First of all, let me get this off my chest: it really bugs me when the media refers to this as a “soda ban.” It’s a ban on the sale of soda in cups larger than 16oz, or a restriction on soda sales, but not a “soda ban.”
Okay, end rant, begin article.
The controversy over New York City’s soda restrictions, set to go into effect in March, hit an unexpected snag last week when the local chapter of the NAACP and the Hispanic Federation filed a joint brief accusing the new law of being discriminatory: because of jurisdictional technicalities between city agencies, the restriction will impact small corner delis and sandwich shops — more likely to be black- or Hispanic-owned — but not large convenience stores.
But The New York Times points out
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.
- Sidebar: When Coke was the “white Cola” and Pepsi was the “Negro cola”
September 13, 2012: Bloomberg 1, Big Soda 0
Today, New York City’s Board of Health approved Mayor Bloomberg’s ban on the sale of cups of soda over 16oz (which does, however, include some loopholes: see New York City’s Soda Ban Explained). It will take effect in six months, pending legal challenges (“We are exploring legal options, and all other avenues available to us,” says Eliot Hoff, spokesman for the soda-industry financed organization New Yorkers for Beverage Choices).
- July 24: Public hearings today, Board of Health vote in September, lawsuits no doubt continuing until Mayor Bloomberg leaves office in 2014 after which this all becomes a very expensive moot point.
- Coca-Cola: ”There is no scientific evidence that connects sugary beverages to obesity”
- Richmond, California Voters Weigh Soda Tax: They’ll vote in November whether to impose the nation’s first-ever surcharge on sodas and sugary drinks (though other municipalities have proposed them in the past). Supporters say the penny-per-ounce tax will raise between $2 million and $8 million per year, which will be used to pay for soccer fields, school gardens and programs to treat diabetes and fight childhood obesity.
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© 2013 by Bill Bickel unless otherwise noted.