Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Public hearing on Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposed soda ban

 City Council members Dan Halloran, Oliver Koppell, Letitia James, Melissa Mark-Viverito and Robert Jackson all showed up at yesterday’s public hearing on Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposed soda ban – and each one criticized the proposal, saying it would hurt small businesses and the local economy. Some blasted the proposal as arbitrary, since some establishments would not be covered by the new limit, which would cap the size of sodas and sugary drinks available at food service establishments at 16 ounces. “Laws and regulations should not be arbitrary and capricious,” Councilman Koppell said. “This proposed regulation is exactly that.” But Health Commissioner Thomas Farley explained that the change could only be implemented for restaurants and other establishments that are regulated by the Health Department. The restrictions were proposed by the Bloomberg administration as a way to address obesity, but critics also said they would fail to address the underlying issues of the city’s obesity epidemic – education, physical activity and poverty – and urged the Board of Health to vote against the proposal. Councilman Jackson recounted that a constituent told him that, “Only God can dictate to me what I can and cannot do. And [Mayor Bloomberg] is not God.”

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