Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Salem, MA Make Santa Toss His Cookies

Don't plan on picking up your Christmas cookies at the annual church bake sale in Salem, MA this year. Why not?

The Salem government has banned them. That's right: Banned all bake sales. Too dangerous.

The local board of health has voted to ban all bakes sales by churches, schools and senior centers unless they purchase city-issued food permit. And all the food must be prepared in a city-licensed kitchen.

A town in Massachusetts--the land of government-authorized gay marriage, sanctuary cities and voting rights for non-citizens--has criminalized your grandmother's oatmeal cookies.

The ban began with one overzealous and arrogantly self-important town bureaucrat, Salem Health Agent Joanne Scott. She told the local paper that "it’s her job to interpret the food code for the city and she exempts only places serving baked goods within their own closed community, not to the general public."

In fact, Agent "007" Scott is such a zealot that, when she heard about a bake sale at a local senior center, she ordered them to either comply with the proper government authorization--or shut down. Because the Salem Senior Center doesn't even HAVE a kitchen (supporters donated cakes and cookies baked at home) the bake sale was cancelled. Many schools and churches cancelled traditional holiday bake sales, too.

So why don't the people who actually run Salem stop this extremist looney? The state has already noted that her interpretation of the law is unnecessarily strict--Salem is the only Massachusetts town to ban bake sales. Why don't they tell her to get a life and leave the cookies alone?

Because the big-government goons who run Salem, MA agree with her.

Superintendent Bill Cameron received the notice three weeks before Election Day bake sales were scheduled to occur in schools used as polling centers. Though Cameron admitted the code might “cause some problems,” he encourages people to give consideration to the motivations behind it. “Joanne is acting in the best interest of the health of the public,” he said...

City Councilor Matt Veno, whose two daughters attend the Saltonstall School, said that in general he trusts Scott’s judgment on health matters.

“I’m sure she’s got reason to be concerned,” he said, “but I think you’ve got to balance public health perspective with common sense … I would be reluctant to snuff out bake sales at churches, schools, senior centers. It goes a little too far.”

But here's the comment that summarizes why Massachusetts has become the no-funny, Nanny-State compound it is today:

“They didn’t understand why it was done,” said Lynn Barrett, programming director at the Senior Center. “Many of them had children during the ‘60s and ‘70s, so they used to bake for their schools. Bake sales are a part of the ‘wonder years,’ a part of America.”
“It’s sad,” Barrett says of the bake sales being cancelled. “But I’m not one to question. Times are a-changing, we have to become more vigilant these days.”

Some goose-stepping government stooge declares all bake sales verboten, and the reaction from the put-upon citizens is "I'm not one to question." Please, Ms. Barrett--QUESTION. Instead of considering her motivation ("if you're trying to do something good, it doesn't matter if you're stupid!"), or assuming that she must be right ("after all, she's with the government!"), how about asking the common-sense question: "What the hell's wrong with a bake sale?"
Were people dropping dead from faulty fudge? Were kids overdosing on rice crispy treats? For a century, people have been happily holding bake sales and raising money for community causes, and one government goon brings it to a stop--and nobody asks why?
Massachusetts citizens who elect a government that treats them this way--and then re-elects them--are getting exactly the government they deserve.