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Letter to the Editor: Obesity, or Really Revenue Enhancement?

03 June 2012   Frances Emma Barwood
So, what about that proposed New York ban on sugary drinks larger than 16 oz?

Dear Editor,

I was born, raised and, kicking and screaming due to my former husband's job, left New York in the early 70s when they were starting to build the WTC. Over the years I have lived in CA, CO, VT and in 1980 moved to Phoenix, Arizona. My heart always stayed in Ridgewood, Queens, NY. My heart was wrenched on 9/11. It was my home.

I was the youngest of 5 and had wonderful parents and childhood. I loved the parades down Forest Avenue for any reason and for all holidays by all the churches, synagogues and schools. Graduated Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal grammar school in 1957 and Grover Cleveland High School in 1961. I loved NY but now live in rural Dewey, AZ which reminds me alot of the Ridgewood of my childhood. We are having a Patriots' Faire this Saturday at a nearby farm. Over the years I have gone back to Ridgewood a few times to visit family and old friends. I always visit where we lived on the corner of Bleecker St. and Forest Ave and my schools.

However, watching the news this morning, I could not believe what I heard. Mayor Bloomberg telling NYers that he wanted a law so they cannot buy the extra large drinks but only a 16oz. What!!??

Lets take a rational look at this proposed restriction. First we are told to drink more liquids so we don't get dehydrated. Half our body weight in ounces per day, the doctors say. Then Bloomberg wants to restrict NYers to 16 ounces. Well, what if a thirsty person weighing 192 pounds bought 96 ounces in separate drinks? That is the equivalent SIX 16-ounce drinks.

Next will they limit the size of bottles you are allowed to buy at the store? So you have to buy more but only the small bottles. Hmmm? More sales, more costs to the people.

If that is all right, then lets look at this in another light. That means 5 more bottles, cups, lids and straws going to the dump where one used to go. Multiply that by the millions of NY citizens. Is that a good thing? I think not. Then what is next?

Granted we should all be drinking water but that is our decision, not governments'. Are they going to check our bottles to make sure it is not soda? Juices have just as much sugar as sodas. Are sugary juices included? Drink police? More costs to the people.

It will go on. Will they limit what size drink you can order in a restaurant? Will they start searching people to see if there are any extra ounces in bottles going into parks, or carried by joggers around their neighborhoods, runners in the yearly NY street races or checking to see if travelers are carrying some extra ounces per person in their cars? What about those who normally share their drinks with their spouses or kids? Hmmm? More sales, more costs to the people.

What comes next? Rationing of foods per a person's weight and height? Small dishes only? Maybe the answer is having Mayor Bloomberg's home searched for contraband big drinks, big ounces. Better yet, let him retire before the landfills are overflowing with normal thirsty people's bottles, cups, lids, large dishes and the lists of what they can or cannot legally do this week.

OR maybe there is really another reason behind this. If you have to buy more containers of drinks, that means more money for the manufacturers, supermarkets, convenience stores due to more cups, etc. and thereby more taxes going to the city. More waste for the landfills means more charges for trash pickup and on and on. And don't forget that it will cost the citizens more to buy what they want since everything will multiply the cost. Revenue enhancement. Keep your eye on the ball. Wonder who the lobbyist was on this one.

Funny, I am suddenly no longer homesick but just hoping that this 'nanny state' thinking doesn't infect the rest of the country. I am just so sorry for those who live there having the Mayor decide what you can and cannot put in your body and getting you to pay for it too! What a guy.

Sincerely,

Frances Emma (Koch) Barwood
Retired Phoenix City Councilwoman

"People may lie, cheat, steal and murder in this world and they may get away with it, but we are all going to judgment, and that is all that matters... When a job becomes more important than doing what's right, they have sold their soul... Life is just a test of our spiritual strength and our faithfulness to God."

John Leissner Koch - 1903-1980 (my dad)