With Nanny Bloomberg's ban on large sugary drinks blocked by the courts, it's time to sort through exactly what happened, what happens next and who the big losers are. The answer to the last point, at least, is easy: the businesses who were left holding thousands of small, empty glasses.
One of the more interesting aspects of Bloomberg's attempt to stop the sale of sugary drinks over 16 ounces was the band of opponents it brought together. Back in January lots of eyebrows were raised when the NAACP's New York state branch and the Hispanic Federation joined up with Big Soda to fight the ban. Today the Times digs deep into the (surprisingly old) relationship between soda companies and minority groups—soda companies have been giving tens of millions to minority groups since the Civil Rights movement.
And for what it is worth, everyone swears their relationships are on the up and up and was not a factor in the soda fight. "We never ask our foundation or community relations partners to engage in public policy issues on our behalf," a spokesman for PepsiCo told the paper. "The nature of these relationships is focused on diversity and inclusion." Still, there seems to be little question that the opposition of minority groups to the plan was important in seeing it swatted down.
While the Times was looking backwards, meanwhile, the city's legal department is hard at work figuring out how to appeal the courts to have Bloomberg's will forced upon the people. "You don’t wait until people are dead and then try to educate them," Bloomberg told reporters yesterday. "We are moving forward immediately with our appeal,” said Michael Cardozo of the city’s law department. "We believe the judge was wrong in rejecting this important public health initiative. We also feel he took an unduly narrow view of the Board of Health’s powers."
And then there are the folks who are now being hurt by a ban that didn't even happen. For example, the restaurant Schnipper’s Quality Kitchen. See, Schnipper's sells soda in 20-ounce branded cups with unlimited refills. In an attempt to be ready for the ban the restaurant spent $19,000 to buy a new batch of 16-ounce cups—which they now can't return. Also, those unfortunate overweight people lacking in the impulse control to not buy large sugary drinks—but that's another story entirely.
And anyway, this fight is going to be going on for years, it now seems.