New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (shown in photo) has been named Reason magazine's "Nanny of the Month" for May, marking the third time the controversial thee-term mayor has earned that distinction, the libertarian publication said. The latest "award" is based on the city's regulation of the sale of toy guns and the $60,000 fine levied against the owner of a Manhattan tourist shop for selling cigarette lighters shaped like tiny pistols.
"The lighters are just three inches in length, but the city's Department of Consumer Affairs says they could be mistaken for real firearms," Reason said. In addition to his three monthly "awards," Bloomberg was named the magazine's "Nanny of the Year" in 2009, when the health-conscious mayor proposed a ban on outdoor smoking and a one-cent tax on sodas. His crusade against sugar-laden food and drinks included a public campaign against school bake sales and a program to encourage food processors to use less salt. That followed a 2007 ban on the use of trans fats, along with a public campaign against school bake sales.
The smoking ban went into effect in 2011, making lighting up illegal in any of the city's 1,700 parks and 14 miles of beaches, as well as in pedestrian plazas like Times Square. Last year, the mayor asked city hospitals to put infant formula bottles in storage to encourage mothers of newborns to breast feed. A ban on the sale of large sugary soft drinks, imposed at the mayor's urging by the city's Board of Health, was struck down earlier this year by the state's Supreme Court.
Fred Shayes, who was nailed for the cigarette lighters, said the fine could put him out of business. Shayes was fined $5,000 for each of the 12 pistol-shaped lighters he had in the store. He has appealed to the Manhattan Supreme Court in an effort to block city efforts to collect the 60 grand.
"We don't have the money," Shayes told the New York Post. "I would have to take a loan out from the bank to pay that." Shayes was selling the lighters for $10 apiece until city investigators removed them from his store shelves, the Post said.
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Photo of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg: AP Images