The New York Independent

NY Mayor Bloomberg’s Big Gulp Soda Ban Too Hard to Swallow

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg says his campaign against Big Gulps will continue despite court ruling.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg had his ban on supersized sodas thrown back in his face by a New York judge today (Mar. 11), who said it was too “arbitrary” to enforce. But Bloomberg said he’s only begun to fight and will appeal to a higher court.

“We think the judge is totally in error, and we are very confident that we will win on appeal,” they feisty mayor said after the ruling.

New York Supreme Court Judge Milton Tingling blocked enforcement of the law only hours before it was to go into effect Tuesday (Mar. 12). But his ruling largely hinged on technicalities and questions of governmental jurisdiction.

The city administrative only applied to restaurants, theaters and workplace cafeterias. Supermarkets and convenience stores, where most kids buy large drinks were exempt. Also outside the law were diet sodas, alcohol and fruit juices, although the latter can also contain large amounts of sugar.

“The loopholes in this rule effectively defeat the stated purpose of this rule,” Tingling wrote in his opinion. The judge added that the “arbitrary and capricious consequences,” of the regulations could lead to “uneven enforcement even within a particular city block, much less the city as a whole.”

On another technical ground, the judge ruled that the city health department was exceeding its statutory authority by enacting the ban, violating “the separation of powers doctrine,” He said the rules should be a matter that’s voted on by the elected City Council, not an appointed board.

The measure was opposed by a coalition of business groups that included the state chapter of the The National Association of Theatre Owners and the beverage industry. They cited the costs to businesses; movie theaters make about 20 percent of their revenue off concession sales.

“Obesity is a real problem, but a random ban like the Mayor’s, which was widely ridiculed not only by late-night comedy shows, but by a New York judge, is not a serious way to address a serious issue,” said Jeff Stier, a director at the conservative National Center for Public Policy Research.

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