All Articles Tagged "Mayor Michael Bloomberg"
The anticipated soda ban that was supposed to go into effect in New York City tomorrow has been stopped by a judge who now says it would be impossible to enforce.
“The loopholes in this rule effectively defeat the stated purpose of the rule,” New York Supreme Court Judge Milton Tingling wrote. He added that the rule is so “arbitrary” that it would be difficult or impossible to put into effect ”even within a particular city block, much less the city as a whole.” Some businesses were exempt from the ban while others like fast food restaurants were not.
“In his ruling, Judge Tingling found the Board of Health’s mission is to protect New Yorkers by providing regulations that protect against diseases. Those powers, he argued, don’t include the authority to “limit or ban a legal item under the guise of ‘controlling chronic disease,’ ” reports The Wall Street Journal.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office promised, on Twitter, to fight the judge’s ruling. So the ban may still go into effect at some point. Enjoy your giant sodas while you can!
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Rep. Charles Rangel, and Broadway actress N’Kenge joined Harlem School of the Arts (HSA) president and CEO Yvette Campbell, guests, and students for what Campbell called a “rebirth” of the 48-year-old institution. With $6 million worth of help from the Herb Alpert Foundation, HSA celebrated a new and extended name for the school today: The Harlem School of the Arts — The Herb Alpert Center.
“It was three years ago almost to the month that this school was going to close,” said HSA board chairman Charles Hamilton is his opening remarks. At that time, New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg made a few phone calls and starting the ball rolling to revive the school, which serves 3,500 children between the ages of two and 18 years old in Harlem and around the city.
“It’s a great day for Harlem and a great day for the city,” said Mayor Bloomberg, who called the school a “great contributor” to the cultural fabric of the city.
In an interview after the naming ceremony, Campbell told MadameNoire Business that the school had fallen on tough financial times due to one thing: “mismanagement.”
“That’s why we have a whole new board,” she told us.
The large grant from the Herb Alpert Foundation along with donations from HSA alumni and others has now created for a Campbell a school that is “debt-free,” its taxes and debts paid. The school plans to use future funds to build on its half-century of outstanding cultural history.
“There’s lots to invest in in HSA,” Campbell continued. She said the school will be making upgrades to its building (located on 141st Street, just across the street from New York’s City College campus), beautifying, and work to become a community arts center.
Herb Alpert is a famous trumpeter and co-founder of A&M Records. His body of work also includes Broadway production, visual arts, and music composition. He and his namesake organization have been big-time supporters of the arts for decades, according to the information handed out at the event.
“We’re going through a period where the arts have really been decimated at public schools,” Alpert said during his remarks. “And it should be part of the core curriculum.”
Alpert became involved with the school after reading about its near closure in the New York Times.
Campbell confirmed with us that there was concern about changing the name of the iconic institution. However, she said, “arts organizations have to survive through the generosity of others.” She’s hoping for continued support from philanthropists and others who would like to see the school continue on and produce more talented alums.
“It’s like putting a pew in the church” in return for a donation, she said.
Former State Rep Robin Kelly Easily Wins Chicago Democratic Primary In Bid For Jackson’s Congressional Seat
Jessie Jackson Jr.’s time in Congress has been filled with highs, lows, and shocking revelations. So now all eyes are on Robin Kelly, who easily won the Democratic primary to replace in Illinois’s 2nd Congressional District.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the former state representative easily won the special Democratic primary Tuesday night. Her race was helped by millions of dollars in pro-gun control ads from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s political fund. Kelly has been very outspoken for the need for gun control.
“You sent a message that was heard around our state and across the nation. A message that tells the NRA that their days of holding our country hostage are coming to an end,” Kelly told supporters in a Matteson hotel ballroom. “To every leader in the fight for gun control ready to work with President (Barack) Obama and [Chicago] Mayor (Rahm) Emanuel to stop this senseless violence, thank you for your leadership and thank you for your courage.”
