Some find it a damper on the festivities to bring Howard County’s Fourth of July fireworks into compliance with County Executive Ken Ulman’s December 2012 edict sharply restricting the sale of sweet
beverages and high-calorie snack food at county-sponsored events. Under the regulations, which are “the first and only of their kind in the state,” at least “50 percent of packaged food offered at county events must contain 200 calories or less per portion”; prepared food, such as funnel cakes and soft-serve ice cream, is not covered.
The restriction was implemented by County Executive Ken Ulman via an executive order without input or a vote from the Howard County Commission. (Ulman must have been channeling his inner Bloomberg of New York City.)
In Howard County, the regulations apply only to county buildings and events. “We are not telling people what they can or can’t serve in their store or restaurant,” Ulman said when he announced his executive order in 2012. “We’re just saying on county property or a county park or building, you are going to have a healthy option.”
There is a disconnect in Ulman’s thinking that is plain to see. While he touts the idea that the government isn’t reaching into your restaurant or business, he seems to forget that the parks, the buildings and even the events on County property don’t belong to him. They belong to the people of Howard County. His statement should read “We are not telling people what they can or can’t serve in their store or restaurant, we’re just telling them what they can’t sell on public property because I own that. Not the people.”
Also, is it really an “option” when you remove all other choices?
It sounds so pleasant to think “there are other options of food,” but in essence, there aren’t. You either eat what Ulman and his food goons think you should eat or else. That’s it. No choice.
Maybe we misremembered Patrick Henry’s speech to the Second Virginia Convention in 1775 for apparently Henry shouted:
Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me tofu and bean sprouts!
As the country celebrates its founding and the idea of freedom, we see there are government officials who don’t grasp the concept of what freedom means.
NOTE: The other day Olsen wrote on his blog that Overlawyered was celebrating its fifteenth year of existence, making it arguably the oldest law blog in the land. Fifteen years is a long time to blog considering the time, effort commitment one must make to such an endeavor. Congratulations to Olsen and we look forward to his continued blogging and other endeavors.