Tag Archives: soda ban

Court upholds ruling striking down NYC’s large sugary drink ban


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

New Yorkers are still free to drink any size soda they want.

On Tuesday an appeals court unanimously upheld a ruling striking down the city’s ban on large, sugary drinks.

In March, a judge ruled the city’s sugary drink ban invalid less than 24 hours before it was set to take effect.

The law would have forbidden businesses around the city from serving sugary drinks with more than 25 calories per eight ounces in sizes larger than 16 ounces. Those businesses would have had three months to comply before facing fines.

“We are pleased that the lower court’s decision was upheld. With this ruling behind us, we look forward to collaborating with city leaders on solutions that will have a meaningful and lasting impact on the people of

New York City,” said Chris Gindlesperger, spokesperson for the American Beverage Association, one of the co-plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the ban.

The March ruling had drawn an immediate vow from Mayor Michael Bloomberg to appeal it. He, weight loss groups and other supporters had pushed the controversial ban as a way to fight the city’s raising obesity rate.

The mayor called Tuesday’s decision by the First Department of the state Supreme Court’s Appellate Division a “temporary setback” and said he plans another appeal.

“Since New York City’s ground-breaking limit on the portion size of sugary beverages was prevented from going into effect on March 12, more than 2,000 New Yorkers have died from the effects of diabetes,” he said.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Health organizations throw legal support behind soda ban appeal


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYC Mayor's Office's Flickr/Photo by Spencer T Tucker

BY ANTHONY O’REILLY

The tension between Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the courts over the proposed soda ban are continuing to fizz.

The Mayor’s Office announced that the National Alliance for Hispanic Health and National Association of Local Boards of Health have filed an amicus brief in support of the ban, citing links between the consumption of soft drinks and obesity.

An amicus (literally, friend of the court) is when an outside party files to give their legal opinion on any legal matter.

The first amicus, led by the National Alliance for Hispanic Health argues the scientific link between soft drink consumption and chronic diseases such as obesity, specifically focusing on how it affects underprivileged communities.

The second amicus argues the legality of the soda ban and will be led by the National Association of Local Boards of Health.

“The compelling amicus briefs being submitted [Thursday] further confirm the significant support this important health initiative has among the medical community as well as the community at large,” said Corporation Counsel Michael A. Cardozo of the New York City Law Department. “We believe that the appellate court will find that the Board of Health’s authority to adopt initiatives such as the portion cap rule for the protection of the health of New Yorkers is supported by decades of case law and explicit text in the New York City Charter.”

The two now join Comunilife, Montefiore Medical Center, Harlem Health Promotion Center, National Congress of Black Women, Inc., New York Chapter, ChangeLab Solutions, Rudd Center, Public Health Association of New York City and Public Health Law Center as outside parties supporting the ban.

“The organizations and individuals who have joined these amicus briefs understand the toll that obesity is taking on communities here in New York City and across the nation,” said Bloomberg. “Our plan to limit the portion size of sugary drinks is a sensible step that has won increasing levels of support from the public health community, and these two amicus briefs will help us make our case to the court.”

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Thursday: Partly cloudy. High of 41. Breezy. Winds from the WNW at 15 to 25 mph. Thursday night: Partly cloudy. Low of 27 with a windchill as low as 16. Breezy. Winds from the NW at 10 to 20 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Totem by Cirque du Soleil

Totem by Cirque du Soleil traces the journey of the human species from its original amphibian state to its ultimate desire to fly. The characters evolve on a stage with an international cast of 52 from 19 different countries. At Citi Field from March 14 to April 7. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Man arrested in Queens stun gun sex assault case

A Greek man has been arrested on charges he used a stun gun to subdue his ex-girlfriend and sexually assault her in her Queens apartment. Read more: NBC New York

Fake community board website stirs up touchy issues in western Queens

A website masquerading as a Queens community board’s online page is dredging up touchy topics among Astoria residents. Read more: New York Daily News

Parks Department finds new operator for Patrizia’s of Bayside

Patrizia’s of Bayside, the former site of Caffe on the Green and Valentino’s on the Green, has found a new operator, according to Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski. Read more: The Queens Courier

New York City’s appeal of soda ban ruling to be heard in June

The legal battle over New York City’s ban of large sugary drinks is set to continue in early June, after a New York appellate court agreed on Wednesday to hear the city’s appeal of a ruling that struck down the new law. Read more: Reuters

Argentinians in New York proud of new pope

Latin America is bursting with pride over the announcement that one of their own is now pope, and so are Argentinians in New York City. Read more: ABC New York

Pope Francis’ humility: stops by hotel to get bags

Pope Francis put his humility on display during his first day as pontiff Thursday, stopping by his hotel to pick up his luggage and praying like a pilgrim before a beloved shrine in a decidedly different style for the papacy usually ensconced inside the frescoed halls of the Vatican. Read more: AP

 

 

Bloomberg confident soda ban ruling will be overturned


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

luckys

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].”

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

Judge puts stop to sugary drink ban


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

Less than 24 hours before it was set to take effect, a judge has ruled the city’s sugary drink ban invalid, according to reports.

On Monday, Supreme Court Justice Milton Tingling put a stop to the law that, starting tomorrow, would have prohibited businesses around the city from serving sugary drinks with more than 25 calories per eight ounces in sizes larger than 16 ounces.

“The court ruling provides a sigh of relief to New Yorkers and thousands of small businesses in New York City that would have been harmed by this arbitrary and unpopular ban. With this ruling behind us, we look forward to collaborating with city leaders on solutions that will have a meaningful and lasting impact on the people of New York City,” said Chris Gindlesperger, spokesperson for the American Beverage Association and co-plaintiffs Teamsters Local 812, Korean-American Grocers Association of New York, National Association of Theatre Owners of New York State, National Restaurant Association and New York Statewide Coalition of Hispanic Chambers of Commerce.

The ruling, however, doesn’t mean that the city is giving up on its public health  initiative.

“We plan to appeal the sugary drinks decision as soon as possible, and we are confident the measure will ultimately be upheld,” the NYC Mayor’s Office said on Twitter.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, weight loss groups and other supporters pushed the controversial ban as a way to fight the city’s raising obesity rate. But establishments that were subject to the ban, such as restaurants, movie theatres, coffee places and delis, believed it would have hurt them financially.

Those businesses would have had three months to comply before facing fines.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

 

Most New Yorkers back Bloomberg Styrofoam ban, says poll


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Mayor's Office's Flickr

BY ANTHONY O’REILLY

A majority of New Yorkers back Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposed ban on Styrofoam soda cups, a new poll found.

Conducted by Quinnipiac University, the new poll found that 69 percent of New Yorkers support the ban, with only 26 percent, most being Republican, against it.

“Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposed ban on plastic foam take-out containers looks like his most popular public health initiative so far,” Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said. “Even Staten Islanders, who have not been too receptive to other so-called ‘Nanny Government’ initiatives, approve of this one because they still live with the remains of the Fresh Kills Landfill.”

New Yorkers are still not totally behind the proposed ban on large servings of sodas and other sugary drinks, with 51 percent of New Yorkers against the ban. Black voters especially are against the ban, with 60 percent against it.

Bloomberg’s total approval rating stand at 53 percent of voters, down from 56 percent from a poll conducted Jan. 17.

“Mayor Bloomberg maintains his pretty-good-for-a-third-term job approval,” Carroll said. “No more of those 70 percent numbers that were routine in his second term. But, as his tenure winds down, we still like him.”

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Tuesday: Overcast. High of 43. Winds from the East at 5 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 50%. Tuesday night: Overcast with rain. Low of 39. Windy. Winds from the East at 20 to 30 mph with gusts to 40 mph. Chance of rain 100% with rainfall amounts near 0.8 in. possible.

