Wanna keep Albany “dead”? Kill the cupcakes.

24/7 Wall St. recently placed Albany, NY seventh on a list of the top ten “dead” cities in the US.  The ranking is based primarily upon the historical decrease in population and industry.  Given the current political climate in Albany, especially within the Albany County Legislature, I believe the trend will continue.

Why, you ask?  “Cupcakes” is my answer.  More specifically, it’s the use of trans fats by Albany County bakeries for cupcakes, cakes, etc.  Thanks to the Albany County Legislature, it’s now illegal.  But wait, the law only impacts bakeries in the county.  You can still get your trans fat laden treats at one of those chain grocery stores.  They fall outside the jurisdiction of the county.  Of course, this is one of those laws intended to prevent obesity.  Never mind that other things fat or non-fat can make you fat. (Say that three times fast.)

But that’s no big deal, right?  Actually, it can be a challenging adjustment for bakeries.  Without the use of some trans fats, the quality of their products can decline.  The ban, in my opinion, is overly intrusive. Especially for something that I doubt will have any significant impact on obesity.  It’s a trend that is hurtful to business in Albany County, and it could continue the “deadening” of Albany.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am not a resident of Albany County. However, all too often we see the same discussions move from one county legislature to another.  It also begs a question.  Why in the world do we have county government?  Is it necessary, or does the county provide just another layer of bureaucratic nonsense?  But back to the topic at hand…

One bakery owner in Albany County has been especially vocal in opposing the ban.  Rachel Dott owns Coccadotts.  Facing fines and hearings, she has refused to cave to the demands of the politicians.  Instead, she chose to maintain the quaulity of her product.  I applaud her for her actions.  I can only imagine how difficult it is.

Unfortunately, based on a report from News Channel 13 – WNYT, it looks like Rachel Dott has reached her limit.  She’s gotten to the point where she has to transition away from the use of trans fats.

According to the story:

Bakers may not agree with the law, but most are abiding by it, or in some cases, starting to.

For Coccadotts, the “icing on the cake” was exhaustion.

It became impossible to run a business and battle Albany County Government.

Later in the story:

Rachel Dott, the owner of Coccadotts, said “It’s just been exhausting and I’m learning when you are up against politics it makes it rough.”

To Rachel Dott:

Thank you for fighting against this injustice and intrusion by local government.  I visited Coccadotts today, and I was impressed!  Your employees were all very pleasant and helpful.  Your cupcakes were fantastic!  Just ask my kids and my wife.

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It is sad to have these changes forced upon you, for no good reason.  I hope your business continues to thrive.

Please let me know if I can support you in any way.  I guarantee that I’ll continue to stop by for the occasional cupcake!

To the Albany County Legislature:

Congratulations on leading the charge against small businesses in the Capital District.  Pat yourselves on the back.  I’m sure your legislation to protect Ordinary Citizens from obesity will keep Albany County residents from getting fat.  No, wait a minute… they can still get their cupcakes, complete with trans fats, from grocery stores or across the county line.

With legislation like yours, you will continue to make life more difficult for small business owners in the county.  Keep it up, and I’m sure Albany can catch up to the city leading the “dead” list… good ol’ Buffalo, NY.

But oh well, you’ve won!  With law, fines and hearings, you’ve officially forced a local businesswoman into submission.  Albany County is safe!  You should celebrate.  Just don’t expect the celebratory cupcakes to be quite as tasty now!

Shameful, just shameful.

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2 Comments

  1. Kayla

     /  August 28, 2010

    This is a great post, Wade. Thanks for doing it. I completely agree. While I think the idea of an anti-trans fat law is decent, the fact that it singles out certain business is crazy.

    On a positive side of things, I’ve seen the Coccadott’s “Cuppycake” truck out and about, and they seem to be doing great business. I’ve actually inquired about them doing something for our wedding reception. I hope they continue to do well. While it’s awful that the economy is the way that it is, it’s nice to see local businesses stepping up and reconnecting with their communities.

    Reply
    • Kayla… I have yet to see the Cuppycake truck in person. It looks pretty cool, and I think that it’s a great idea. Got my fingers crossed for you on the wedding reception idea. I’ve looked at Coccadott’s facebook page and noticed that the truck is often out and about.

      I think that you make an important point with your comment on the anti trans fat law. It think that too often legislatures pass laws that are designed to protect the public, but they have unintended consequences… in this case targeting specific small businesses that are valuable to the county. I also think a danger with the trans fat laws are that people might think that they can then eat all the non trans fats they want without risk. And then obesity trend continues. A far better approach, I believe, is for an educated public to seek out businesses that serve products that they want. Then businesses adapt or are created without government interference.

      Thanks for the excellent comment Kayla!

      Reply

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