According to the newspaper, Bloomberg’s Independence USA PAC was the largest campaign interest in the race. It dominated the Chicago broadcast TV airwaves.
And even though turnout was low due to a snowstorm and lack of voter interest, Kelly easily won with 52 percent to 25 percent for former U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson and 11 percent for Chicago 9th Ward Ald. Anthony Beale with 99 percent of precincts counted.
Next, Kelly will go head to head with the winner of the Republican primary in an April 9 special general election in the heavily Democratic district. On the GOP side, fewer than 25 votes separated Paul McKinley, who has a criminal past, and businessman Eric Wallace. The unofficial vote leader was McKinley, 54, who was arrested 11 times between 2003 and 2007, mostly for protesting. Almost all of the charges dropped. “In the 1970s and ’80s, McKinley was convicted of six felony counts, serving nearly 20 years in prison for burglaries, armed robberies and aggravated battery,” writes The Tribune.
Despite the number of mass shootings and high levels of gun violence in major U.S. cities like Chicago, getting the government to discuss, let alone seriously consider, stronger gun control laws is nearly impossible. If you haven’t read it, you should definitely check out this April story from The New Yorker on how the proliferation of guns and the loosening of gun policy in this country came to be. An editorial published in this week’s New York Times also addresses the issue.
“There are nearly three hundred million privately owned firearms in the United States: a hundred and six million handguns, a hundred and five million rifles, and eighty-three million shotguns. That works out to about one gun for every American,” the New Yorker article says. “The United States is the country with the highest rate of civilian gun ownership in the world.”
In large part, the article lays the country’s Second Amendment fervor and love affair with guns at the feet of the National Rifle Association. The NRA was founded in the late-1800s and, for a long time, highlighted gun safety. The NRA’s focus on the individual’s right to carry a gun began in the 1970s. From that point on, the NRA and other gun-rights organizations began publishing articles and funding political candidates that raised the public’s preoccupation with the Second Amendment and relaxed the rules surrounding the acquisition of firearms.
Between 1968 and 2012, the idea that owning and carrying a gun is both a fundamental American freedom and an act of citizenship gained wide acceptance and, along with it, the principle that this right is absolute and cannot be compromised; gun-control legislation was diluted, defeated, overturned, or allowed to expire; the right to carry a concealed handgun became nearly ubiquitous; Stand Your Ground legislation passed in half the states; and, in 2008, in District of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court ruled, in a 5–4 decision, that the District’s 1975 Firearms Control Regulations Act was unconstitutional.
Today, gun-rights activists spend their time generating an irrational fear that President Obama is trying to take people’s guns wholesale. Meanwhile, The New Yorker says, one in three people in the U.S. know someone who’s been shot.
During this week’s presidential debate, the issue of gun control came up. Mitt Romney, par for course, evaded the question, wandering into the metaphorical woods to talk about the need for two-parent households as a remedy to the country’s gun violence problem. President Obama said, “What I’m trying to do is to get a broader conversation about how do we reduce the violence generally. Part of it is seeing if we can get an assault weapons ban reintroduced.”
This, of course, has got the NRA up in arms (pun intended). “[He] gave law-abiding hunters, gun owners a preview of what to expect in a second Obama administration,” Andrew Arulanandam, NRA’s director of public affairs, told the Houston Chronicle. ”He went straight out and supported a gun ban.” The NRA is using its PAC, the NRA Political Victory Fund, to mobilize voters for Romney.
On the other hand, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a long-time gun control advocate, has launched his own super PAC, saying that he’s going to pump $10 million to $15 million of his own money into the effort to support political candidates. He called the responses from both candidates to the gun control question “gibberish.”
Yesterday, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle proposed a new tax to curb guns — five cents per bullet and $25 per gun. Cook County encompasses Chicago, which, as we mentioned, has seen a terrifying spike in gun violence this year. More than 1,100 people were shot in that city in the first six months of this year. “Over the same period in New York City, which has triple the population, 790 people have been shot,” The Wall Street Journal reports.