EVENT OF THE DAY: African-American and Jewish Poetry: From Images of Despair to Images of Hope

Starting at 5:30 p.m. learn about African-American and Jewish poetry at the Langston Hughes Library. Actress and author Sherry Reiter and spoken-word artist and performer Barbara Bethea will recite and discuss poetry from the two different cultures.  Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Queens Hindu senior center founder charged in fraud scheme

The founder of the United Hindu Cultural Council Senior Center was arrested Monday and charged with stealing more than $50,000, allegedly by filing false invoices for lunches that were never served. Read more: CBS New York

Wife testifies in NYPD officer’s cannibalism plot

A New York City police officer’s bizarre Internet discussion of cannibalism – what he claims was harmless fantasy – was instead a serious plot to abduct, torture and eat “very real women,” a federal prosecutor said Monday at the officer’s kidnapping conspiracy trial. Read more: ABC New York

Bloomberg: Ban on large sodas should go statewide

The city’s big-soda ban should spill over the entire state, Mayor Bloomberg said Monday. Read more: New York Daily News

NY marks 20th anniversary of World Trade bombing

Tuesday marks the 20th anniversary of the first terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. Read more: AP

Trayvon Martin family in NYC on anniversary

Trayvon Martin’s family is marking the 1-year anniversary of his shooting death with a candlelight vigil in New York City. Read more: Fox New York

Group releases list of tri-state’s most dangerous roads for walking

A transportation group has released its list of the Tri-State area’s most dangerous roads for walking. Read more: CBS New York

Op-Ed: Beverage ban is ‘Big Brother’ at its worst


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

DSC_1348w

BY STEPHEN B. KAUFMAN

Back in September, the NYC Board of Health rubber-stamped Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s controversial ban on the sale of sodas larger than 16 ounces. Now some organizations are fighting the ban in court. As president of the Throggs Neck Merchants Association, I’m glad they are.

Under the ban, restaurants, and some delis, food vendors, movie theaters, and any other local business that sells sodas will be prohibited from offering cups larger than 16 ounces. Since a consumer may simply purchase two smaller sizes, this new regulation defies common sense.  What’s next – a ban on the amount of ice cream or chocolate a person can consume?

This restriction is unlike any other the U.S. has ever seen. And there’s a reason for that: It’s a restriction that goes too far.

Does this city, like the rest of America, have an obesity problem? Of course it does. But why are we pointing fingers at one particular product? Why are we assuming that every individual who opts to purchase a large size of that product has a weight problem? And why are we instituting a ban that will likely have a detrimental effect on New York’s merchant community at a time when our economy is just creeping back from the brink? Not to mention the fact that the regulation is applied unfairly and unequally to local delis and bodegas and not to state regulated stores such as 7-Eleven.

If we stand back and let this beverage ban take effect this spring, it’s only a matter of time before the city again starts pointing a finger at other high calorie foods and the small business owners who offer them. Business owners offer size options to patrons for the simple reason that their patrons want size options.

It’s time we all took a little responsibility for these wants and choices instead of passing insulting, business-killing regulations that do little to address the root of the problem.

The Throggs Neck Merchants have been dealing with numerous cumbersome and over-reaching New York City regulations that have a direct impact on the survival of local businesses and the communities they service.  The city is besieging small business owners with exorbitant tickets, fines, penalties, overzealous traffic enforcement agents, health inspectors and sanitation employees to the tune of astronomical sums.  At this distressing and difficult time, City Hall’s focus must be on increasing financial opportunities for local businesses, not on nickel and diming our entrepreneurs to death.  The Throggs Neck Merchants Association is dedicated to reminding our civic leaders of just that!

