Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Rant #919: Bubble Ban Bursts
New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg's controversial ban on certain sized soft drinks burst in the air on Monday, when a judge tossed the regulation out like flat soda.
The ruling, made a day before the ban was to take effect, was made by Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Milton Tingling because the law had too many loopholes and exceptions, and quite frankly, hit local mom and pop establishments more than it did national chains.
The ban was found to be "arbitrary and capricious," and agreed with numerous soda companies and business groups, which had taken the city to court and found the proposed ban unworkable.
Some praised Bloomberg, others knocked him, and the proposed ban made international headlines, but in the end, it was found to be unworkable, unfair, and ultimately, unenforceable.
Bloomberg said the city would appeal.
Ultimately, the ban was so circumspect that it is hard to believe it even got this far.
It served to ban greater than 16-oz. drinks from being available in certain locations throughout New York City, including stadiums and arenas, and certain neighborhood locations governed by the New York City Board of Health, such as bodegas and neighborhood shops.
But if the location didn't fall under the Board of Health's aegis, it wasn't impacted, and that is where the failing of the law hit the target.
For instance, one goes to a corner grocer for a soda. He is told that he can only get as large as a 16-oz. soda there, because the store falls under the city's regulations. He can buy two multiple sodas if he likes, but he can't get the single soda of more than 16-oz. And, of course, multiple sodas cost more than one single soda.
He walks out of the store, and on the same street is a 7-Eleven. He goes into that site and has no trouble buying a soda in any size that he wants.
What's going on here?
This is THE reason why the ban was struck down.
Mayor Bloomberg is a businessman at heart, a politician second. Since the major chains don't fall under the regulation, all the law did--even with all the "healthy" attributes it had--was helping to put the local store out of business, because when you go in for a soda, you just don't buy a soda, you buy some chips, maybe a sandwich, and maybe some other things.
If you can't get your soda there, you will go somewhere else.
This is a characteristic that Bloomberg's run as New York City's mayor has sustained, as he has done a similar thing with, for instance, under-performing schools.
The school doesn't work, well, don't fix it, close it, much like a factory that doesn't perform up to standards.
It is refreshing to see that a judge saw through all the rhetoric and saw the soda ban for what it was, a completely unenforceable law that served only to kill mom and pop enterprises.
And ultimately, the judge found that that wasn't a healthy move at all.
Posted by Larry at 2:51 AM