Wayne LaPierre, the chief executive of the NRA, of course, called the tax “preposterous” because the only people who would pay the tax are “law-abiding citizens.” He advocates for more criminal prosecutions. The Journal points out that many of the guns confiscated in Chicago have been bought legally in other parts of the country.
The story that caught my eye and prompted this story was this one about gun permits being issued in Alabama, and, specifically, the high number of permits being issued that allow people to carry concealed weapons. In 2011, 34,254 gun permits were issued in Mobile county. In case you’re wondering, “Of those, 24,656 were owned by whites/Caucasians, 9,209 by African Americans, 294 by Asians/Pacific Islanders and 95 by American Indians/Alaskans,” AL.com reports. Moreover, women are seeking gun permits, including concealed gun permits, at a high number. The reasons cited are the aforementioned fear of President Obama’s intentions and the feeling that people/women need to protect themselves.
Alabama counties are raising hundreds of thousands of dollars on these permits. Among the things that the money is being spent on are weapons and bulletproof vests.
A big reason why people feel they need to protect themselves is because there are so many guns out there. Gun violence and gun control needs to be discussed openly, honestly, with urgency and without political posturing. A ban on assault weapons is more than reasonable. It’s become painfully obvious that it’s necessary.
The New York City Board of Health today passed Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposed soda ban, prohibiting the sale of sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces. The ban will go into effect March 2013 and will impact restaurants, food trucks, movie theaters and lots of other places where these large drinks are typically sold.
The ban passed eight to zero (there was an abstention, a vacancy and an absence) despite opposition from the large sugary drink companies themselves and many voters. All of the voting board members said they took the opposition into account, but felt they had to act in the face of sky-high obesity rates.
The black community has been hit hard by this epidemic. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health, “African American women have the highest rates of being overweight or obese compared to other groups in the U.S. About four out of five African American women are overweight or obese.”
Many question whether this will really have an impact on the issue it’s trying to tackle. Earlier this month, filmmaker Byron Hurt led a discussion about obesity and weight-related disease after a screening of his documentary Soul Food Junkies. The film takes a closer look at Byron’s dad who died of pancreatic cancer but, before that, spent his life eating unhealthy soul food. In the post-viewing discussion about diet and health, the soda ban, and the widespread skepticism of the policy among African-Americans, came up.
“Panelist and author Marc Lamont Hill answered that Americans have a healthy distrust of government. Mr. Hill continued by saying that government bans are often ineffective as ‘the government does not invest in providing people with a healthier alternative,’” The Wall Street Journal reports.
This is a valid point. You can put all the laws in place that you want. If there’s no alternative, people will keep doing what they’re doing. There’s no rule against buying multiple small sodas. The whole point of the ban goes out the window.
Right now, it just sounds like the government’s overstepping, getting in people’s personal business where it doesn’t belong. If the city can also come up with ways to make healthier drink options more affordable and accessible, then feelings about the government’s intentions could shift. Part of the problem is food policy, which drives up the cost of healthy food. That’s an issue that goes above and beyond what the city can do. But there have been rumblings about adding drinking fountains around the city, a great option. Make refillable water bottles widely available for free, and you might have more people drinking water instead of soda.
What do you think of the soda ban?
When it comes to feeding newborn babies, breastfeeding is embraced for the benefits it has towards a child’s health and is seen as the healthiest form of nourishment for babies. In fact, in an article featured on TIME‘s website, it says “The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises moms to breast-feed exclusively for about six months, then continue breast-feeding while offering new foods.” On the other hand, giving formula to a child straight out the womb isn’t embraced so much. Though there are sometimes reason for going the bottle route first, including the inability to breastfeed (and that includes if the mother has a certain disease too–HIV, tuberculosis, etc.), it’s tied to diarrhea and a higher risk of infection. But it’s important to note that many efforts have been made to improve the quality of formula over the years. With all the information saying breastfeeding is the best way to go, it’s surprising to hear that so many women are being somewhat pushed to use formula for their newborn by hospitals handing out promotional formula from companies as a form of marketing. As Bonnie Rochman, the author of the piece in TIME put it, hospital staff can be a bit pushy during a time when mothers are vulnerable, and rightfully stressed:
“As for my sister-in-law, Rachel, who recently gave birth in a Manhattan hospital to her first child, she knows firsthand how nurses pushing formula can impact an inexperienced mother. After her C-section, a nurse offered to give her newborn a bottle “to make it easier on you.” Exhausted and uncertain, she agreed — even though she’d intended to breast-feed. ‘I was a new mom,” she said. “I didn’t know what I was doing.’”
