After his mayoral campaign sent vague signals yesterday about whether he would maintain Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s legal effort to restrict soda cup sizes at restaurants, Bill de Blasio vowed to do precisely that this afternoon.
“I think the mayor is right and I would continue the legal process. We have to, of course, look at the specifics with our own lawyers to handle the mechanics, but there’s no question I want to see this rule go through,” the front-running candidate told reporters at a rally with Chinese-American supporters.
Yesterday, Mr. de Blasio’s spokesman, Dan Levitan, told The New York Times the candidate would “review the status of the city’s litigation” if elected.
Mr. Bloomberg’s proposed ban on sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces was struck down by a lower court earlier this year, following an intense lobbying effort from the soda industry, small business owners and some elected officials. The Bloomberg administration, however, appealed the decision to the state’s highest court, which agreed to hear the appeal yesterday.
Mr. de Blasio concurred with the mayor that the ban would help combat childhood obesity in particular.
“Right now it’s hard to be a parent in New York City. I have two teenagers, I’m surviving the experience, and Chirlane and I spent a lot of time working to make sure Chiara and Dante are healthy. That means encouraging nutrition, that means encouraging exercise. But, you know, it takes a lot of energy to keep on top kids and make sure they do the right thing,” Mr. de Blasio said. “Unfortunately, as parents, it feels like every day we’re fighting an enemy and that is the growing availability of bigger and bigger sugary drinks.”
Though Mr. de Blasio is a frequent critic of the Bloomberg administration and based much of his mayoral bid on promising a “clean break” with Mr. Bloomberg, the two often see eye-to-eye when it comes to matters of public health.
“I’m not ever afraid to disagree with Mayor Bloomberg when I think he’s wrong, but when I think he’s right, my job as public advocate has been to support policies that have been good for the people and I think as a parent especially, I feel we have been losing the war against obesity,” he said.