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Soda Jerk: Michael Bloomberg Loses Soft Drink Ban So Far
By: Shawn Paul Wood
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Typically, laws are good. You know, they fight anarchy, prevent looters, and put a halt to serial murderers. Most laws are actually applauded and some are about as inane as McDonald's having a calorie count for any of its "not-so-happy meals." And then there is what was supposed to happen today in New York City...operative word being "supposed." You see, last summer, Mayor Michael Bloomberg had an epiphany and determined that his constituents were so stupid that they needed not to super size their fast-food treks through fatty heaven. His plight? The sale of any carbonated — and sugary, his main angst — beverage larger than 16 fluid ounces would be prohibited under this first-ever plan. 

That was then...and this is now. Yesterday, New York State Supreme Court Judge Milton Tingling (yeah, I would change that surname as well) declared invalid the prohibition of selling sugary drink containers larger than 16 ounces. Judge Tingling determined that the Gotham Mayor "exceeded his authority by sidestepping the City Council and placing the issue before the City's Board of Health." He continued on his Coca-Cola box rant:

The judge ruled the regulations are "fraught with arbitrary and capricious consequences," noting how there would be uneven enforcement within a single city block. The regulations didn't affect the Big Gulp at 7-11 because supermarkets and convenience stores are regulated by the state, not the city. He wrote that regulations exclude other beverages that have significantly higher concentrations of sugar sweeteners and calories on "suspect grounds." The regulations don't limit patrons from getting refills; that provision, the judge said, appears to "gut the purpose of the rule."

Quite naturally, Mayor Bloomberg isn't too happy about the Big Gulp law being hurled down his throat. In fact, he is "confident" the soda ban will be upheld...after he spends a gajillion dollars in legal fees and PSA outreach. Why? One reason is because there was supposed a three-month grace period and then violators would face $200 fines for making themselves a little more girthy than Bloomberg would like. I can applaud the Mayor's temerity against all that sugar, namely when he is quoted with statements like, "There's one public health crisis that has grown worse and worse over the years and that's obesity." 

However, as Mayor, I would think it is your ardent passion to believe the best in your city and motivate the decision-making ability of your constituents. Thanks to Judge Tingling, Mayor Bloomberg's PR just took a hit of caffeine at the worst time. He was preparing his victory speech, running the last lap around the track, and holding up the "Number One" sign with his condemnatory finger hurled heavenward. Then, the clouds grayed and 20 oz. drinkers in the Big Apple all gave a huge "CHEERS" to the Supreme Court. A MEMO to the Mayor's Office: The next time you wish to fight an epidemic, fight one that doesn't involve choice. That's the pain in the butt he faced, namely when he learned that most of the city didn't give a crap about this ban. 

(See what I did there?) 

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About the Author
Shawn Paul Wood is a hack-turned-flack with more than 20 years of collective journalism, copywriting and marketing communications experience. Shawn Paul is founder of Woodworks Communications in Dallas, Texas. If you need him, ping him here or follow him on Twitter @ShawnPaulWood
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