• NAACP Joins Fight Against NY Soda Ban

      By MICHAEL M. GRYNBAUM New York Times

      As the American soft-drink industry argued its case in court on Wednesday against Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s restrictions on sugary drink sizes, a prominent local group stood by its side: the New York chapter of the N.A.A.C.P.

      The obesity rate for African-Americans in New York City is higher than the city average, and city health department officials say minority neighborhoods would be among the key beneficiaries of a rule that would limit the sale of super-size, calorie-laden beverages.

      But the N.A.A.C.P. has close ties to big soft-drink companies, particularly Coca-Cola, whose longtime Atlanta law firm, King & Spalding, wrote the amicus brief filed by the civil rights group in support of a lawsuit aimed at blocking Mr. Bloomberg’s soda rules, which are set to take effect in March.

      Coca-Cola has also donated tens of thousands of dollars to a health education program, Project HELP, developed by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The brief describes that program, but not the financial contributions of the beverage company. The brief was filed jointly with another organization, the Hispanic Federation, whose former president, Lillian Rodríguez López, recently took a job at Coca-Cola.

      The N.A.A.C.P.’s New York office referred questions to the American Beverage Association, the soft-drink industry’s lobbying group and the primary plaintiff in the suit against the city’s new soda rules. The association referred questions to Coca-Cola, which did not immediately respond.

      At the hearing on Wednesday in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, lawyers for the beverage industry argued that the Board of Health had overreached its authority by unilaterally ratifying the new rules. The city rejected that argument, saying the restrictions were well within the board’s purview to regulate public health matters.

      There was no immediate ruling; Justice Milton A. Tingling Jr., who presided, did not comment. The beverage industry said it was requesting a stay of the soda restrictions while the case was being resolved.

      While the industry has successfully fended off higher soda taxes and restrictions across the country, it has been increasingly under siege from public health officials concerned about the adverse effects of sugary drinks.

      New York unveiled its soda plan in May, and other states and cities have since pursued similar measures. On Wednesday, Gov. Deval L. Patrick of Massachusetts proposed that soda no longer be exempt from the state’s sales tax; lawmakers in Hawaii and Nebraska have also recently proposed higher taxes on sales of sugary drinks.

      In its brief, the N.A.A.C.P. conceded that obesity was a significant problem among blacks and Hispanics. But the group urged the city to create a more holistic program to attack the problem, including an increase in financing for physical education programs in public schools.

      Mr. Bloomberg’s plan, the brief argued, would disproportionately hurt minority-owned small businesses, which faced competition from larger convenience stores like 7-Eleven that would be exempt from the soda restrictions because of a quirk in New York’s regulatory structure.

      “At its worst, the ban arbitrarily discriminates against citizens and small-business owners in African-American and Hispanic communities,” the brief said.

      The plan has also been ardently opposed by several members of the City Council’s Black, Latino and Asian Caucus.

      The city’s health commissioner, Dr. Thomas A. Farley, said Wednesday that he was “disappointed” the N.A.A.C.P. had opposed the plan. “African-Americans are suffering disproportionately in this crisis, and I don’t think the N.A.A.C.P. should be siding with the big soda companies,” he said. “They are attacking public health officials who are trying to respond to that crisis.”

      According to the city, about 70 percent of black New Yorkers and 66 percent of Hispanic New Yorkers are obese or overweight, compared with 52 percent of white non-Hispanic residents, based on a 2011 survey. The problem is often worse in low-income communities.

      Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/24/ny...s&emc=rss&_r=0
      Comments 9 Comments
      1. jonesBones40's Avatar
        jonesBones40 -
        Does this say how the majority of the obese I'm these areas? Wouldn't you want to help your people? The people who started your union? The fact is they were paid off by a major soda corporation.
      1. pmdied's Avatar
        pmdied -
        This country is turning into a nanny-state. I rarely, if ever, drink soda but a ban is just more government intrusion.
      1. McCray's Avatar
        McCray -
        How about don't give them free healthcare... that's a blank check for them to **** up their health. Got type 2 diabetes? Buy your own insulin.
      1. mcarroll24's Avatar
        mcarroll24 -
        I agree this is just another form of government intrusion. We are gonna make mcdonalds drop the sizes of their drinks and people are still gonna consume just as much with the free refills and filling their shopping carts with 2liters and 12 packs. In Illinois tax on cigarettes has skyrocketed and sales weren't hardly effected. There's gonna have to be something different done
      1. virago88's Avatar
        virago88 -
        Wow so sad this organisation is opposing the ban. 35% of Americans are obese. If trends continue that number will grow to 44% by 2030 (mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSBRE88H0RA20120918?irpc=932 ). Nanny state or not, fat cat corporates and industries need to be reeled in and they can't go on making profits while individuals and society suffers. No one can say it's entirely an individuals' will to eat or drink crap. If this was the case industry would not pay millions in advertising and consumer psychology.
      1. nemix's Avatar
        nemix -
        While I always agreed the ban on large sizes was a good idea I had no idea 7 eleven was exempt from these laws (if all truth is being told here), the city should have this on a level playing field. Just one more example of government helping out big successful companies who don't need the help
      1. EatMoar's Avatar
        EatMoar -
        Originally Posted by pmdied View Post
        This country is turning into a nanny-state. I rarely, if ever, drink soda but a ban is just more government intrusion.
        agreed, people have no self control hence why everyone is getting fat. This country is going to hell very fast.
      1. Buffspartan's Avatar
        Buffspartan -
        If the obesity rate goes up any higher, I'm moving to europe or Australia. Seriously. I can't stand looking looking at all these fat f**ks. Call me shallow but I mean seriously? The only public place I actually see non-fat people is the gym and whole foods. Everywhere else everyone is fat! Its horrible! I used to be fat from medication I took as a kid. The second I got off of it I went ham and just dropped the weight like a rock cuz I wanted to! These people don't actually even give a crap! They will just keep getting fatter and fatter and try to influence other people that being fat is normal! Well it isnt! This is the only country in the world where being overweight is the norm and I hate it! The government has to try something drastic! Meanwhile the working people have to pay higher taxes to pay for the health care of these a**holes. I'm goddamn sick and tired of this.
      1. mikeg313's Avatar
        mikeg313 -
        **** that. If people want to be gluttons then let em live how they wanna, they won't live long and it thins the herd. It's no secret sugary beverages and fast food is horribly unhealthy. Just limit their care if they're not trying to care for themselves. I feel as much pity for obese people as I do drug addicts.. ZERO!

        Just makes me think of being in Kroger the other day behind a fat woman with like 5 kids in new shoes and clothes that cost more then mine and two carts of groceries full of mostly crappy frozen foods, instant bs and sugary juices and soda. Nothing she was buying was something I'd even eat on a cheat day, the the kicker was she paid with a food stamp card. In the parking lot loaded it into a late model Tahoe. WTF?!
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