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Englander Seeks to Ban Sugary Soda from Los Angeles Parks and Libraries

He'll pour out 22 packets of sugar – representing the amount of sugar in each 20 ounce drink – for a city committee.

When Councilman Mitch Englander discovered that his daughter was unable to find any beverage other than sugar-packed sodas in a city park vending machine, he was motivated to introduce a motion to ban them.

So today he's pitching his plan to the Arts, Parks, Health and Aging Committee of the City Council to ban sodas from city park and library vending machines.

“As a father, and a longtime board member of the American Diabetes Association, the health of our children has long been a concern for me,” said Englander. “Providing healthier beverages in city vending machines is an easy way to make headway in the battle against diabetes and childhood obesity.”

He plans to demonstrate to the committee how much sugar is in sodas by emptying out 22 packets of sugar – representing the amount of sugar in each 20 ounce drink.

In 2002, the Los Angeles Unified School District banned the selling of sodas in all school cafeterias and campus vending machines.

In New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is seeking to ban large-size sugary beverages. His proposal places a 16-ounce limit on bottled drinks and fountain beverages sold at city restaurants, movie theaters, sports venues and street carts. It affects drinks that have more than 25 calories per 8 ounces.

Following in the footsteps of New York City, Cambridge, MA, is considering limiting the size of sodas and sugar-sweetened beverages in city restaurants. The Cambridge mayor proposed the idea at the council’s meeting Monday night, because of the health risks caused by consuming too much soda.

“We need to move Mayor Bloomberg’s effort beyond the five boroughs to all 50 states. Junk drinks are a leading cause of an obesity and excess weight crisis that affects nearly one of every three kids in the United States and half of all kids in poor, rural areas,” Robert Ross of the California Endowment, a health foundation, told the Los Angeles Times.

However, Glen Whitman, an economist at Cal State Northridge who questions government's role in shaping and restricting individual choices for adults and children told the Huffington Post, "The idea of the state stepping in and treating adults essentially as children and trying to protect them for their own good, as opposed to the good of others, that's been with us for as long as we've been around, as long as we've had governments." 

Christina walsh June 20, 2012 at 07:41 PM
I meant gym floor.
Rebecca Whitnall June 21, 2012 at 01:57 AM
Hi everyone, thank you for all the comments. Keep them coming! I'm especially curious to hear from the people who support the ban. The majority of people in our poll are against it, but a hearty 32 percent voted in support of it. I'd like to hear their thoughts.
Homer J. Simpson June 21, 2012 at 05:37 PM
Eliminate the water & soda, we want & NEED beer machines in the parks & libraries- O'douls for the kids, barley, hops (whole grains!) water & no processed sugar, Englandar, it's good for the kids, heck they drink wine in France!....also replace the Medical Marijuan dispensaries with machines located in city parks & LAPD station lobbies.....this is a slippery slope IF the City can ban stuff willy nilly, but hey don't ban unlicensed drivers from having the RIGHT to drive....
Bulldog1988 June 22, 2012 at 10:41 PM
I love soda. I love the taste, the caffeine, the carbonation. It's great with a burger! But, even I know that it should not be so readily available to kids (or adults for that matter). Sodas are not going to suddenly vanish from the earth (although every opponent of the policy naively speaks like it will). All the policy proposes is that the City not make a profit off a product that does no good (notice I didn't say an "inherently evil" product). No one thinks soda should be illegal. Kids should just have a bit more limited access to this yummy, addicting, liquid candy.. If you think this policy is nanny government, then you obviously have no clue what it's like to live everyday of your life in a food desert.. Think about the little kids that don't have a ice cube's chance in hell to find a healthy meal/snack/beverage/whatever in their community.
M. Flowers June 22, 2012 at 11:26 PM
GREAT Job Englander, way to go, finally someone stands up for the health of our children!! Read the science people, Americans consume 13.8 billion gallons of sugar-sweetened beverages in 2009. These drinks provided approx. 70,000 empty calories to Americans. These beverages represent the largest source of added sugar and excess calories in the American diet and has been linked to weight gain and type 2 diabetes. Coincidence? I think not, the soda industry continues to push their product especially in predominatnly Latino and African American neighborhoods, similar to tobacco. It's not rocket science people, Soda is the next tobacco!!!!!!!!

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