New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg stated Wednesday that he believes it is not his responsibility "to force anyone to do anything" in his role as a politician.
Reporters asked Bloomberg at a press conference if he remembered the moment he became interested in going after illegal guns, and he responded:
No, but I did get interested in public health a long time ago, as you know. And I think, as mayor, my responsibility is to do everything I can is to do everything I can to protect the health and safety and increase the longevity of the people that live in this city. As an American, and as a human being, I have a responsibility to not push—to not force anybody to do anything but to explain what I think and to educate people to the extent of what I believe that would be in their self-interest. And I think there are certain—lots of kinds of dangerous activities—if you want to do it, they may be things that I wouldn't choose to do, but I would protect your rights to do that.
In March of 2012, Mayor Bloomberg banned food donations to homeless shelters because the city could not assess salt, fat, and fiber content in the donated food. Bloomberg also led the charge against the sale of sugary sodas that were sold in 16-ounce containers or larger.
In 2007, the Bloomberg administration reintroduced a measure that would mandate chain restaurants to post calorie information on their menus. Last Spring, Mayor Bloomberg pushed a law that would require New York City buildings to inform potential tenants if a building had a smoke-free policy.
"This is their blueprint,” Audrey Silk, a smoker and founder of Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment, told Crain’s. “Acclimate the public to an idea so when they do come through with the force of law, the backlash is muted.”