Soda Pop and Apartment Leases

Today, the NYC Board of Health voted to outlaw ‘sugary drinks’ larger than 16 ounces from being sold by restaurants and other businesses regulated by the Board of Health.  Six months hence, my preferred warm weather wakeup of a large iced coffee with milk and sugar will be illegal, unless it has no more than 25 calories (a packet and a half of sugar) per eight ounces.

Large diet sodas will still be legal, but I can’t imagine a fast-food chain trusting its employees to obey the law and use the big cups only for diet drinks, so we’ll all be stuck with smaller portions even if we don’t drink the sugary stuff.  However, 7-Elevens, and the self-service soda fountain in the Walgreens in Times Square, will not be subject to the law as they are not considered restaurants and not regulated by the Board of Health.

For the last six months, I’ve been meaning to send in the renewal of my apartment lease.  It’s not that I have anything against my landlord: it’s that the renewal lease is a pile of papers to be signed in duplicate, requiring eleven signatures and three initials in each copy covering:

  • Indication of the new rent, with an acknowledgement that I’m renewing the lease and choosing to renew it for one or two years;
  • An addendum to the lease, which is in fact unchanged since we moved in back in 2003;
  • A second form indicating the new rent for the renewal lease;
  • A second form in which I select whether I’m renewing for one or two years;
  • An advisory about window guards, in which I indicate whether or not children under ten years old live in the apartment;
  • An advisory about lead paint;
  • A form to indicate whether I have children under six years old, so that the landlord can inspect for lead paint (seems pointless: the building was converted from other uses about 2000, long after lead paint was outlawed);
  • And advisory that the landlord is not responsible for air conditioners, Venetian blinds, or the dishwasher (our apartment has one, but we never use it);
  • An advisory that we are not to keep a dog or other animal without the landlord’s written permission;
  • An advisory that the apartment rent is regulated because the building owner took advantage of a tax abatement, and that when the abatement runs out (in 2015) the rent will no longer be regulated (which, again, I knew back in 2003);
  • Finally, an advisory that there have been no bedbugs in the building.

Reading and signing the papers takes a half-hour; I’ve been putting it off over and over again.  Last week, I got a nasty note from the landlord giving me 10 days to send in the lease renewal or else, so tonight my wife and I sat down and confronted the pile.

Many of the pages of the renewal waste paper have their origins in city law.  The city is looking out for me, making sure I’m informed.  But the result is a giant pain in the neck.  If the landlord had sent me a one page form, requiring one signature and eleven boxes to tick, the renewal would have been back on his desk the next day.  OK, maybe the next week.

I don’t need the city telling me how much I can drink, and I don’t need fifteen pages of waste paper to renew a simple apartment lease.

Mayor Bloomberg: can you please, please just BACK OFF??

7 thoughts on “Soda Pop and Apartment Leases”

  1. It would probably amuse you that I’ve noticed people carrying around 1 liter bottles of soda where I work. When I get a soda from a fountain, it is at least half ice by volume, so the 32-ounce cup is somewhere around 20 ounces of soda, the balance ice.

    Might Dunkin Donuts get around the restriction on sugar by dispensing a drink with milk only and providing “creamers” of sweetener, much as we get packets of honey for our tea in some restaurants? Restricting sugar content relies on our laziness not to correct the situation. Iced coffee would require simple syrup, which is half water and half sugar, and pre-dissolves the sugar to that there are no granules of sugar in your drink . Bartenders everywhere make it.

    Do they use the same cups for iced coffee as they do for regular coffee? I’m not a coffee drinker, so I don’t know. If the cups are the same, they would have the same problem as diet drinks. It’s odd that Dunkin Donuts didn’t pursue the same exception as 7-11, because most of the Dunkin Donuts stores that I’ve seen no longer offer seating, and are take-out only.

  2. Once again big brother at work. I am tired of this whole blame everyone else for their failures so everyone else has to get punished. Is it my fault someone is 400 pounds? No but with insane laws like this it blames me. Whatever happened to personal responsibility?