Stephen B. Kaufman is President of the Throggs Neck Merchants Association, dedicated to providing support and assistance to local merchants. Kaufman is an attorney, a former NYC Councilmember, and a former NYS Assemblymember.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Thursday: Partly cloudy in the morning, then clear. High of 37 with a windchill as low as 9. Breezy. Winds from the WNW at 20 to 25 mph with gusts to 30 mph. Thursday night: Clear. Low of 27 with a windchill as low as 18. Breezy. Winds from the NNW at 10 to 20 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Skimming the Surface

Dance Entropy presents a special performance featuring repertory favorites alongside premiere works in celebration of the modern dance company’s 15th anniversary season. The action centers around a table and 24 knives. Feb. 21-23, 8 p.m.; Feb. 24 at 5 p.m. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Burglar swipes electronics from Long Island City church

An unholy burglar broke into a Long Island City church Monday, stealing some of its electronics. Read more: Queens Courier

Man killed by Queens cop car responding to emergency  

A man is dead after a patrol car struck him at a Long Island City intersection Thursday, according to police. Read more: Queens Courier

Final budget dance for Queens Borough President Helen Marshall and City Hall

Queens Borough President Helen Marshall is taking her final spin in the annual budget dance with City Hall. Read more: New York Daily News

Bloomberg administration urges judge not to delay ban on large sugary beverages set to take effect March 12

The Bloomberg administration Wednesday urged a judge not to delay the start of the planned March 12 launch of the mayor’s ban on large sugary drinks, saying the lives of New Yorkers were at stake. Read more: New York Daily News

School bus drivers back on the job, but not some matrons

New York City school bus drivers who serve more than 150,000 children have returned to work after a month-long strike. Read more: ABC New York

Obama weighs stepping in on gay marriage case

Facing heightened expectations from gay rights supporters, the Obama administration is considering urging the Supreme Court to overturn California’s ban on gay marriage – a move that could have a far-reaching impact on same-sex couples across the country. Read more: AP

 

Large soda ban approved by Board of Health


| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Terence Cullen

Thousand of signed petitions and public outcry could not stop the Board of Health from approving Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plan to ban large sugary beverages in the city.

Under the ban — which applies to restaurants, food carts, delis and concessions at movie theaters, stadiums and arenas — establishments will be unable to sell sugary drinks over 16 ounces. Diet sodas, drinks with more than 50 percent milk or 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice avoid the restriction.

“The fix was in from the beginning, and the mayor’s handpicked board followed their orders by passing this discriminatory ban; but it has not passed with the support of New Yorkers,” said Liz Berman, chair of New Yorkers for Beverage Choices, a group financed by the soda industry. “It’s sad that the board wants to limit our choices. We are smart enough to make our own decisions about what to eat and drink.”

The board — which voted 8-0 on the measure with one abstention — consists of 11 members appointed by Bloomberg.

New Yorkers for Beverage Choices said they will explore all avenues to overturn this ruling, including taking it to court.

Bloomberg introduced the embargo in May, citing increasing obesity in the city — the second leading cause of death.

“This is the biggest step a city has taken to curb obesity,” said Bloomberg. “Simply by proposing limits on sugary drinks, New York City pushed the issue of obesity — and the impact of sugary beverages — onto the national stage.”

Polls released by the New York Times and Quinnipiac in August found a majority of New Yorkers were sour on the sugary beverage ban.

“I think it’s stupid,” said Kimberly Cicciariello, 23, of Flushing. “People need to control their own portion sizes. It’s as stupid a person blaming McDonald’s for making them fat.”

In a release, New Yorkers for Beverage Choices said the sweetened beverage prohibition shows “no regard for public opinion.” The organization collected more than 285,000 signatures in opposition to the ban.

Bloomberg pointed to the many who were also against the trans fat and smoking ban in restaurants at the time they were introduced.

Not all New Yorkers — including many anti-obesity organizations and residents — are opposed to the ban.

“I support it. I think obesity’s a real problem, particularly among low-income folks. I think they drink so much of it because it’s so cheap and available. Then the city has to pay for their health care anyway,” said Kevin Dugan, 40, of Bayside.

