Will Soda Ban Go Flat?
Members of New Yorkers for Beverage Choices joined business leaders, councilmembers and concerned New Yorkers at the Board of Health’s public hearing in Long Island City to voice their opposition to the proposed beverage ban.
The coalition hand-delivered more than 6,100 hardcopy comments from New Yorkers who oppose the ban, and officially registered with the Board the more than 91,700 New Yorkers and more than 1,500 businesses who have signed the petition opposing the ban.
In attendance fighting against Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposed ban of 16-ounce sodas was Councilmember Daniel Halloran, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and area business owners who will be affected financially by the ban.
“Movie theaters, pizza places, restaurants, coffee shops and even ice cream parlors will all be hammered by this law forcing their family operators to make new cuts to save their bottom line. Yet right next door, the local 7 Eleven can still sell its 128-ounce Super Big Gulp. Which leads me to my second point. Franchisees will avoid the overregulated New York City market, and everything from Burger King to Dunkin Donuts, Nathan’s Hot Dogs to
Next, the legislative and legal footing of this rule is highly suspect. The arbitrary enforcement of this rule will create legal issues which will cost the city in having to defend an indefensible rule. As a former trial attorney, it’s my opinion that the lack of a uniform enforcement standard amongst similarly situated businesses makes this law null. Courts will strike it down. If the mayor sincerely sought this measure for the good of the city, legislation should have been introduced and the legislative process followed. We deserve hearings and testimony from experts, scientific reports, and a real public process. That’s the open government we all signed up for,” Halloran said in his statement before the committee. “My third and final point is the hypocrisy of this measure. If we were serious about health, we would not struggle to restore after-school programs in the city budget each year to keep kids active. Our Department of Education would require a gym teacher in each school, something nearly a quarter of city public schools do not have. Rigorous physical education courses would be required for all students, and we’d require classes in nutrition. We aren’t banning beers in sizes over 16 ounces, despite alcohol’s known health effects. And this very same body recommended further decriminalization of the possession of drugs like marijuana. But Coca-Cola is the great risk to the health of New Yorkers? But will the government be telling me when to go to bed next? Or how big my steak should be? How many potato chips I can eat? After all, it’s all in the name of my health. And clearly the government knows what’s best for me.”
The proposal will be finalized in September and the ban would go into effect in March 2013. It will forbid restaurants, delis, stadiums, movie theaters and other food service businesses to sell large size sugary beverages. However, grocery stores and convenience stores will not be affected.