March 11, 2013

#Bloomberg, anti-sugar idiot

I didn't realize until today, when I read that a New York judge struck down New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's anti-sugary-drinks law, that:

1. It only applies to sodas and not other sugar-laden drinks (that's YOU, Starbucks, we're talking about, among top offenders with sugar-laden dairy drinks) and
2. It only applies to restaurants, not convenience stores.

The first is bad enough, and per a Facebook friend, appears to have been influenced by New York's dairy lobby.

The second is simply idiotic.

If Bloomberg is really worried about sugar intake, then wouldn't C-store "Big Gulps" be No. 1 on the "hit list"?

Does 7-Eleven have lobbying office in Gracie Mansion?

Then there's this:
The ruling stunned the Bloomberg administration, which was deep into preparations to begin enforcing the ban and had even boasted on Monday that it should be applied nationally as a remedy to rising obesity rates. Mr. Bloomberg had scheduled a news conference for Tuesday morning to celebrate the inauguration of the new rule, when he would stand with lawmakers who supported the initiative, according to a person told of the plans. 
"Stunned"? Why? Justice Milton Tingling's ruling is, frankly, absolutely correct legally on Item 1. It's absolutely correct morally on Item 2, if not legally as well.

Now, the $64 question. Is Bloomberg a political naïf (to be polite), or is he Just.Another.Politician.™?

I lean more toward the former, based on this:
At a news conference on Monday, hours before the ruling, Mr. Bloomberg predicted little resistance to the measure. “I think you’re not going to see a lot of push back here at all,” he said. “I think everybody across this country should do it.”  
Earth to Bloomberg? Maybe you didn't tax Starbucks Frappucinos because you need to smell the coffee yourself?

That said, I think the judge is wrong on another point:
The judge also appeared to be skeptical of the purview of the city’s Board of Health, which the Bloomberg administration had maintained has broad powers to seek to better the public’s health. That interpretation, the judge wrote, “would leave its authority to define, create, mandate and enforce limited only by its own imagination,” and “create an administrative Leviathan.” 
Regulatory agencies in general have powers that are often broad, and sometimes "latitudinarian."

Meanwhile, it appears this is just part of a larger pattern of behavior by Bloomberg, making decisions without city council members' approval. It's why, going back to Ross Perot, this idea of a big businessman having some magical skills to use as president, is laughable. They all want to be like Bloomberg or Perot — authoritarians ignoring Congress.

Which doesn't work, at least not on domestic policy.

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