Seeing as Mayor Bloomberg has been pushing to ban super-size soft drinks in the city, he’s slowly but surely being labeled as being too pushy and even gets called the “nanny” by many New Yorkers. But in his eyes, he’s pushing for people to make better decisions for their health, and as we can see now, for the health of their children. But is this new initiative for breastfeeding and somewhat hiding formula from new moms in the process a good idea to you? Or is it interfering with a mother’s choices?
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The government doesn’t sleep, but I’ll settle for them having a stadium full of seats. Mayor Michael Bloomberg can be the first in line. The NYC politician wants to place a ban on sodas larger than 16 ounces. Apparently, that’s the biggest problem facing New York and not the 8.1% unemployment rate or the rampant homelessness. Bloomberg has decided that this is the cause for him to put his cape on and fly into action.
His intentions are solid. Obesity is a serious epidemic in this country. While it should be addressed, it should not be legislated to these lengths. He is an elected official, not anyone’s parent or nanny. If he really wanted to stick his nose where it didn’t belong, Bloomberg could use some of the millions if not billions at his disposal and pay off my student loans. He’d get my vote on that. Until then, I need him to get himself all the way together. How can you be against soda but support National Donut Day? I’ll wait.
Not only is this proposed law a government overreach dictating what a person can buy with their own money, but it also falls flat when you really think about it. Sure, you can ban the sale of oversized sodas and try and control portions, but I can just as easily buy two small sizes. Or three. Or four. I’ll chug on a bottle of Pepsi and cheer to the friggin’ weekend while protestors side eye me with pickets raised high in the air. In my best Rihanna voice, “No1Currr!”
Diabetes, obesity and other health related dangers that high sugar intake can cause is very real. It shouldn’t be taken lightly. However, Big Brother needs to fall back on trying to limit choices just because they wouldn’t make the same ones. Bloomberg is not going to get a medal or ticker tape parade for attempting to mandate good health practices. He’ll likely have a riot. The government can’t even balance the federal budget and put suffering Americans back to work, yet they want to occupy vending machines and fast food joints? Are cupcakes, pretzels and candy next on the most wanted list? I’ve got a birth certificate that says I’m old enough to decide for myself what I want to drink and at what size I want to drink it. I’m not the only grown person insulted by the government’s interference as to what I’m supposed to be quenching my thirst with.
While he might have good intentions, don’t fool yourselves into thinking that these good measures won’t pave the way for more laws for the “common good.” Some women choose to put that creamy crack into their hair every 4 to 6 weeks. I do. I’m too lazy to find another way to get my hair layed quick, so does that mean folks might decide that the chemicals in perms might mess me up and will determine how I use one? Uncle Sam might even decide next to ban tampons because it might lead to toxic shock syndrome. Think all that sounds ridiculous? So is putting the blame on soda for obesity and trying to place a Band-Aid on an issue that will not solve the problem.
I love my neighbors and I want what’s best for them. I want every person to be healthy, but it just can’t be done by force. It needs to be of a person’s free will to lead a healthy lifestyle. So until then, please pass the Pepsi.
You won’t be able to get a super-sized soda but you can buy Newports by the carton?! Where they do that at? Oh, that’s right. They want to start in New York.
Follow Stephanie Guerilus @qsteph
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