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The New York Times reports that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the city’s Planning Commission have embraced a plan to offer tax incentives to companies that build full-service grocery stores in poor areas of the city and “devote a certain amount of space to fresh produce, meats, dairy and other perishables.”

The Bloomberg administration has been highly focused on what it sees as quality of life issues, passing legislation that bans the use of trans fats by restaurant chains as well as pushing vendors and bodegas to sell more fresh foods in downtrodden areas where people’s nutritional well-being tends to be ignored in favor of fast food.
KC's View:
Some will say that this is the worst kind of social engineering…though it is ironic that it is a Republican leading this charge. (A lot of people would suggest that Bloomberg isn’t really a Republican.)

But it is hard for me to see how this is a bad thing. Businesses get tax incentives, poor people get more access to fresh food, and hopefully they eat better, live healthier, and put less stress on the health care system. Sounds like the proverbial win-win-win to me.

Interestingly, there is a story in the Los Angeles Times about Central Avenue in South Central Los Angeles, a street that moved from being a prosperous African-American middle class neighborhood where West Coast jazz was born to one that is home to poverty, gangs and crack houses.

“So this morning,” the Times writes, “at the haggard corner of Central and 20th Street, there will be no lack of fanfare when civic leaders open the doors of a project that carries with it more hope and expectation than it might elsewhere: a new supermarket. Superior Grocers is the first full-scale market to open in the community in at least five years.” In addition, a Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market is slated to open at Central and East Adams Boulevard sometime next year.

The benefits are economic…but hopefully, also cultural and nutritional.