Wacko local laws that don’t affect me don’t normally get much attention here. Yeah, I’m selfish that way. But the “no sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces” ban was just too good. So it caught my eye this morning when I saw that King Bloomie the First may not get his way this time.
A New York state judge on Monday threw out a ban on large sugary drinks set to go into effect in New York City on Tuesday, calling the new regulation “arbitrary and capricious.”
Turns out there was a serious procedural problem with the new ban, which I did not know…
The law would have been enforced only on establishments regulated by the city’s Health Department, while stores like 7-Eleven, which is regulated as a market by the state of New York, would have been exempt.
Bloomberg promptly stomped his royal foot.
“We have a responsibility as human beings to do something, to save each other, to save the lives of ourselves, our families, our friends, and all of the rest of the people that live on God’s planet. And so while other people will wring their hands over the problem of sugary drinks, in New York City, we’re doing something about it,” Bloomberg declared.
I want the name of anybody besides him who was actually wringing his or her hands over the problem of sugary drinks. I want to add those names to my little list. Purely for purposes of self defense, of course.
But the biggest problem with the ban was probably the same problem other members of any multi-cameral government will naturally have with somebody issuing unilateral imperial decrees about pretty much anything…
In his ruling, Tingling also criticized Bloomberg’s decision to implement the ban without a vote of the New York City Council. The regulation was passed into law by a decree issued last September by the city’s Health Department.
… “interpretation” of the law would give the mayor and the city’s Health Department the “authority to define, create, mandate and enforce (laws) limited only by its imagination.” The regulation, the justice wrote, “would create an administrative Leviathan and violate the separation of powers doctrine. … It would eviscerate it.”
Tingling added: “Such an evisceration has the potential to be more troubling than sugar-sweetened beverages.”
TL:DR version: Don’t pee in our soup, Bloomie. We want to be rulers, too.
Bloomberg, not surprisingly, doesn’t see it that way.
At a news conference, Bloomberg became annoyed when asked how he had felt about the ruling after spending so much political capital on the issue. He interrupted the reporter mid-question to reject the premise of the inquiry.
“My job is to do the best I can for New Yorkers,” Bloomberg insisted. “That includes advising them when science says something that they are doing could be harmful. … This is not a political capital thing. This is just one human being to another. This is what we have to do.”
Right. One human being issuing arbitrary, capricious, and unanswerable commands to millions of others. Tell me, because I haven’t been there in a long time: Are there no lamp posts in NYC?