Forget Coke vs. Pepsi, There’s a New Soda War Bubbling in NYC

A rally was held in New York City protesting Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposed crackdown on super-sized, sugary drinks. Not to be outdone, the Bloomberg administration released a 22-page press release of statements from people who support his proposal.

Dubbed the “Million Big Gulp March,” the small protest that took place in City Hall Park on Monday was organized by the group NYC Liberty HQ. Participants included business owners, local politicians and others against the proposed ban.

The mayor struck back with a long name-dropping list of people who support his move to prevent restaurants, movie theaters, sports arenas, food carts and delis from selling sodas and other sugary drinks in servings larger than 16 ounces.

Leading off was film director Spike Lee. “I’m in favor of [the soda ban]. Look, when I was growing up in Brooklyn, we had gym, and you had to run. You had some physical activity. Children today in public schools across the country are not being taught art, are not being taught music and they have no physical ed. Obesity is a major, major problem in this country. Americans—we’re just obese. It’s crazy,” the statement read.

There were a lot of health care officials and community groups that showed up on the list, but other notables included British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, folk singer Judy Collins, former Mayor Ed Koch and former President Bill Clinton, who was no stranger to fast food menus before his quadruple heart bypass surgery.

Earlier in the day, Bloomberg told reporters he didn’t know what the march was about. “If you want to kill yourself, I guess you have a right to do it. We’re trying to do something about that,” said Bloomberg, who has positioned his stance as a fat-busting move.

“We’ve got to do something about this and they can have a march and make a joke out of it, but there’s a story in the Post today where the hospitals are having to increase the size of their gurneys and strengthen them,” the mayor went on. “This is going to be worse than smoking ever was.”

Bloomberg’s earlier health initiatives included a ban on smoking in bars and restaurants, a ban on trans-fats in fast food eateries, and calorie counts on menus in local chains.

Opponents, however, say Bloomberg’s latest initiative is overstepping the city’s authority and infringing on personal freedom.

With the Associated Press