City Council Members, Business Groups Rally Against Soda Ban
July 23rd, 2012
City Council members and a beverage-industry backed group rallied on the steps of City Hall today to protest the Bloomberg administration’s proposed soda ban.
Members of New Yorkers for Beverage Choices were joined by city council members and representatives from a local soft drink and beer workers’ union to speak out against the proposal to restrict the size of sweetened drinks sold at certain stores to 16 ounces.
The speakers explained that the regulation would cause economic problems, as well as violate New Yorkers’ right to choose
“This is going to set up an unfair competitive advantage,” said Letitia James, city councilwoman for District 36.
The ban will affect only restaurants and other venues, such as movie theaters and ballparks, that require a health inspection report. Grocery stores and vendors like 7-Eleven, home of the Big Gulp, will not be restricted – which Councilman Daniel Halloran argued is inequitable and thus illegal.
“That’s the standard. Either it applies to everyone or it doesn’t,” he said.
Halloran and other soda ban opponents said they were frustrated with the public’s relative inability to affect the decision on the proposal, which was recently backed by the city’s largest healthcare union.
A Board of Health hearing in Long Island City tomorrow may be the only opportunity to comment, and Halloran described the Board as a “strong mayoralty agency.”
“The agency’s already made up its mind. Having the hearing is pointless,” Halloran explained. “The mayor chose to go this route because he knew he would never get this bill passed through the City Council.”
Members of the City Council have already begun taking up the issue with the legislature in Albany, and Halloran anticipates a lawsuit against the ban almost as soon as it is passed.
“The City Council’s function is to set the laws of the city of New York,” he said. “We’re not going to let one man become king in the city of New York.”By Nina Goldman on July 23, 2012, 1:59 pm
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