Cumberland Times-News

Editorials

July 31, 2013

Not so fast

Court nixes New York’s size limits on soft drinks

An appeals court has correctly and quite reasonably told the New York City Board of Health it cannot put size limits on the soft drinks served in public venues.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who was the prime mover behind the board’s action, has said the decision will be appealed.

The board’s imposition of a 16-ounce limit on drinks was ludicrous in one respect, but ominous in another.

If a 16-ounce drink isn’t enough, all one has to do is order two 12-ounce drinks, or whatever combination of smaller sizes works. It’s about like being told that you can’t buy a case of beer, you must buy four six-packs — or 24 individual beers. Or that you can buy only one cigarette at a time. (Whatever you may think of soft drinks, beer and cigarettes, it is legal to manufacture, purchase and possess them.)

The four judges of New York’s Supreme Court Appellate Division did not look at the matter of personal liberties, but said the health board could address health hazards by banning “inherently harmful” products from being served, but soft drinks aren’t inherently harmful when consumed in moderation.

Rather, they ruled unanimously that the health board assumed a lawmaking power reserved to legislative bodies (like Congress, state legislatures or — in New York’s case — the City Council).

It is in legislative bodies composed of men and women who are elected by the people that such matters should be considered. All too often, they are decided by people who are appointed to enforce the law, but not to make laws.

Likewise, there is an excess of reliance on such things as “executive orders” that actually circumvent the will of lawmakers. President Obama is frequently accused of doing this, but he is hardly the first president who falls into that category.

The idea that “Your government knows what’s best for you” is one that has always rankled Americans.

It is comforting to know that America’s courts are still prepared to tell Big Brother there are some things he can’t get away with doing.

1
Text Only
Editorials
  • We concur We concur

    We’re certain that Donald Rumsfeld, who served as Secretary of Defense under Presidents Gerald Ford and George W. Bush, echoes what many Americans feel about the complexity of filing income tax returns.
    When he filed his return, Rumsfeld sent the following letter to the Internal Revenue Service:

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • The first step The first step

    If all goes as planned, Frostburg State University will one day offer a doctorate in nursing, a physician’s assistant program and a new health sciences building on campus.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Where to look Where to look

    Drive anywhere in Maryland and it seems there is one highway construction project after another. While it is good to see our roads and bridges being upgraded, it can be nerve-wracking for anyone traveling a long distance.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Library week

    Public libraries remain one of the best uses of taxpayer dollars. They are open to all. Young or old, poor or wealthy, residents can use computers and read current magazines and newspapers. Compact discs featuring a wide variety of music and
    movies on DVD may be checked out in addition to novels and other books.

    April 13, 2014

  • Sunday hunting Sunday hunting

    Legislation that increases hunting oppportunities on Sundays in Garrett, Allegany and Washington counties has passed the Maryland General Assembly and reached the governor’s desk.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • One cannot compromise on God’s word

    A recent letter asked, “What is it about compromises that seem so undesirable?” Most of us are familiar with John 3:16, which says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” The next verse goes on to say, “For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him”

    April 13, 2014

  • Ballpark project a partnership, not a government handout

    To the Editor:
    Regarding Mark Nelson’s recent objection to county government assistance to exploring the placement of a minor league baseball team in the Cumberland region, I would answer that the project should be considered a partnership between private enterprise and government. The private support would come by way of donations collected from local citizens, currently banked through the Dapper Dan Club.

    April 13, 2014

  • Editorial Cartoon Editorial Cartoon

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Decriminalizing marijuana lines pockets of drug cartel

    Has the Maryland government decided they like contributing to the drug cartel? Their new decriminalization of marijuana does nothing but line the pockets of the cartel.

    April 11, 2014

  • Speed cameras Speed cameras

    We’ve never been big fans of speed cameras, primarily for two reasons. First, because the cameras are not always accurate, and secondly because many jurisdictions seem to create revenue by installing cameras and issuing high numbers of speeding tickets.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo