Score one for Big Soda – and personal freedom
No, this is not about the tech bubble, the threat of which rears its head every now and again. This one is closer to home and it’s about the Soda Ban that was slapped down yesterday by New York State Supreme Court Judge Milton Tingling, leaving the Mayor seething. Judge Tingling called the ban ‘arbitrary’ and ‘capricious,’ claiming Bloomberg and the Board of Health (whose members were appointed by Bloomberg) overstepped their bounds, to enforce rules that should be established by the legislative bodies.
The ban would not apply to large supermarket chains, for example, but would to small mom-and-pops shops, and to bodegas.
Tingling said this public-health debate should be in the hands of lawmakers like the City Council or state legislature. “The rule would not only violate the separation of powers doctrine, it would eviscerate it,” Tingling wrote. “Such an evisceration has the potential to be more troubling than sugar sweetened drinks.”
Therein lies the problem, and it was getting later than you think. Bloomberg already had plans to legislate other foods that would be available to New Yorkers, including popcorn and milkshakes at concession stands. Outlawing plastic grocery bags – which is already creating health problems in California, where such a law is in effect – is in his sights as well.
Mayor Bloomberg needs to understand that the Mayoralty is not a legislative position, but rather an executive one. With New York City already in a budget crisis, that should be the focus of our present mayor, who does intend to appeal the judge’s ruling – on the already cash-strapped City’s dime. Legislating the eating habits of the citizenry is beyond his purview: we do understand that, prior to assuming the position of Mayor, he ran his own company, where his powers were more far sweeping. Still, he needs to remember that when it comes to New York, he was elected Mayor, and not appointed the CEO of the City.
Bonnie Halper lives in New York City and rarely drinks sugary soft drinks, oversized or otherwise, but does respect your right to do so.