Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s plan to limit the size of sodas sold at movie theaters and restaurants has all the marks of a fait accompli: it is the Board of Health which decides, and they are staffed primarily with Bloomberg appointees.
But those fighting for the right for you to buy a soda as big as your choosing aren’t going down quietly.
New Yorkers for Beverage Choices, the group closely tied to the soda industry, announced today that they are beginning an “Impact Tour” of the city’s neighborhoods, designed to “educate community leaders and business owners about the ban and give them a platform to voice their opinions.”
The tour will swing by the district offices of City Councilmembers who oppose the ban.
Meanwhile, two other council members who also oppose the ban are suggesting an alternative.
Melissa Mark-Viverito of East Harlem and Letitia James of Central Brooklyn penned a letter to Dept of Education chancellor, signed by 32 of their colleagues, which highlights the deficiencies in the city’s physical education program. The letter points to several studies indicating that the city’s children, particularly in low-income communities of color, are not receiving the minimum required gym classes.
The letter doesn’t explicitly bring up the soda ban, but in statements, both Ms. Mark-Viverito and Ms. James do.
“With all the attention being placed on the Bloomberg administration’s proposed soda ban, we felt that there was a larger story to tell about how other policy choices by this administration are contributing to the obesity epidemic in this City,” said Ms. Mark-Viverito. “The disparities between our city’s neighborhoods when it comes to physical education are unacceptable. We look forward to working with the DOE to achieve a marked improvement in the City’s physical education program, particularly in low-income communities of color.”
“Unlike the administration’s ‘soda ban’, the expansion of physical fitness activities and education in schools will go far to teach the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle from an early age.” said Ms. James.
Details of the Beverage Choice tour are below:
Following the one and only public hearing about the Bloomberg Administration’s proposed size restrictions on sugar-sweetened beverages, concerned community leaders continue to reach out to the New Yorkers for Beverage Choices coalition for answers about the proposed ban, and to make their opinions known. In the coming weeks, Council Members, community leaders and coalition members will visit neighborhoods across the city to educate community leaders and business owners. The neighborhood visits will include stops to speak with store owners to provide a first-hand understanding of how the proposed beverage ban may affect local businesses.
Tuesday, August 7, 4:00 p.m.
Oliver Koppell, City Council Member, District 11
Council Member Koppell’s District Office
3636 Waldo Avenue, Bronx, NY
Wednesday, August 8, 11:30 a.m.
Diana Reyna, City Council Member, District 34
182 Havemeyer Street, Brooklyn, NY
Wednesday, August 8, 4:30 p.m.
Rosie Mendez, City Council Member, District 2
Start location TBD
Thursday, August 9, 3:30 p.m.
Peter Koo, City Council Member, District 20
Start location TBD
Friday, August 10, time TBD
James Sanders, City Council Member, District 31
CM Sanders’ District Office
234-26 Merrick. Blvd., Laurelton, NY
New Yorkers for Beverage Choices is a coalition of concerned citizens and business owners who have united to take a stand against the Bloomberg Administration’s proposed beverage size restrictions. For more information about New Yorkers for Beverage Choice, please visit nycbeveragechoices.com.