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Santa Clara County ban on fast food toys?

Original post made by Pleasanton Parent on Apr 27, 2010

What are your thoughts? Personally, I think this is a clear example of government over extending its authority into the marketplace. However, part of me recognizes the need for something to be done about childhood obesity and if parents are not going to make the tough decisions maybe the county is correct in taking steps - I think the real question is whether this is the correct step.

My biggest concern is with the logic that the toys drive children's decisions on what they want to eat. The underlying issue I have is that parents should drive the decision on what their children's options are - not the other way around.

I also find the decision riddled with hypocrisy as many of the jr high and high schools serve food that typically comes from a fryer. It seems to me if the county really wanted to make an impact banning fryers in public schools would be a more appropriate and effective step in achieving their goal.

Your thoughts?

Comments (40)

Posted by letsgo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 27, 2010 at 11:08 pm

You make some very good points - as a parent I know that the toys do drive kids to want to go to the restaurant - my kids have said "we want to go to McDonald's to get the toy, but we don't want the food".

Its up to the parent to make those boundaries...parents can say NO to their children. Even if the parents work late every night, you can still say no to your children and not feel guilty.

Addressing the topic of this discussion though, its up to the parents, not some local representative that thinks they know what's best for my family because they can't get a real job. Elected officials are to protect us from outside evils, not try to teach us whatever they think is morally correct.

Yes, the toys increase the children's desire for the food...and yes, the parents can still say no, you may not have that food/toy.


Posted by they can but they won't, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 28, 2010 at 6:04 am

Yes, the parents can say no and yes, the parents should say no. But they will not. Pleasanton is filled with entitled and overindulged kids. What are the parents doing? Oh, playing golf or getting their nails done. What are the kids doing? Whatever they want, paid for by mommie and daddie.


Posted by Kate, a resident of Castlewood Heights
on Apr 28, 2010 at 8:01 am

They should ban the parents who teach their children bad eating habits! Everything in moderation. We need to take toys away to send that message?


Posted by Karen, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Apr 28, 2010 at 9:00 am

personally I love the idea. When I take my kids to a restaurant, the food choice for kids meals almost always includes french fries. My kids will eat veggies and salad, but I always have to ask for a "favor" and often pay more.

Eat good food... get a toy. Makes sense to me!


Posted by Pleasanton Parent, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Apr 28, 2010 at 10:47 am

they can but they won't -

Wow, talk about a stereotypical response with zero added value. You completely missed the question.


Posted by Kathy, a resident of Carlton Oaks
on Apr 28, 2010 at 10:54 am

What we really need is to ban fast food altogether.


Posted by SteveP, a resident of Parkside
on Apr 28, 2010 at 1:30 pm

SteveP is a registered user.

To they can but they won't:
Where do you get off with your class envy, 'I'm a better a parent than you' attitude? Nothing like an ignorant generalization from a spiteful, jealous whiner.
Maybe if you work hard you can provide for your kiddies and move out of your trailer and join the rest of us on the golf course. See you never.


Posted by Nicole, a resident of another community
on Apr 28, 2010 at 6:19 pm

Has the world gone NUTS??! Banning TOYS, which are the FUN part of having a happy meal.
Government- back off! Let the kids have their toys! The county supervisors have too much time on their hands and obviously have no idea how to use it, besides making kids unhappy. Shame on you!


Posted by MainStreetDiva, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Apr 28, 2010 at 7:35 pm

MainStreetDiva is a registered user.

Yet another example of the government thinking some adults are idiots and therefore we need 'big brother' to step in and protect us from ourselves.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Apr 28, 2010 at 8:04 pm

Thought this was at least the dumbest thing I saw today . . .


Posted by NO!!!!, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 28, 2010 at 9:39 pm

I don't agree with this, and it is actually kind of scary.

Come on, what is next? Make red meat illegal? Force people to take yoga classes? Tell all chinese restaurants that using MSG is no longer allowed?

What are they trying to accomplish with the lack of a toy in a kids' meal?

Fat people will continue to eat at McDonalds and their kids will go with them, whether there is a toy or not.

I do not like this kind of regulation. People should be the ones responsible for making the decision to eat wherever they want, and restaurants like McDonalds should be able to offer toys or whatever they want. It is all about personal choices, and the government should stay out of it. I also did not like when Michelle Obama tried to be cool and push organic, etc, and talk about how to prevent childhood obesity - perhaps she should look in the mirror? Lose a few pounds before she tries to make others be slim? And she had Oprah as her partner? This would be something to laugh at if it were not so scary to think what is next?


