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Both Sides Of Proposed NYC Big Drink Ban Face Off Ahead Of First Public Hearing

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Advocates on both sides of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposal to limit the size of soda and other sugary drinks in eateries are facing off a day before public hearings.

More than 100 protesters gathered on the steps of City Hall on Monday to voice their opposition. Many wore t-shirts that said, "I picked out my beverage all by myself."

WCBS 880's Rich Lamb reports


Some protesters said they work for Coca-Cola; others are representing the restaurant industry.

Real estate broker Danny Panzella says he has no financial stake in the issue and is protesting because he's a libertarian. He carried a sign that read, "My Body, My Choice."

The mayor's proposal would put a 16-ounce limit of sugary drinks sold at city restaurants, movie theaters, sports venues and street carts and would apply to both bottled and fountain drinks.

1010 WINS' Juliet Papa reports


It would not include grocery or convenience stores that don't serve prepared food and wouldn't apply to diet soda, other calorie-free drinks or anything that has at least 50 percent milk or milk substitute.

Bloomberg held a separate event Monday promoting the proposal. He said the city's trans fat ban met with similar resistance but is reducing fat consumption.

The mayor also has the support from the Health Care Workers Union. George Gresham, president of Local 1199, said his 125 member board unanimously approved the measure.

"We as health care workers in particular have seen the results that diabetes has on our community and our patients," said Gresham.

The proposal could take effect as soon as next March if passed.

The first of three public hearings is set for Tuesday.

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(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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