There’s good news and bad news regarding Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s proposed “Big-Gulp” ban. First the good news: a new poll shows that even fewer New Yorkers support Hizzonor’s idiotic plan now than they did when it initially was proposed.
The bad news: it’s no skin off Bloomberg’s ass — he’s not running for re-election and can now essentially do whatever he wants without having to worry about public opinion.
According to the recently released New York Times poll, six out of 10 New Yorkers disapprove Bloomberg’s proposed ban, while only 36 percent think it’s a “good idea.” That’s compared to a NY1 poll conducted earlier this month that found 42 percent of New Yorkers supported the ban — and we can compare that to a June poll that showed the mayor was only losing his war on soda by a 51-46 percent margin.
Under Bloomberg’s proposal, restaurants, food vendors, sports venues and movie theaters would be prohibited from selling “sugary drinks” in containers larger than 16 ounces. It’s just one part of the mayor’s over-reaching health initiative, which also includes a ban on donating food to homeless shelters because the city isn’t able to monitor the sodium content of the donated food, a baby formula hide-and-seek program to encourage new mothers to breast-feed their newborns, and his opposition to a breakfast program for hungry kids at the city’s public schools, which he opposes because he thinks the risk of fat kids sneaking extra breakfast outweighs the rewards of feeding hungry kids.
The nanny-state nature of Bloomberg’s insulting proposal aside, it will hurt businesses that sell soda.
As we learned on a walking tour of a Harlem neighborhood with City Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito, banning sodas at restaurants will do nothing to keep people from drinking large amounts of soda. All it will do is force fatsos to buy their soda elsewhere — the ban doesn’t apply to grocery stores or bodegas.
For example, under Bloomberg’s plan, if you were to buy two slices of pizza at a restaurant, but are told you can only have a baby-cup of soda, there is nothing to stop you from walking to the bodega next door and buying a two-liter bottle of Mountain Dew.
Nal Barak, the owner of a Crown Fried Chicken in Harlem — which is located directly next door to a bodega — 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.
Regardless of how stupid the mayor’s plan may be — and how many New Yorkers oppose it — it’s expected to be approved by a City health panel on September 13.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 23, 2012