For those of you not from New York City, you should know that we have a mayor, Mike Bloomberg, who thinks this is the Middle Ages. Lord Mike rules from the castle keep and expects his edicts to be obeyed by the peasants and serfs in his fiefdom. His latest commandment, to ban sugary drinks in containers greater than 16 ounces, was overturned by State Supreme Court Justice Milton Tingling, who called the plan “arbitrary and capricious.” This action came after the American Beverage Association sued the city, and now Lord Mike is not a happy little feudal tyrant at all.
The problem with the ban from the beginning is that it made no sense. The large drinks were to be banned from movie theatres, restaurants, coffee houses, and fast food places. This did not affect grocery stores, convenience stores, or street vendors; therefore, large sugary drinks would have still been readily available in the city. This magnifies what Tingling noted as “arbitrary” in his ruling.
This situation has been the fuel for talk radio and comics for weeks now. As if we do not have enough important news to deal with, Bloomberg’s ban seemed to be more an incredible case of ill-conceived hubris, even though he repeatedly told everyone that he was worried about the public’s health. Most people realized Lord Mike was really saying, “You don’t know what’s good for you, so I will have to show you!”
Banning sugary drinks and foods high in sodium and fat is great for our schools. I support that because kids need to have more healthy choices, but adults have the right to make a decision for themselves. I personally don’t eat red meat, but I would never think of banning it from city restaurants. Adults should be able to choose what they want to eat and drink because they are capable of making choices, whether they are healthy ones or not.
People have been calling Lord Mike “The Nanny,” which is frightening enough as it conjures an image of Fran Drescher in the TV series, but it also is a microcosm of Lord Mike’s whole tenure in office. He believes he is right basically all of the time, and heaven help the poor sclemeel or schlemazel who begs to differ.
I have never been a fan of Bloomberg, mostly because in this city of millions of regular people we do not need a billionaire mayor. Yes, to me this is like those days of old when the lord in the castle ruled with an iron fist. We need a regular mensch in the office, a guy like Fiorello LaGuardia or Ed Koch. These guys spoke like New Yorkers, acted like them, and came from the streets. Sure, some people hated them but many more loved them, and that’s what New York is all about.
The only way Bloomberg ever got elected for three terms was because he had the money to overspend the competition in his campaigns. He aspired to a legacy, similar to La Guardia and Koch, but the only similarity is that Bloomberg served three terms as did they; otherwise, there is simply no comparison. At this point in time Bloomberg is about as beloved as the Soup Nazi in that Seinfeld episode. Can’t you just picture Lord Mike saying, “No Big Gulp for you” to customers waiting in line?
Of course, as we should have expected, Bloomberg doesn’t take not having his own way very well. He immediately said that he will appeal the judge’s ruling, then no doubt ran into his office, stomped his feet, adjusted the crown on his head, and then counted all his money just to get back to what’s most important. But there is joy in the streets of New York for the rest of us, where the Big Gulp is safe for now.
Photo credits: big gulp – daily news; bloomberg – abcnews