Bloomberg confident soda ban ruling will be overturned

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On Tuesday, Mayor Bloomberg visited Lucky’s Restaurant on East 34th Street to thank the owners for voluntarily adopting the city's sugary drink ban even though a judge ruled it invalid.

In a Jackson Heights McDonald’s, the large sodas still flow.

And customers were just happy they still had the choice of ordering sugary drinks bigger than 16 ounces.

“I think people are smart enough to decide what’s good for them and what’s just too big,” said 19-year-old Chris Rojas.

Only hours before it was to take effect, a judge halted the city’s sugary drink ban. The same day, Mayor Michael Bloomberg vowed to appeal the ruling.

In a press conference Monday, Bloomberg cited the leading role of sugary drinks in the obesity epidemic and the history of the New York City Board of Health taking “bold action to confront major health problems” as reasons why the ban is important.

“With so many people contracting diabetes and heart disease, with so many children who are overweight and obese, with so many poor neighborhoods suffering the worst of this epidemic, we believe it is reasonable and responsible to draw a line – and that is what the Board of Health has done,” he said.

Bloomberg also said he was certain that they city’s ban would eventually go forward as planned.

“There are many, many instances where a lower court decision has gone against us and then been reversed. If lower court rulings had always stood, Grand Central Terminal would have been knocked down 40 years ago,” he said. “We’re confident that [the court’s] decision will ultimately be reversed, too.”

In October, the American Beverage Association and six other groups with members affected by the ban filed the suit against the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, arguing that the board did not have the authority to pass the ban.

In his ruling, State Supreme Justice Milton Tingling found that the Board “may supervise and regulate the food supply of the city when it affects public health, but the Charter’s history clearly illustrates when such steps may be taken, i.e. when the city is facing eminent danger due to disease, “ and that hasn’t been demonstrated.

In the suit, the plaintiffs argued that the ban unfairly targets certain drinks and certain food establishments, while ignoring others.

Large-sized non-diet sodas would have been prohibited, but sugary alcoholic drinks are not.
Pizza places would not have been allowed to deliver a two-liter soda to a family of four, but the 7-Eleven chain could sell a Big Gulp to one person.

“If you want to educate people and say listen, the sugar is no good for you, fine. But to ban the two-liter bottle is absolutely ridiculous, said James Coady, co-owner of Cascarino’s, a pizzeria with multiple locations. “Nobody is sitting there and drinking a two-liter bottle and guzzling [it].”