Posted by Jose, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 29, 2010 at 6:39 am

The studies are everywhere showing that obesity - both in kids and in adults - is a major problem for this country. It costs us billions in health care and reduced productivity. It is one of the primary reasons that our childrens' generation may not live as long as our generation.

Having said that, regulation by the government is not the solution. If people are too lazy or too stupid to take the responsibility of managing their weight, that's their problem and they'll pay the price.

Just don't make the rest of us pay for their lack of self control. When they get diabetes or heart disease, don't make us pay for their healthcare. If they need a scooter because they're too huge to move around on their own, don't make everyone else pay for their disability. When they're too tired to hold a job, don't make the rest of us pay for their unemployment.


Posted by Malcolm, a resident of Bridle Creek
on Apr 29, 2010 at 6:48 am

Don't you people realize this is just the next logical step in America's decline? When a society has so much of everything that people want for nothing, it is only logical that they will consume in excess simply because they can.

The smart thing to do is get ahead of the trend: I think the old Domus store would be an excellent location to open a Vomitorium.


Posted by To Joe, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 29, 2010 at 7:19 am

I agree with you Joe that we should not have to subsidize others' healthcare, but that goes for everything not just obesity. Many people have kids with severe disabilities and get subsidies from the government not just for healthcare but for daycare/school and other stuff. These kids will never be productive adults and will be on the government's "payroll" for life - which is prolonged these days because of advances in medicine.

We have elderly neighbors well into their 80s who are living off retirement (pensions) and look as healthy as an 80 year old can look, yet they have other health related issues (old age issues) that we are paying for because they are on medicare and have been on it for more than a decade.

So obesity is a problem, but so is government's lack of good planning. The government should not interfere with people's choices.

Look, Obama smokes, and one day he will be living off our money (even though he has made millions with his book) because at a young age he became president. Now we will have to give him about 200K per year once he is no longer the president, plus subsidized healthcare and secret service for him and his family. And if he gets any of the lung diseases due to smoking (pulmonary fibrosis, cancer, etc), well, then we will be paying lots of money for his care - just because he was president for four years (yes, I expect he will not be re-elected)

The government needs to stop subsidies, period.

If fat people want to be fit, they should make the choice to stop eating at McDonalds, the government should not interfere.

What is next? Require people to go to the gym? And whose idea of healthy will we follow? Anorexia is a problem too, you know.


Posted by SCC, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 29, 2010 at 8:02 am

Are they going to ban the play areas inside McDonalds too?

Santa Clara County has bigger issues to work on: they have a big deficit over there, and it has to do with pensions. Why not worry about that instead of worrying about toys in happy meals?


Posted by jimf01, a resident of another community
on Apr 29, 2010 at 8:17 am

No one who supported Obama's health care reform should speak a word of complaint over this development. It is the natural logical progression from government involvement in your health-care decisions.

Next, your SUV is too big, and it pollutes and it can kill people when you crash it in to a Prius, so you cannot have one of those either. Why not? If they can take toys away from kids, they can take toys away from adults. After all, it's only for your own health and safety!

To stela a line from A&G

Goodbye sweet America!

Hello nanny state.


Posted by Adam, a resident of Stoneridge
on Apr 29, 2010 at 8:40 am

This is absolutely silly. The government has way overstepped it bounds on this one.

It is up to the parents to regulate what the kids eat. I am a parent of 2 young children. If I want to take my kids to McDonalds so they can get a happy meal and get a silly toy, wonderful.

McDonalds and Burger King both offer healthy alternatives to french fries and soda. My kids are happy with a hamburger and apple slices with apple juice to drink and get their silly toy.

It is up to the parents to regulate what they eat, not someone in government.


Posted by TK, a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Apr 29, 2010 at 8:49 am

I believe the gov't. should stay out of the situation. (Personally, my kids beg for In & Out and they don't give toys at all.)

Wouldn't it be interesting if fast food restaurants only provided the toys with their salads?

Incentive to make good choices!


Posted by Does anyone know if thhey can?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 29, 2010 at 8:55 am

"If they can take toys away from kids, they can take toys away from adults."

And that is just too scary. The government is out of control, and I wonder if a county can indeed tell a fast food place how to run its business?

Does someone know? Can Santa Clara County really tell McDonalds not to put toys in their happy meals? That would be like telling Safeway to stop giving cookies to their customers - Safeway has a table at the entrance of the store where you can get a cookie and donate for one or another cause - now is that something to be regulated because cookies are bad for you? I hope NOT!


