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Fort Greene Businesses Rail Against Proposed Soda Ban

Store owners say plan to cut large quantities of sugary drinks will hurt sales.

Three Fort Greene businesses came out swinging Tuesday against Mayor Michael Bloomberg's at certain stores, movie theaters and restaurants.

"It's not the government's place to tell us what we can drink," said Jose Hernandez, manager of the on Lafayette Avenue. "This is America. And the American palate is a lot of sugar."

Hernandez said his location could lose as much as 85 percent of its summertime business with the potential end of sales of large iced coffee drinks in 24-ounce cups—which, if loaded with sugar, could be subject to the ban.

"We just don't know how it's going to work out, but it's going to be huge," Hernandez said.

and joined the Connecticut Muffin manager in blasting the proposal.

"Families with four or five kids, they come and eat and drink—it's important for the family to be together," said S&S owner Salvatore Fundaro. "They can't just buy one soda each."

The businesses' take on Bloomberg's proposal came during a soda industry-funded New Yorkers For Beverage Choices walking tour targeting the bodega and pizzeria-heavy blocks of Fort Greene as part of a citywide campaign to build opposition to the measure.

A Brooklyn native, NYFBC spokesman Eliot Hoff tried to put the campaign against the soda ban in terms that any longtime borough resident could understand.

"[Soda] is just the first step. The next one might be a piece of cheesecake at Junior's," Hoff said.

Proponents of the measure say it is a key part of the effort to cut high rates of obesity, particularly among minorities groups and children.

But representatives of the three Fort Greene businesses on Tuesday's tour were having none of it.

Fundaro said business at his 20-year-old pizza stop was down while rent was up—making the proposed ban on big containers of soda incredibly hard to swallow.

"There is something very wrong here," he said. "This is something the Mafia would do."

A hearing on the proposed ban will be held July 24 at the offices of the city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in Long Island City.

Jenny July 04, 2012 at 04:39 PM
frankly i understand everyone's position. the mayor is right, there are clear health issues. but these small businesses are clearly going to suffer. it's a very difficult situation.
Clifford Fee July 04, 2012 at 09:16 PM
I guess profits trump health every time! When cigarettes were banned from many places businesses cried that they would lose money. What is more important, the health of our people or profits? And who pays for obesity?
Jenny July 04, 2012 at 09:44 PM
actually, you're right. i'd forgotten there was a lot of concern that their businesses would suffer and it sort of worked itself out. it would be great not to have to make a tradeoff.
Guvna July 05, 2012 at 03:59 PM
always profit over health, it seems. I cannot stand the attitude that health doesnt matter. Do people exist in a dream world where everyone ate and drank intelligently? In the real world, people make horrible decisions re their health that affects us all when they drive up health insurance costs due to higher rates of obesity, and all the other chronic illnesses that come with it, including high blood pressure, and diabetes. Wake up, people.
Sara July 05, 2012 at 04:04 PM
you're so right.
Clifford Fee July 05, 2012 at 04:11 PM
I have an idea! The soda companies should give up advertising and the city would not regulate soft drink sizes! How's that for fairness.
Sara July 06, 2012 at 07:08 PM
I still don't see why they don't do what they did with cigarettes...put a tax on unhealthy food and subsidize healthy food! Am I missing something? Isn't that the obvious answer?
Jason Deagan September 05, 2012 at 03:07 PM
Here is a video making fun of the NY soda ban: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKLZKtbbnrI YouTube channel FunnyCreativeStuff.

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