Describing himself as a representative of a forgotten corner of Queens and a former restauranteur, GOP City Councilman Dan Halloran slammed the Board of Health and the Bloomberg administration for attempting to limit the size of sodas sold in movie theaters, restaurants and at concession stands.
“With the weighty economic problems facing our city, as an elected official I am ashamed to be here, that we have to discuss the size of fountain drinks in the City of New York,” Mr. Halloran said.
The councilman was the first speaker at a Board of Health hearing today, the final hearing before the board votes on the ban.
Mr. Halloran proceeded to lay out a bleak picture of the city economy, one hurt by regulations such as the soda ban. He noted that the ban would only apply to restaurants and vendors, and not to grocery stores and supermarkets.
“Family operators will be given the choice of cutting their employees or basically folding up shop and going home because their profit margins are already too small. Yet right next door, the local 7-11 can sell the super size 128 oz Big Gulp,” he said. “It is a highly suspect rule. It will be considered arbitrary and capricious by the court. … Courts will enjoin and ultimately strike it down because of the unequal application of this rule under the regulatory limits under the act of fiat by this administration.”
Mr. Halloran said that the matter should have gone before the City Council, rather than the Board of Health, which he called a “Kangaroo Court” that “has already pre-determined the outcome and will feign listening to the voices of New Yorkers today.”
The board is in fact appointed by the mayor, and it seems unlikely that they would vote against the measure.
Mr. Halloran, who is also a candidate for Congress and one of the few Republicans serving in the City Council, pushed for more money towards health and fitness program and facilities, calling the ban a “feel-good placebo.”
“We aren’t banning the size of cups of beer of 16 ounces or greater despite the fact that alcohol has serious debilitating effects. It begs the question why. And this same body recommended further decriminalization of the possession of drugs like marijuana, but Coca-Cola is the great risk to the health of New Yorkers?”
Mr. Halloran concluded by wondering if limiting the size of sodas was really the role of government.
“What will the government be telling me next? What time to go to bed? How big my steak should be? How many potato chips I should have? It is all in the name of health, and clearly the government knows what’s best.”