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Mayor Bloomberg reportedly scuttles plan announced yesterday to curb booze outlets

January 12, 2012

One of the biggest regular agendas on community board calendars in the city is application for State Liquor Authority licenses, a reflection both of the popularity of consuming alcohol and the fickle survival rate of the restaurant business.

So it was big news yesterday when an article by Carl Campanile in The New York Post indicated that Mayor Bloomberg "wants to crack down on alcohol sales to curb excessive drinking, according to a provocative planning document....[from the city's Health Department's far-reaching Partnership for a Healthier New York City initiatives proposes to slash the number of establishments in the city that sell booze."

It did not take too long for the article to arouse opposition to the plan and an article in today's edition of The Post by David Seifman and Carl Campanile said that "Mayor Bloomberg yesterday scuttled a controversial city proposal to slash the number of booze establishments to curb excessive and underage drinking," adding that "critics had slammed the measure as a jobs-killer."

The Fund for Public Health sent a request for proposals January 6, 2012 to community groups to select five Borough Lead Organizations to work with the Partnership for a Healthier New York on education and advocacy activities related to policies in support of healthy eating, active living, tobacco and alcohol contract.

"This opportunity is funded through the Community Transformation Grant Initiative from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention," the fund declared.

The fund is affiliated with the city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, will give $500,000 to each borough for plans selected that are submitted by February 10, 2012.

The initiative's agenda included reducing alcohol retail outlet (e. g. bar, corner store) density and illegal alcohol sales, and also reducing exposure to advertising and promotion of tobacco, alcohol, and sugar-sweetened beverage products, with a special emphasis on the retail setting and youth exposure, increasing the real price of tobacco products, increasing availability, affordability, and access to healthy foods throughout New York City, with special emphasis on decreasing availability of unhealthy beverages and snack foods in underserved communities, encouraging organizational food and beverage policies hat increase access to healthy foods and decrease access to unhealthy goods and sugar-sweetened beverages, and increasing environmental, policy and systems changes that promote healthy eating and physical activity and discourage tobacco and excessive alcohol use, and decrease consumption of unhealthy beverages and snack foods."

The fund's press release indicated that "more than 25 percent of New Yorkers and 32 percent of low-income residents report having no leisure-time physical activity in the last 30 days." "Twenty percent of New Yorkers in high need neighborhoods surveyed report eating no fruits or vegetables the previous day," it continued, adding that it noted that "although the number of smokers in New York city has declined over the past decade, 14 percent of adults (850,000) and 8.4 percent of high school students (18,000) currently smoke."

"From 2033 to 2009, alcohol-related emergency department visits doubled for underage New Yorkers, and one in ten hospitalizations for all ages are alcohol related. Fifteen percent of adult New Yorkers report heavy drinking and 11 percent report binge drinking. Alcohol is associated with approximately 46 percent of homicides."

Manhattan had the most alcohol retailers per 100,000 population, 514, and Staten Island the least, 179.

An article in yesterday's edition of The New York Post by Carl Campanile said that "community transformation grants provided under President Obama's health-care law would help bankroll the effort." The article also said that "health officials and advocates have also discussed banning liquor advertising seen by millions of straphangers in the transit system."

The article said that Scott Wexler, president of the Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association, vowed to go to court to fight any unilateral action by City Hall."

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