retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The New York Times reports that the nation's major soft drink companies have hired lobbyists to represent them in their battle with NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is pushing the city's Board of Health - the members of which he appointed - to ban the sale of jumbo sugared sodas by restaurants and some other formats.

The lobbyists reportedly are meeting with potential candidates to succeed Bloomberg (who cannot run again because of term limits) as well as members of the City Council as they make their case - that the debate needs to be about consumer freedom of choice, not obesity ... Soda executives are vague about their long-term strategy, saying they are focused for now on recruiting local businesses, unions and lawmakers to join their cause. But the City Council speaker, Christine C. Quinn, and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, seemingly closing the door on city or state legislative action, have said they do not wish to get involved. The industry said it was also considering a court challenge, but only after the regulatory process was completed."

According to the story, "The charge is being led by the industry’s leading trade group, the Washington-based American Beverage Association, which has retained several powerhouse political consultants for the cause, including the strategists responsible for the 'Harry and Louise' television advertisements that helped defeat President Bill Clinton’s health care plan in the 1990s."
KC's View:
Mayor Bloomberg is no slouch when it comes to public relations efforts, and at this point he may feel like he has nothing left to lose. There is no sign that he has any plans to run for higher office, and so he's that unique animal - a politician who, whether or not you agree with him, intends to do what he thinks is right, not what will get him re-elected.