Bloomberg’s soda ban and taxi-fare hike seem wrong to Quinn, but only by degree

bloombergs-soda-ban-and-taxi-fare-hike-seem-wrong-quinn-only-degree
Quinn, Dan Garodnick and Gale Brewer. (Dana Rubinstein)
Tweet Share on Facebook Share on Tumblr Print

Today, Council Speaker Christine Quinn took a gentle stand against two administration policies over which she has no control.

Yesterday evening, the New York Times reported that Mayor Michael Bloomberg was planning to ban, "any cup or bottle of sweetened drink larger than 16 fluid ounces."

The ban would apply to soda, but not to fruit juice, milkshakes, alcoholic drinks, or beverages with fewer than 25 calories per 8-ounce serving, like Vitamin Water.

The ban would apply to restaurants, and movie theaters, but not to grocery stores. Only bodegas defined as food service establishments would be affected.

MORE ON CAPITAL

ADVERTISEMENT

The New York City Beverage Association, a soda industry trade group, fiercely opposes the measure, and is being represented by Stefan Friedman, who works for SKD Knickerbocker. The firm is headed by Josh Isay, the political consultant guiding Quinn's campaign for mayor in 2013.

The large-soda ban doesn't require approval of the City Council.

Nevertheless, Quinn today sought to make clear that while she generally supports the mayor's health initiatives, including the ban on trans fats, she opposes this particular one.

"I applaud the mayor, and Deputy Mayor Gibbs and Commissioner Farley for battling the issue of obesity agressively, because it's one of our most significant health challenges," said Quinn this afternoon at a press conference, pointing approvingly to the trans fat ban, because it made food healthier without limiting food options.

But she said limiting New Yorkers' sugar-soda discretion "seems to be more on the punitive side of things."

Asked whether future mayors should consider reversing the proposed ban, Quinn said, "It's something people should certainly think about."

Unrelated, Quinn said she was also opposed to a taxi-fare hike of up to 20 percent proposed by the administration, on which there was a public hearing this morning, and again, over which she has no control.

"I'm not saying there shouldn't be any increase, but 20 percent seems too high," she said.

Quinn made her remarks at a press conference preceding a City Council vote on three bills designed to expand whisteblower protections to contractors, subcontractors and their employees, laws the mayor is expected to sign.