  3. What they don’t realize (or simply fail to mention) is that sugary or fatty snacks are cheaper than real food.

    If there has to be SNAP, it should be limited to food that requires preparation, with the exception of breads, with all snack foods excluded. The shopping list would be something like meat, vegetables, flour, beans (both dried and canned), bread, salt, butter, milk, etc. I can imagine the lines at the grocery when people have to stop buying what they are used to having, and have to put half of it back, not because there isn’t enough on the SNAP card to cover it, but because the foods are now not covered by SNAP.

    This doesn’t mean that people on SNAP can’t buy food that isn’t covered by the program. They will have to come up with the money themselves. I was surprised that food stamps would pay for Snapple back in 1992. A friend of mine was staying with me, and I encouraged her to apply for welfare so I wouldn’t have to pay all of her living expenses. She was awaiting a decision on workman’s compensation and SSDI claims. She got $110 in food stamps and $133 incash per month that was supposed to go to me because I was her landlord, but it went for prescription copayments because she was on about 8 different prescriptions due to a bad back and heart condition. The important thing was that I was able to get her on Medicaid. I am pretty sure that she spent all of the food stamps on Snapple, which wasn’t hard to do when she would drink 3-4 bottles a day of it.

  4. Ironically I have been arguing the food stamp issue on another site because yes it often allows junk food. I have seen people buy junk food like candy on it and that really angered me because there were times I couldn\’t afford that food so why should some on assistance get it? The people arguing with me actually told me welfare families deserve these foods and that they deserve it more than military personnel. I was astounded to be honest. Keep this in mind and that is quite a few of those on welfare are overweight and obese and we are also paying more in Medicaid for them.

  5. Madness: when you order an iced coffee with sugar at Dunkin, McDonald’s, or Starbucks, that’s exactly what they do: add sugar syrup rather than granulated sugar. Perhaps Dunkin, etc., could make the syrup available to customers, but the city could turn around and say that simple syrup is not a legal condiment.

    Madness/NWP: It’s a charming thought to suggest that food stamps not be used to pay for junk food, but then the government will have to issue regulations identifying what is, and what is not, junk food. And, of course, the makers of junk food will lobby really hard to make sure that their products make the cut: they don’t want to lose a sizable fraction of their market. More practically, such regulations will never be written because there is no commercial interest that will benefit as a result.

    The issue of sugary drinks particularly bothers me because when I was younger (in my teens/early 20s) I used to drink sugary soda and iced tea by the gallon. I must have needed the energy because I never gained weight. Now, I have to watch my figure, and I normally drink water, diet soda, or unsweetened iced tea, but sometimes there is still no substitute for a giant, non-diet Coke.

  6. I think they could regulate it because it is something that is a problem. I couldn’t begin to tell how many times I have been in line behind someone using Link Card (the food stamps in Illinois)and buying junk. What I would like to see is the government get out of the food business completely and have people go to food pantries. I don’t mean completely, as the government would give the money they would normally give to the stores and have these companies buy the food. As it stands now most of the food pantries depend mostly on donations. Also as I understand it mst of those who frequent pantries are those who don’t qualify for food stamps.

  7. Food banks have started to request that specific foods are donated. We had a food drive where I work, and three of the items that county food bank wanted were peanut butter, canned tuna and canned soup.

    The benefit of having people go to food pantries to pick up their food when getting SNAP is to control what they can buy with their allotment. A problem would be the need for investment in infrastructure that we don’t have to make currently. Military commissaries provide a possible model for these food pantries, because commissaries have many fewer unique items than a regular grocery store. One pays cost plus 5% for items in a commissary, and the surcharge goes to pay for maintenance of existing facilities and building new facilities.

    There would be the need to invest in initial facilities, with these costs recouped from the surcharge over a period of years, but these stores would be closer in size to a large 7-11 (5000 sq. ft. or so) than a Wal-mart superstore, though in a populous enough area, there might be an opportunity for reuse of abandoned Wal-marts and other big box stores. It would be interesting to have a pilot program of these stores, particularly if the stores paid above minimum wage and offered benefits typical of state employees.

    It ought to be straightforward to have a pump or squeeze bottle of simple syrup so that people can fix their iced coffees the way that they like. Note that what they are going after is already prepared sweetened drinks. I would expect Dunkin Donuts to argue that theur iced coffee should be exempt from the sugar ban because it is dispensed with only milk, and sugar is added to taste, much as it is with hot coffee.

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