Soda drinkers can still circumvent the ban by ordering multiple drinks.

Restaurants will have six months to implement the ban after which they face $200 fines.

— Additional reporting by Mitchell Kirk

Weight loss groups back Bloomberg soda ban


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo by Spencer T. Tucker

At Flushing Meadows Park Tuesday Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Weight Watchers President Dave Burwick announced the group’s support for his soda ban, which will make it illegal to sell sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces at city restaurants, mobile food carts, delis, movie theaters, stadiums and arenas.

“There has been a lot of discussion about obesity, but little action, which is why we at Weight Watchers support what this administration is doing to help New Yorkers live healthier,” said  Burwick.

Bloomberg also said that other weight loss experts are officially behind his ban, including the creators of the Best Life Diet, South Beach Diet, Dukan Diet and Picture Perfect Weight Loss as well as the CEO of Jenny Craig.

At the announcement Bloomberg and Burwick were  joined by Queens resident Rachelle Conley, a Weight Watchers member who lost 91 pounds, and cites cutting sugary drinks as a reason why she was able to drop so much weight.

“Before losing weight, I would drink 48 ounces of fruit flavored juice drink each day and coffee with 25 – yes, 25 – packets of sugar every morning,” said Conley. “Now, I’ve completely cut out sugary beverages, drink mostly water, eat healthy portions and exercise near Flushing Meadows Park. For the first time in my life I’m at a healthy weight range – and I plan on staying here.”

The ban, which will be voted on by the Board of Health on September 13, is one of several city initiatives to help fight the raising obesity rates of New Yorkers.

According to the mayor’s office, almost 60 percent of New York City adults and 40 percent of children are overweight or obese and one in eight adults has diabetes. Queens has an obesity rate of 57.2 percent.

But not everyone supports the soda ban. A New Yorkers for Beverage Choices petition against it has signatures from 183,463 individuals and 2,002 organizations as of the end of August. Also, businesses, such as movie theaters, are afraid it will hurt their bottom line.

What do you think of the soda ban? Take out poll: http://on.fb.me/OXmBaI.

 

Theaters say Bloomy’s soda ban will hurt bottom line


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Terence Cullen

Many businesses — and soda drinkers alike — are hoping that Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposed soda ban will fizzle out.

Russell Levinson, the general manager of MovieWorld in Douglaston Plaza, said the rules under the ban were unfair and would severely hurt his theatre’s business.

“It’s hitting us disproportionately — movie theatres and fast food chains will be the most affected,” he said.

The theatre, along with other businesses, has signed a citywide petition against the suggested ban. At press time, 183,463 individuals and 2,002 organizations have signed it.

Levinson then posted the petition on the theater’s website. Another way to catch the interest of moviegoers was the theatre’s marque. For several weeks, the line “say no to the soda ban” sat on the bottom marque — under the list of this summer’s top blockbusters.

Levinson said the efforts might not amount to much, but was hopeful that there might be some final decision or compromise that would washout the ban.

“I don’t have a lot of confidence that we’re going to be successful, but maybe there will be some last minute miracle,” he said.

Bloomberg said at a Tuesday, August 28 press conference that his administration was not changing any rules in the soda ban.

“If you ask the question, ‘Should we ban full-sugar drinks?’ you get the answer, ‘No,’” Bloomberg told The Wall Street Journal. “Unfortunately for your story line, that’s not what we’re doing. All we’re doing is saying that restaurants and movie theaters can’t use greater than 16-ounce cups. But if you want to buy five of them and drink it, you can go ahead and do it. So, nobody’s hurting anything.”

The smallest size soda at MovieWorld, which is independently owned, is the “kids” size that is 12 ounces, Levinson said. The theatre’s size small is 22 ounces, Levinson said, and would be way over the limit set under the ban.

“Your smallest kids size would just make it,” he said. “Everything will have to be changed and [soda companies] will have to come up with new alternatives as well.”

