SoCal city fears fast-food encroachment

Jan. 22, 2012 at 9:22 AM
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LOMA LINDA, Calif., Jan. 22 (UPI) -- Some folks in Loma Linda, Calif., say allowing a McDonald's to open in their community will taint their reputation as one of the healthiest towns in the nation.

The city council recently approved the inclusion of a McDonald's in a redevelopment project, a move that has sparked some intense opposition from leaders of the large and clean-living Seventh Day Adventist community.

The Los Angeles Times explained Sunday Adventists eschew drinking and smoking and are largely vegetarian. Loma Linda doesn't have a liquor store and has banned smoking for nearly three decades.

The Times said opponents, led by physicians at Loma Linda University Medical Center, have been chastising the council and discussing a ballot measure that would head off any further encroachment by the dreaded fast-food industry.

"McDonald's does not fit the Loma Linda brand of health and wellness," said Dr. Wayne Dysinger, head of preventive medicine at the medical school. "Compare it to smoking laws: There's no question that smoking is harmful to people's health. Exposing people to fast food also is harmful to their health."

Not everyone agrees. Many conservatives in the San Bernardino County city are leery about restricting businesses and point out Loma Linda supermarkets sell fresh red meat, and plenty of burger joints are already just outside of town.

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