Posted by Melanie, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 29, 2010 at 9:20 am

FYI, you can purchase only the toy and not the children's meal at just about any of the fast food restaurants.


Posted by Jon, a resident of Birdland
on Apr 29, 2010 at 9:43 am

I think they should just impose better guidelines on Fast Food to make it a healthier option. I think the point is missed. The toy is not the problem the food is. Change the food not the toy. Subway is a better option and they have a kids meal that has a toy. Will they be allowed to offer the toy? Seems like that could get very messy. I understand the need to bring our kids into a more healthy diet but I am not sure this is the way to do it.

P.S. "They can but they won't" You are the worst. You are the problem with these blogs. I will put my parenting skills against yours any day. And I don't play golf.


Posted by maja7, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Apr 29, 2010 at 11:50 am

I am a Mother of 4 children. I can and do say "NO" to my kids, ranging from high school to elementary school. Talking to my kids about 'good for you foods' and 'treats' is a necessary part of parenting in this age of packaged foods/fast foods. It's a process that takes more than one conversation and consistency on part of the parent.We,as a family, no longer go to McDonald's, that was a conscious choice on our part.

I am personally offended and scared of this Big Government action. What's next? The cities loved when McDonald's came to their town and brought the tax revenue though, didn't they?

I think that a great number of parents, thesedays, are stressed out by hectic work & social schedules,maintaining their public facade and pleasing their children. My job as a Mom is to raise good, respectable people who will be a positive influence on their small corner of the world. And sometimes, that means we,as parents, say "NO" and set boundaries for our children.

Is anyone with me? Parent is a verb not a noun.It takes work.


Posted by john, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 29, 2010 at 12:14 pm

just don't take the surprise toys out of my favorite cereal, Sugar Crisp and i won't mind them following me around and commenting on other stuff i do that's dangerous in their opinion.



Posted by jimf01, a resident of another community
on Apr 29, 2010 at 12:18 pm

jimf01 is a registered user.

Santa Clara County Supe comes straight out saying they will control what your kids eat so they can lower healthcare costs.

Web Link


"People ask why I want to take toys out of the hands of children," said Yeager, who is president of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. "But we now know that 70% of the kids that are overweight or obese will be overweight or obese as adults. Why would we want to burden anybody with a lifetime of chronic illness?"

"We're responsible for paying for healthcare in the whole county," Yeager said. "We pay close to $2 billion annually on healthcare, and the costs have done nothing but rise." A big part of the increase, he said, is costs related to obesity.


Posted by Jason, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 29, 2010 at 12:24 pm

I think it's pathetic how people are voting these left-wing loons into office that want to control as many aspects or our lives as they can. The freedoms we cherish so dearly, obtained at the cost of many hundreds of thousands of lives and untold resources, are just being pi**ed away by creaping socialism and totalitarianism. In the last year the creaping has turned into a fast gallop. It is truly pathetic. Our ancestors would be appalled.


Posted by jimf01, a resident of another community
on Apr 29, 2010 at 12:29 pm

jimf01 is a registered user.

The word is tyranny


Posted by Kell, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 29, 2010 at 2:20 pm

"Our ancestors would be appalled"

LOL!!! I forgot that our founding fathers fought the revolution so conservative rednecks could get happy meals.

I love all you Tea Party conservative nutjobs whining about not getting a toy. Are you guys 8 years old? You conservatives didn't care that millions don't have health care but you are outrage by not getting toys at a fast food joint in Santa Clara County. Welcome to the American idiocracy!


Posted by Bubba, a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Apr 29, 2010 at 2:45 pm

Them libruls is taken my toys boy!!!!! It ain't American without unhealthy food and cheap, Chinese-made, lead-taited toy!!!


Posted by letsgo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 29, 2010 at 9:21 pm

So Kell, you are saying that you feel that the government should be able to control every aspect and minute detail of our lives. Would you be happy if the government mandated a specific menu for you to eat everyday of your life? If that the kind of control you want. What if the government decided the romaine lettuce was the only lettuce allowed to be sold because someone told them its the healthiest...is that ok?

The point all of these people are making is not about a stupid little toy, its about the stupid officials trying to make laws to fix a problem that does nothing to actual help the problem but yet chips ever so slightly away some of our freedoms.


Posted by Ann, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 29, 2010 at 10:17 pm

Wow! Fast food toys really bring out all the right-wingers comments. Talk about over-the-top rhetoric about "big, scary government takin' my toys"! As if a stupid toy ban in one California county is a some kind of ominous sign of Obama coming after fast food loving suburbanites. You guys need to live in reality, not the Glenn Beck fear factory.


