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Ed Driscoll

The Password is: ‘Compelling Public Purpose’

June 28th, 2011 - 7:52 am

At the end of 2006, the New York Post rounded up what is very likely a partial list of items the New York City Council banned or considered banning:

Does the City Council have too much free time?

Why, banish the thought.

Along with pit bulls.

And a lot of other stuff.

As the new year approaches, Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. wants to ban pit bulls — those snarly pups known for having the occasional toddler for lunch, and other depredations.

Banning things, or trying to, is what the council does best.

Here’s the list from 2006.

  • Trans-fats.
  • Aluminum baseball bats.
  • The purchase of tobacco by 18- to 20-year-olds.
  • Foie gras.
  • Pedicabs in parks.
  • New fast-food restaurants (but only in poor neighborhoods).
  • Lobbyists from the floor of council chambers.
  • Lobbying city agencies after working at the same agency.
  • Vehicles in Central and Prospect parks.
  • Cell phones in upscale restaurants.
  • The sale of pork products made in a processing plant in Tar Heel, N.C., because of a unionization dispute.
  • Mail-order pharmaceutical plans.
  • Candy-flavored cigarettes.
  • Gas-station operators adjusting prices more than once daily.
  • Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
  • Wal-Mart.

In the UK Spectator this month Brendan O’Neill wrote a damning piece on how puritanical Manhattan has now become. “What was once the most exciting city on the planet has turned into the world capital of health-obsessed control-freakery.”

Which is why, under the definition of “chutzpah”* at the Merriam-Webster Website should be the following quote from Nanny Mayor Mike Bloomberg:

In voicing his support for same-sex marriage, Mayor Bloomberg has mentioned — and appeared with — his niece Rachel, who is lesbian. “It brings it home,” he told me on the phone this week, though he added that beyond his desire for her to have everything she wants in life, “Government should not tell you what to do unless there’s a compelling public purpose.” He sees no such purpose in blocking same-sex marriage.

Or as Jim Treacher quipped this past weekend, “You can marry a person of the same gender in New York City, but you can’t eat your own wedding cake without Bloomberg slapping it out of your hands.”

Of course, if you’re both Inner Party members and have the ceremony in Mike’s Office, calorie-wise, the sky’s the limit.

Update: David Harsanyi writes, “If you’re a non-smoking, svelte gay couple you’re in luck, but otherwise Bloomberg sees human existence as one big fat smoke-sodden compelling public interest:”

As [Bloomberg] once said “We live in a world where we have to have a balance. We can’t just say everybody can go everyplace and do anything they want.”

Huh — who knew that Nanny Bloomberg was such a big Prince fan?

* Or perhaps under the definition of “gemeinnutz geht vor eigennutz.”

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