New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg hates salt and sugar and last week he asked for a two-year federal exemption to disallowing his 1.7 million NYC welfare recipients from using food stamps to buy soda pop and other sugary concoctions.
The request, made to the United States Department of Agriculture, which finances and sets the rules for the food-stamp program, is part of an aggressive anti-obesity push by the mayor that has also included advertisements, stricter rules on food sold in schools and an unsuccessful attempt to have the state impose a tax on the sugared drinks.
Then, curiously, the New York Times reported — two days after Bloomberg made his exemption request — that the mayor provides sugary drinks at his private business and in Gracie Mansion:
At the sixth-floor pantry in its glossy Upper East Side headquarters, employees can pick from a health-conscious menu of celery sticks, bananas, freshly made peanut butter and 100-calorie snack packs.
There is also free Coke, Pepsi, orange Fanta, ginger ale and Mountain Dew — exactly the types of drinks Mr. Bloomberg this week said he wanted to prohibit poor New Yorkers from buying with their food stamps. …
Mr. Bloomberg talked about the “enormous correlation” between those drinks and obesity and diabetes, and asserted that taxpayers did not want to subsidize bad nutrition.
Then the mayor answered “Yes” when asked if he allowed soft drinks to be served at Gracie Mansion, where he holds events but does not live.
But wait, Mr. Bloomberg and his aides said, this was not a case of “do as I say, not as I do.” His gustatory practices have evolved.
Mayor Bloomberg needs to live the example he expects others to follow. He cannot publicly ban sugar with one hand while the other privately feeds his cronies soda pop and other unhealthy liquid anachronisms.
The Mayor must not take a moral stance against the citizenry while simultaneously sinning as a leader of employees he is vested to protect.