October 19, 2009, Oral Arguments On the Atlantic Yards Eminent Domain Case Before the Court of Appeals: ESDC Knows Blight and Economic Development are Pretextual.)

The Times article ends with this paragraph about what is going on in the food industry:
Then last week, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut said that he was investigating the program and some of the companies that participate in it, including Kellogg’s and General Mills, to see if they had violated a consumer protection law that bars deceptive marketing claims.
We think it would be highly appropriate if our law enforcement officials would similarly investigate the false claims being made with respect to Atlantic Yards. (See: Thursday, February 26, 2009, Dear Eliot, . . . other things kept undercover may bear investigation.)

No comments: