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State of the Debate
George Pyle
George Pyle has been a newspaper writer in Kansas, Utah, Upstate New York, and now Utah again, for more than 30 years - most of it as an editorial writer and columnist. Now on his second tour of duty on The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board, he has also done a stretch as a talk radio host, published a book on the ongoing flaws of U.S.agricultural policy and, in 1998, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. His most active bookmarks are Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens and Tina Brown. And he still thinks the Internet can be used for intelligent conversation and uplifting ideas.

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Editorials: The cost of sweets, the price of parking ...

Above: OK, guys. But make it a small.

- Too, too sweet: All sweets are too much with us - Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

Two sweet stories that broke in the last couple of days should be read together, in order for a reader to receive their full nutritional value.

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First, the Food and Drug Administration told processed foodstuff manufacturers they must continue to refer to a commonly used sweetener as "high fructose corn syrup" on their required lists of ingredients. The FDA rejected a petition from the manufacturers of massive quantities of the stuff that they be allowed to change its name to the more benign-sounding "corn sugar."

Meanwhile, in New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed that the city ban the sale of high-sugar — which usually means high-high fructose corn syrup — drinks of more than 16 ounces by restaurants, ball parks, theaters, street vendors, etc. Hizzoner notes that, now that he has managed to ban smoking from most public places in the city, the biggest threat to public health, and the biggest driver of government costs for health care, is obesity.

Bloomberg’s proposal is just a little over the top. But the FDA ruling was the correct one, and just for the concerns that motivate the mayor. ...

Whatever the merits of Mayor Bloomberg's proposal, the headline writers love it:

- Mayor Bloomberg vs. the Big Gulp - Los Angeles Times Editorial

... Americans cherish their freedom to live as they choose, without "nanny state" dictates from the government. But because they're not willing to deny medical care to people who urgently need it, society has to pick up the tab for those who make heedless choices. Striking the right balance between the two will be one of the central challenges for government in the coming decades, as rising healthcare costs put an increasing strain on federal, state and local budgets. ...

- Mike: Downsize it - New York Post Editorial

... indeed, there’s a large dollop of Mike’s trademark nannyism at work here.

But there are some critical differences, too. Which is why this particular attempt to combat America’s obesity epidemic may well be worthwhile.

- We'll drink to that - New York Daily News Editorial

New York is fat city, and it is killing us. ...

- Bloomberg's big-soda ban has no fizz - Newsday Editorial

In New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg this week opened a new front in his war on soda. But it's a line of attack we just can't swallow. ...

- A Ban Too Far - New York Times Editorial

- Bloomberg Could Buy the World a Coke, but He'd Make It a Small - PBS NewsHour

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- Metered parking: Higher rates, longer hours in S.L. - Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

Mayor Ralph Becker wants to hike the price of Salt Lake City parking meters from $1.50 per hour to $2, and to extend the hours of enforcement to 10 p.m. on weekdays. Currently, parking is free after 6 p.m. Even though this policy change is not likely to win the mayor many friends, it makes sense for several reasons, though we would only extend enforcement to 8 p.m.

Opponents of the plan complain that it is all about shaking down Salt Lakers to fill city coffers, and it is true that if it were adopted in full, the city’s take would rise by nearly $1 million a year. That would be a combination of higher rates, longer hours, and more parking tickets.

But there are good reasons for the policy. ...



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