One City's Healthy, Religious Residents Fighting Plans for Community's First McDonald's
In the city of Loma Linda, California, those Golden Arches are more akin to the sign of the devil. Imagine if you will a town without a McDonald's. That's how it has been in Loma Linda, a city with a population of health-conscious residents who often live into their 80s, and many who are Seventh-day Adventists. And Loma Linda residents are up in arms about plans to open up the first McDonald's in their community.
When the issue to approve [the McDonald's'] opening came up before the city council, the meeting room was packed with outraged residents and health professionals, as if a nuclear waste dump, and not a fast food chain, was coming to town.
Seventh-day Adventists generally follow a meat and caffeine-free diet, as well as abstain from drinking alcohol or smoking. While the latter two don't apply, future meals of burgers and sodas available in their healthy oasis aren't making Loma Linda residents happy.
One area doctor, who practices preventative medicine and is a Seventh-day Adventist himself, believes the fast food restaurant stands for all that is not good for you:
"Loma Linda is sort of a symbolic city for healthiness, and McDonald's is sort of a symbolism of unhealthiness. That's a significant issue. My kids know about McDonald's. McDonald's is the one that sells the toys."
As expected, Mickey Dees' reaction was to tout their born again position on healthy eating, i.e. the whole "hey we serve apple slices and salads!" approach. In a statement McDonald's expressed the following about the Loma Linda controversy:
"We have been working hard over the past several years to ensure we have options on our menu to meet a variety of dietary needs. For example, our line of Premium Salads can be ordered without meat. We also have other offerings including Apple Slices, Oatmeal and Fruit and Yogurt Parfaits as well as a variety of portion sizes... McDonald's and our franchisee look forward to working with the Loma Linda City Council and residents to hopefully address any questions or concerns. We believe the new restaurant will support the Loma Linda community with a contemporary dining experience and help fuel economic growth."
Loma Linda's Mayor Rhodes Rigsby says he believes in the fairness of options. And to be fair, it's worth nothing there are other fast food joints in Loma Linda, like KFC and Carl's Jr.
Should the health of the locals be legislated? A similar dilemma has been stirred up in recent years in Los Angeles, when not too long ago the addition of any new fast food restaurants in South L.A. was banned in order to protect the residents from having even more ways to damage their already compromised health.