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[Updated] Bloomberg vows to appeal ruling to halt soda ban

Various sized cups and sugar cubes are displayed at a news conference at City Hall in May. A judge struck down the so-called soda ban Monday.
TimesLedger Newspapers

Mayor Michael Bloomberg vowed to appeal a ruling Monday by a State Supreme Court judge that struck down the so-called soda ban Monday on the grounds that it was “arbitrary and capricious.”

The ruling blocks the city from enforcing the rule, just one day before it was expected to go into effect.

Justice Milton Tingling Jr., of the State Supreme Court in Manhattan, wrote in his opinion that the rule applies unevenly to city venues, bars sale of some large sugary drinks but not others and the many loopholes built into the rule, such as no limitations on refills, defeat its purpose.

“It is arbitrary and capricious because it applies to some but not all food establishments in the city,” he wrote.

He also wrote that the rule would “eviscerate” the separation of powers doctrine, creating an “administrative Leviathan.”

“Such an evisceration has the potential to be more troubling than sugar- sweetened beverages,” he wrote.

Bloomberg, who has championed the ban, told a news conference Monday evening he planned to appeal the judge’s decision and he was confident the soda rule, which is the first of its kind, would ultimately be upheld.

“Being the first to do something is never easy,” he said.

He also argued the rule would help save lives because sugary drink consumption is linked to obesity, a risk factor for disease and premature death.

“Obesity kills, there’s just no question about it,” he said.

The soda rule would limit the size of sugary drinks to 16 ounces in any city establishment needing a city Department of Health grade, including restaurants, movie theaters and sports arenas, but not other venues such as 7-Elevens. It would also not apply to alcoholic drinks, fruit juice or milk-based beverages.

Earlier in the day, meanwhile, a Queens legislator and members of Bayside’s business community spoke out against the rule and said the city Department of Health had not done enough to explain to business owners how to comply with the new limits.

City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone), along with Bayside Village BID’s executive director, Lyle Sclair, and some small business owners, gathered for a news conference outside Cascarino’s pizza parlor, on 39-17 Bell Blvd.

Halloran said businesses like Cascarino’s would take a hit under the soda rule. He also contended that some owners did not understand what was or was not permissible under the regulations.

He called on the DOH to start going door to door to explain the ins and outs of the soda rule to business owners.

“They have no problem sending inspectors door-to-door to harass my merchants,” he said. “So if they’re going to do this ban, the least they can do is go door- to-door informing the merchants about what the new standards are.”

Sclair agreed the city should do more to inform business owners, saying that immigrant merchants in particular may be misinformed because some are scared to ask the city for help deciphering the rules.

“They don’t even know if it applies to them or not,” he said.

Reach reporter Karen Frantz by e-mail at kfrantz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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Reader Feedback

elly from astoria says:
I agree, these super-sized meals and sodas are a travesty to humanity. I help care for many of the people who have come down with diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure related to their terrible diets. Nonetheless, as great as this legislation sounds, how enforceable is it? Lastly, how far can we permit government to interfere in our daily lives and our choices therein? I would recommend instead of waiting for Bloomberg to control restaurants we need him to attack health insurance companies who will gladly pay for your insulin and your Lipitor but WON'T pay for your gym membership!
March 11, 2013, 6:47 pm
paul from out says:
Why not just publish the court legal opinion so everyone can read for themselves the legal basis that controlled this decision. Newspapers are the one place where writing for the 8th grade level no longer works, you have the space so let's publish the opnion rather than paraphrasing it...and begin to inform readers exactly how our Ctitution protects liberties...
March 11, 2013, 6:54 pm
paul from out says:
[..that's 'Constitution' (not 'Ctitution'), sorry for the typo..].
March 11, 2013, 6:57 pm
paul from out says:
[that's 'Constitution' (not 'Ctitution)
March 11, 2013, 6:57 pm
Lou from Bayside says:
King Bloomberg should limit the perverted activities he engages in on his weekend jaunts to Bermuda! Come out of the closet King Bloomberg! All the schmucks who voted for you will still love you!
March 11, 2013, 8:53 pm

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