Councilwoman Jan Perry of the 9th District proposed the measure, which was unanimously approved by the remaining council members including Bernard Parks of the 8th District, whose constituency mainly lies within South LA.
The impetus for the ban stems from distressing statistics. South LA has the highest concentration of fast-food eateries and it has far fewer grocery stores compared to the rest of the city.
In addition, a study by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health showed that 30 percent of South LA adults were obese compared to 21 percent countywide. South LA also has the highest incidence of diabetes at 11.7 percent compared to 8.1 percent for the entire county.
Aziz Saud, 23, an international student at the USC Language Academy said he’s never cooked a day in his life. Instead, he said he eats out "practically every night," at the eateries lining Figueroa.
Money isn’t his first concern when deciding what to dine. Saud eats whatever tastes good to him. The healthiest places he ventures to is Jamba Juice and Baskin Robbins.
"I eat the way I do, because I have the luxury to go to the gym. I workout almost every day, running on the treadmill. People around here just eat cheap food and work. It adds up to health problems," he said. "I eat like this because these are my college years. It’s only temporary, but for other people it’s not and that’s why they have [health] problems."
"Even if because of this law, new healthy restaurants come, I will try it I think, but I don’t think it will taste as good as the other stuff or do good business," Saud says.
Dennis Bryant, 51, a resident of South LA eats out "maybe the entire week sometimes." His eating habits are dictated by the price of the menus. "Anything on the .99 cent value menu," is what he eats, he said.
"You can get more at McDonald’s than at Subway for $5," he said. Subway was exempt from the ban because it prepares fresh food. "Instead of a $5 foot-long, I can get a couple of cheeseburgers, couple of apple pies, and French fries," Bryant said.
Bryant doesn’t see the ban as a good idea "because where else can they go? It’s the only option."
Bryan said if healthier alternatives offered .99 cent meals, I’d go there for sure then."
Marlon Grissom, 45, a resident of Watts, agrees with the ban. "I’d go to a healthier place if it was just as cheap as these places right here, he said."
"People like to eat food because of its taste. A lot of folk like fried foods, fried chicken, cheeseburgers, and apple pies," Grissom said. However, when speaking about the general populace, Grissom said, "No. They wouldn’t go to the healthy places. They’d still go to KFC."