Posted by jimf01, a resident of another community
on Apr 29, 2010 at 10:25 pm

jimf01 is a registered user.

Actually, our founding fathers WOULD be appalled.

They would be appalled at our loss of freedom and the movement towards tyranny. This is happening, little by little, government officials know what is better for you than what you know.

Public opinion was against Obama's health care reform, but the pundits and politicians said we were told false information, the right wing smears, blah blah,

Now it passed, and piece by piece we are learning the right wing smears were the truth.

The cost curve is bending up, not down. Web Link

There is no individual mandate, it is a tax the IRS will enforce. Web Link

Etc, and so on

Now politicians are playing off health care to decide what you can feed your kids


Posted by letsgo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 29, 2010 at 10:51 pm

I really don't consider myself a right-winger, but if not wanting SC to be able to regulate the toys at McD makes me one, I guess I'm jumping on board


THEY CAME FIRST for the toys,
and I didn't speak up because I don't like fast food.

THEN THEY CAME for the SUVs,
and I didn't speak up because I drive a Prius.

THEN THEY CAME for the oil,
and I didn't speak up because I have solar.

THEN THEY CAME for everything
and by that time no one was left to speak up.


Posted by choice, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 30, 2010 at 8:56 am

from Ann-
"Wow! Fast food toys really bring out all the right-wingers comments. Talk about over-the-top rhetoric about "big, scary government takin' my toys"! As if a stupid toy ban in one California county is a some kind of ominous sign of Obama coming after fast food loving suburbanites. You guys need to live in reality, not the Glenn Beck fear factory."

I think the part you're missing Ann, is that most adults resent being treated as a child. It's not a political thing.


Posted by jimf01, a resident of another community
on Apr 30, 2010 at 9:06 am

trust me - "Ann" got that, the name calling, insults and false smears are the normal response, every time the progressives on this blog hear something they have no response to. They hate it when the "right" is right.


Posted by Pleasanton Parent, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Apr 30, 2010 at 9:42 am

Lets reign this back on topic and let the left wing / right wing discussion evolve elsewhere.

To answer some of the questions:
- The legislation bans fast food chains with handing out toys as part of high calorie meals, what defines a high calorie meal I have not yet read. So regarding subway handing out toys with meals, probably no problem.

- Regarding whether or not Santa Clara County can regulate and enforce this, yes they can. San Luis Obispo has had a ban on drive-thru's for over a decade. They used air quality as the driving force (cars idling on while waiting cause pollution).

- The issue isn't about a toy, the issue is about how governments (especially local county governmennts) are electing to address a growing problem.





Posted by Qwerty, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 1, 2010 at 1:27 am


I feel about this the same way I do about the government's involvement with issues regarding sodas, salt and other things. They have no business telling us what we can and cannot eat. Their only involvement should be through what the FDA current does. It's unacceptable for them to be extending their reach into our private lives to this extent. If we want to eat at a fast food restaurant to get a toy, then fine. If we want to eat salty foods, that should be our choice, not the government's decision. If we want to have a soda, we shouldn't have to pay a proposed "soda" or "obesity" tax just because some subset of the population has trouble controlling their eating habits.

If the government wants to get involved then they should do it through education of some sort, not making decisions like this for the entire population.









Posted by Rat Turd, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 1, 2010 at 10:16 am

Another great example of good use of our tax dollars. We have no problems in this state so let's focus on big issues like toys and Mickey D's. Waste of time and money.


Posted by Qwerty, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 2, 2010 at 2:07 pm


The government's responsibility is to:
1) Ensure that food passes certain safety standards, particularly in the case of raw meat, fish, eggs, etc.
2) Make companies include nutritional labels on foods
3) Standardize certain things such as what's required for something to be labeled "low fat" or "low calorie", etc.
4) Inspect restaurants and food production facilities to ensure they pass certain standards for safety and cleanliness.

That's all.


Posted by John, a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on May 3, 2010 at 10:54 am

Wow I guess we should ban breakfast cerial that have toys in them. Parents need to make the decision of health for children. Be parents!


Posted by Qwerty, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 3, 2010 at 2:30 pm


One of the problems I see with a lot of the government's programs is that they assume we're all stupid and can't think for ourselves. Kind of like how microsoft assumes all computer users are idiots and needs to be offered "help" every 5 sec. by an animated paper-clip character when we are trying to use word or powerpoint.


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