Mayor Michel Bloomberg’s soda ban is still on the table and local politican Councilman Vincent Gentile is not happy. He fired off a letter to Bloomberg in which he calls the program “authoritarian, interfering and overprotective.”
Gentile joins Councilmembers Domenic Recchia and David Greenfield in their opposition to what many call Bloomberg’s “nanny” policies.
The letter outlines the need for education versus governmental intrusions and the administrative issue that would arise if Bloomberg bypassed the legislative approval of the City Council in order to pass the policy.
Below are excerpts of Gentile’s letter:
I am writing with regard to your recent proposal to ban sugary beverages larger than 16-ounces in New York City. I found this first-in-the-nation proposal not only to be misguided but completely unacceptable; it is authoritarian, interfering and overprotective – a complete intrusion of the government into the most fundamental rights of Americans: the right to choose.
While I wholeheartedly agree that obesity and obesity-related illnesses and conditions such as high blood pressure and other metabolic risks are – and rightfully should be – a growing concern to all New Yorkers and a nationwide problem, controlling what can and cannot be consumed by eliminating the ability to purchase large-sized beverages is not the solution to the problem. Your extraordinary and drastic proposal would not cure or curb obesity and it will not make our city healthier. I believe it is time for health professionals to seek serious solutions that are going to actually curb obesity. Drastic and extreme proposals only serve to distract us from the hard work that really needs to be done.
Without education, New Yorkers will remain sedentary. Without education, New Yorkers will buy two sodas or mix large pitchers of sweet tea and artificial juice in the privacy of their own homes.
Lastly, on the issue of governmental process, it is my firm belief that such a ban needs legislative approval of the City Council and that, without it, the Health Department lacks the statutory authority to institute such a ban.