Mayor Bloomberg confident as city files appeal against soda ban invalidation
The city is already gearing up for its fight over the large-soda ban, filing an appeal Tuesday of a judge's ruling that invalidated the regulations.
Before the city announced the appeal was filed Tuesday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg spoke about the ruling at Murray Hill restaurant Lucky's Café, which is voluntarily complying with the ban despite Monday's ruling, saying that the judge who overturned the ban was "totally wrong" and that he's confident it will ultimately go into effect.
"This is the right thing to do," Bloomberg said. "We will appeal the judge's decision on the ruling yesterday, and we are confident that we will win that."
"We realize we can't simply treat the effects of obesity. We must help people change their lives before they ever need to enter a hospital," he said, adding that nearly 60% of New Yorkers and 40% of New York children are overweight or obese.
If the rule passed, any establishment that received a letter grade from the Health Department couldn't legally serve sugary drinks in containers greater than 16 ounces. Diet drinks, dairy products and alcohol would have been exempt.
Supermarkets would have been able to sell large drink containers since they are regulated by the state.
The ban was set to go into effect on Tuesday, but Justice Milton Tingling of State Supreme Court in Manhattan ruled it invalid in a lawsuit filed by soda companies, the NAACP and other businesses. In his ruling, Tingling said parts of the ban were "arbitrary and capricious."
Bloomberg, who later vowed to continue his fight against obesity once he leaves office, was joined by a group of politicians and health officials, including Montefiore Hospital CEO Steve Safyer, who said that the Bronx has become the "epicenter" of obesity in the U.S.
"Unfortunately, we have watched the Bronx . . . witness one of the worst epidemics we have ever faced," he said. "This is a tragedy."
Geoffrey Canada, president and CEO of the Harlem Children's Safe Zone added that the city's children are the most risk of obesity in the city.
"This is a disaster," he said. "I have to look at children every day who are suffering from an epidemic that did not exist at the beginning of my career."
He went on: "Children drink as much soda as is in front of them . . . Adults have to be responsible."
Though the city filed its appeal yesterday, Bloomberg said he had no idea how long it will take until it reaches a higher court and a decision can be made.
Politicians and talking heads were quick to ruminate on the invalidation of the soda ban, with some opinions split between elation and fury.
MAYORAL CANDIDATE CHRISTINE QUINN ON CNN'S "PIERS MORGAN LIVE" MONDAY:
Quinn has been a mild opponent of the ban, which she echoed on Morgan's show.
"Overall, I think [Mayor Michael Bloomberg] is doing a really good job" dealing with obesity, but "the soda ban isn't one of his proposals in this area that I support," she said
"My fear is that with issues around food and obesity, if you say 'No,' people have almost a reflex reaction to do it, to go get it."
EX-ALASKA GOV. SARAH PALIN:
The former vice presidential candidate took to Twitter Monday to weigh in on the invalidation of the ban, celebrating the judge's ruling.
"Victory in NYC for liberty-loving soda drinkers. To politicians with too much time on their hands we say: Govt, stay out of my refrigerator!" Palin tweeted to her nearly 890,000 followers.
MSNBC "MORNING JOE" CO-HOST MIKA BRZEZINSKI:
During a segment on the ruling, Brzezinski slammed the American Beverage Association, which was part of the suit that overturned the ban, saying it was "relieved because they can continue to make money poisoning people."
"Be mad at the fact that you buy this stuff again and again and again, and these companies feel like they have to produce poison for you and your children," she said.