This Week in Bans: New York City's Surge in the War Against Fatty Foods

Also, the first protester is banned from the London Olympics; shameful Japanese bureaucrats can't drink alcohol for a month; a California city outlaws charity.

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Welcome back to our weekly look at what's been outlawed in cities across the world (last week's edition here):

BEING CHARITABLE, IN CORONA, CALIFORNIA

Businesses in Corona have 90 days to remove boxes for used-clothing donations, or else the city will rip them out on the business owners' dime. The NIMBYish city council of Corona recently outlawed the wooden receptacles because, as Mayor Eugene Montanez has complained, "I’ve seen mattresses laying to the side, clothes, toys, all kinds of things that you’ll see propped up to the side of these, and they’re really an eyesore.” Another sore point considered by the council: that the boxes could be hampering the efforts of local charities in Corona, located an hour's drive east of Los Angeles, because the organizations that manage them send the clothing out of the country to places like Africa. According to the CEO of Planet Aid, a nonprofit that's no longer welcome in the city, 85 percent of California's used clothing winds up in garbage dumps.

BEING FAT, IN NEW YORK CITY

Mayor Mike Bloomberg thinks that if you drink any kind of large soda, you're a huge, disgusting sweat-hog. And maybe he has a point, with more than half of the city's population being overweight or obese. So his administration has rolled out a plan to ban sweetened drinks larger than 16 ounces. Fruit juices, dairy drinks and artificially sweetened drinks are still allowed, as are (loophole!) free refills. The new regulation, which is expected to take effect next March, targets movie theaters, restaurants, grocery stores and ball parks. One solution to soda-deprivation? Just drink beer!

Meanwhile, even New York's prisoners can't escape the long, toned arm of Bloomberg. He has asked City Hall to consider banning junk food from jail commissaries, meaning approximately 13,000 inmates may no longer get to nosh on instant ramen, candy bars, potato chips, soda and Honey Buns. For prisoners whose lives revolve around a daily Honey Bun, being as it's one of the rare joys of penal institutions and also is used as currency, this is most unsatisfactory news. “They are not going to be happy,” a corrections supervisor told the Daily News. New York has already outlawed trans fats and fried foods from jail commissaries, and needless to say smoking is not allowed.

DRUNK BUREAUCRATS, IN FUKUOKA, JAPAN

The mayor of this Kyushu city has asked his municipal employees, 20,000 in all, to refrain from imbibing alcohol "anywhere outside their own homes" for a full month. Chiding his shameful underlings, Soichiro Takashima said, "I hope each of you takes this abnormal situation seriously because this matter involves everyone." The government-mandated drying out arrives after several employees staged boozy shenanigans that would make W.C. Fields proud. City workers have been caught driving while intoxicated, beating up a taxi driver while intoxicated, beating up each other while intoxicated and stealing a car while utterly trashed (that last guy was a fireman). Fukuoka's bureaucrats are allowed to drink alcohol at their own weddings, but every other guest must suffice with soda or water.

JOHN FOLEY, IN LONDON

The British court system has issued its first human-specific ban for the upcoming 2012 London Olympics. The ultimate consumer advocate, John Foley, now faces arrest if he protests anywhere near the games. Foley's been on a bit of a tear recently over budget airliner Ryanair, which he believes unfairly fired his daughter, and has proved quite “ingenious in his disruptions," according to the police. As part of his "Ryanair Don't Care" campaign, he forced authorities to fetch the boltcutters after handcuffing himself to a goalpost during a January Manchester City soccer match. Cops found a plastic mask resembling Ryanair's CEO in his pocket. In 2011, he jumped out into the middle of a horse race holding a protest sign above his head, provoking an irate racing fan to later punch him in the face. He climbed on top of a hotel at Liverpool John Lennon Airport the year before that with a banner reading "STOP RECRUITMENT SCAMMING CABIN CREW." Foley's daughter must be the most proud, or embarrassed, kid in the world.

Photo credit: Luis Louro /Shutterstock

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