MovieWorld, like many other theaters, does not profit from ticket sales; rather, concession sales — popcorn, candy, nachos and soda — account for the theatre’s main revenue.

“You only make profit in concession,” he said. “Your popcorn and your soda are your two biggest sales and your two biggest profit margins. We will have to be very creative if this goes through.”

While fighting obesity is a good idea to Levinson, the theatre manager said banning soda from movies and restaurants was not the best way to go about it.

“I just think it’s the wrong way to go about fighting obesity,” he said. “I don’t think it attacks the problem where it should be. Soda is maybe 10 percent of somebody’s diet at most.”

NY voters split on stop-and-frisk, against soda ban


| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

New Yorkers dislike of the mayor’s proposed soda ban has grown, while city voters support of stop-and-frisk is split along racial lines, according to a new poll.

Half of New York City voters questioned in a recent Quinnipiac poll said they disapproved of the controversial police practice, though a large disparity persisted between black and white voters.

More than two thirds of black voters (69 percent) opposed stop-and-frisks, while 57 percent of white voters supported it. Fifty-three percent of Hispanic voters also approved the practice.

Though there was a difference in support of stop-and-frisk, all races approved of the job Police Commissioner Ray Kelly is doing.

The poll was conducted between August 8 and 12 with 1,298 New York City voters surveyed on land lines and cell phones. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 2.7 percentage points.

Voters are against Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plan to ban sugary beverages over 16 ounces with 54 percent opposing it and 42 percent in support. The opposition has grown since a June poll found 51 percent against the plan and 46 percent for it.

“New Yorkers are smart enough to make their own choices about what to eat and drink without government help,” said New Yorkers for Beverage Choices spokesperson, Eliot Hoff.

Bloomberg’s push to make baby formula less available to new mothers was opposed by 56 percent of voters with just 24 percent in favor of it.

“Voters disagree with Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s push to increase breast-feeding and to limit the size of sugary drinks, but they like the idea of cracking down on alcohol abuse,” Carroll said. “Overall, New Yorkers give Hizzoner good grades on public-health as they reject the criticism that it’s ‘nanny government.’”

There is also strong support from New Yorkers (73-20 percent) to provide employees sick days, a plan Council Speaker Christine Quinn said she is not ready to bring to a vote.

 

Advocacy group angry with timing of soda ban public hearing


| brennison@queenscourier.com

As city residents descend on Long Island City to attend the public hearing on the proposed ban of sugary drinks, New Yorkers for Beverage Choices questioned the timing of the meeting.

The hearing at the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s headquarters began at 1 p.m., a time New Yorkers for Beverage Choices believes prevents many from attending.

“By scheduling this hearing in the middle of a business day during many restaurants’ and delis’ busy lunch periods, the Department of Health is sending a clear message that they are not interested in hearing what real New Yorkers have to say about this proposal,” the group said in a statement.

The organization said they have collected signatures from more than 91,000 residents and 1,500 businesses in the city opposing the ban.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced his plan to ban sugary drinks above 16 ounces in May.

Today is the lone public hearing. The city’s Board of Health will vote on the measure in September.

 

Bloomberg ban is brave


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Over the years, it seems, serving sizes have been increasing proportionally to waistlines.

With obesity — and all its related ailments — on the rise, we say bravo Bloomberg for being brave enough to do something about it.

Although his new plan — to ban sugary drinks over 16 ounces — is being met with some resistance (and some very funny ads), we feel that something had to be done — and back him wholeheartedly.

Soda and sugary drinks are empty calories. With no nutritional value, all they do is tick up your daily count. Yes, they may give you a “quick fix” energy boost, but you will crash sooner rather than later.

The mayor is not being unrealistic.

He realizes that he cannot stop people from consuming large quantities of these beverages — all you would have to do is order two.

So good job, Mayor Mike, for trying to put the health of New Yorkers first. After all, someone’s gotta do it.