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SF Fast Food Toy Ban Too Hot for Pre-Election Vote

San Francisco’s efforts to restrict the use of toys to promote fast food for children has been pushed back a couple of weeks.  Why? Depends upon whom you talk to.

The city’s 11-member board of supervisors moved Tuesday to postpone a vote on the controversial measure until Nov. 2.   

There were concerns about the timeline for implementing the ordinance if it passed, said Lin-Shao Chin, legislative assistant to the ordinance’s primary sponsor, Supervisor Eric Mar.

Chin said Mar’s office has been in discussion with various groups, including the California Restaurant Association, McDonald’s, and Yum! Brands, owner of KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut. 

Implementation is a concern for the restaurants, agreed Daniel Conway, spokesman for the California Restaurant Association, which strongly opposes the measure. 

Speaking from Sacramento, Conway said Mar had come to appreciate, through discussions between the two sides, that complying with such a requirement wasn’t something the industry could do overnight.

But Tuesday’s motion to continue the proposed ordinance was political, as well, Conway said.

Come Nov. 2, San Franciscans will not only be voting for a new governor but will also be choosing new supervisors.  The city’s popular mayor, Gavin Newsom, will term out of office. 

Mar may be looking to postpone action on the ordinance until after two potentially negative votes and a promised veto by the mayor are no longer threats, said Conway. 

“I think [Mar] did some political calculating,” Conway said, “and is waiting.”

Santa Clara County, about 40 miles south of San Francisco, enacted a similar measure earlier this year.  Whereas Santa Clara’s restrictions apply only to restaurants in unincorporated parts of the county, San Francisco’s legislation would affect all restaurants serving the city of nearly 800,000 people.

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