On Monday, New York Supreme Court Judge Milton Tingling wrote that the regulations are “arbitrary and capricious,” affecting some food providers and beverages, but not all. The rule was set to go into effect in New York City tomorrow.
Soon after the ruling was released, Bloomberg called a news conference, in which he told reporters (after a more than 20-minute delay) that “the judge is totally in error in the way that he interpreted the law.”
He voiced confidence that the decision -- stemming from a lawsuit filed in the fall by trade groups such as the American Beverage Assn. -- “will ultimately be reversed.”
“Being the first to do something is never easy,” he said. “We knew we would face lawsuits ... that’s America.”
Bloomberg bristled at a suggestion that he had expended political capital in his crusade against sodas. He compared the effort to bans that prohibit smoking in public places and lead paint usage. Life expectancy in New York is three years longer than it was in 2001, he said.
Obesity, he said, is "a public health crisis that has grown worse and worse."
“It is reasonable and responsible to draw a line,” he said. “People are dying every day. This is not a joke. This is about real lives.”
Had the regulation been implemented Tuesday, businesses would have had a 90-day grace period before transgressions were fined. That deadline will be pushed back until after the appeals process is through, Bloomberg said.
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The National Restaurant Assn. said in a statement that the ruling was “a great victory, particularly for thousands of restaurant operators and industry suppliers serving New York City who would have experienced financial hardships had the ban been enacted.”