Tuesday, September 29, 2009

DOH Soda Popped

The NY Post is reporting this morning that the NYC Department of Health-intent as it is on stopping the overweight of the city from drinking soda-still has a soda vending machine of its own down at its Worth Street headquarters: "Mayor Bloomberg doesn't want New Yorkers anywhere near sugary drinks -- so stay away from the ones on tap at the city's Department of Health. Weeks after the city unveiled an advertising blitz on subways that depicts sugary drinks morphing into yellow globs of human fat when poured over glasses of ice, The Post spotted a vending machine in the agency's main lobby at 125 Worth St. stocked with the beverage no-nos. In addition to diet sodas, some of the drinks on hand are Gatorade, Snapple and Coca-Cola -- the trio the city singled out in the ads with pictures of anonymous bottles that closely resemble those beverages."

Let's not forget that Mike Bloomberg himself eats in ways that he encourages others to avoid, so this disconnect down at DOH shouldn't be any kind of real shocker. But it does highlight, in our view, the danger of allowing health bureaucrats, with little commonsense, to set guidelines on how the rest of us should live our lives. As we told the Post: "It seems as if it's 'Do as we say and not what we do.' It's certainly interesting that that's the case," said lobbyist Richard Lipsky, who represents the beverage company Good-O, makers of Arizona drinks, Orange Crush and Coco Rico. "The fact that they haven't removed the soda machine just shows you that we shouldn't allow the Department of Health bureaucrats to make decisions for us, because their decision-making process is often jaundiced."

It goes without saying, that all of the DOH hectoring is only prelude to the more onerous taxing and regulating that has characterized its efforts since Mother Frieden became commissioner in 2002. The new Dr. Tom-Farley, that is-is following in his predecessor's intrusive footsteps; and he is probably now busy devising mandatory exercise regiments for all New Yorkers-all for their own good, of course.

Message to Bloomberg and Paterson as well. It's the economy that needs your full attention-and would you please leave the social engineering to New York's parents and official guardians. Given the city's bleak economic picture, we can fully understand why many New Yorkers might be looking for a little extra sugar to sweeten their lives.