As you know, Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s idiotic plan to ban soda served in containers larger than 16 ounces makes precisely zero sense; relegating adults to children incapable of making their own decisions aside, the plan will do nothing but hurt New York businesses — all while doing absolutely nothing to trim Gotham’s waistline.
Sadly, Mayor Mike’s dumb idea could become a dumb reality unless New Yorkers speak out, which they have — New Yorkers for Beverage Choice, a group opposed to Bloomberg’s thinking it’s his job to tell us what we’re allowed to eat, has circulated a petition opposing the mayor’s plan, which now has the signatures of more than 60,000 New Yorkers fed up with Bloomberg playing food cop.
Further reading on Bloomberg’s selective/hypocritical persecution of shitty foods:
So far, the group has collected a total of 62,344 signatures, and hopes to collect even more before the plan faces a public hearing in front of the Department of Health on July 24.
“These numbers are a testament to the fact that New Yorkers feel this proposal is arbitrary, ineffective and overzealous,” Eliot Hoff, spokesperson for NYBC says. “New Yorkers just aren’t going to accept government dictating what they are allowed to drink, and in what quantities. It’s not what New Yorkers want or need. And you have to wonder what’s next – popcorn? Pizza?”
Bloomberg’s stupid plan would prohibit restaurants from serving “sugary beverages” like soda in containers larger than 16 ounces. The plan makes the jump from nanny-state-ish to idiotic when grocery stores, bodegas, and other businesses located just feet from the restaurants where the ban would be implemented are allowed to sell sugary beverages in whatever size containers they want.
In other words, if you get a slice of pizza from a restaurant located next to a grocery store, and want a soda in something that’s slightly larger than a baby’s sippy cup, all you need to do is walk a few feet to get your super-sized beverage.
Last week, we accompanied City Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito on a walking tour of a Harlem neighborhood to see how the ban would potentially impact businesses. One of those businesses is Crown Fried Chicken — which is located directly next to the Mi Parada Grocery Store — where owner Nal Barak tells the Voice that if Bloomberg gets his way, he wouldn’t be able to sell the majority of the drinks in his cooler.
“I don’t like this law,” he says. “If [the mayor] cares about the health [the ban should apply to everyone, not just restaurants].”
Barak says he doesn’t necessarily disagree with banning big sodas, noting that “sugar is no good for nobody.” But he’s angry because the ban will drive business away from his store and over to the bodega that’s right next door. Several other restaurant owners in the neighborhood echoed Barak’s concerns.
“Instead of helping us through this recession, the mayor’s misguided proposal will target the small business owner with additional regulations,” Henry Calderon, president of the East Harlem Chamber of Commerce, says. “Mom and pop shops are struggling to survive, we cannot force them to act as mother and father to their customers, policing what they eat and drink.”
Even City Councilwoman Letitia James seems to think the mayor’s plan is about as stupid as the rest of us do.
“We all want a healthier New York, but this just isn’t the way to go about it,” James says. “My constituents and people across this city understand the need for real solutions that take into account the socio-economic landscape of this city and the complexities of people’s food choices. We need better education and funding for health programs, not gimmicks.”
In addition to the 62,344 individual members, 675 businesses have
also joined the coalition of those opposed to Bloomberg’s stupid idea.