Jeff Poor at the Business & Media Institute is calling the latest ban out of San Francisco “extreme” and characterizes it as “following the radically liberal traditions” of the city. Oh no! What is it this time?? Ban-happy San Francisco is usually great fodder for debate, but moments like these illustrate how too often that debate is just a stale trade of knee jerk reactions. In this case, critics are complaining that the City of San Francisco has cut bottled water out of their budget beginning July 1. After this “extreme” move, city employees will be forced to drink tap water originating from snowmelt in Yosemite National Park (or bring their own, probably lesser-quality, water to work), which costs 1000 times less per gallon than bottled water, saving the city an estimated $500,000 per year. If only all fiscal conservatives were that “radically liberal” we’d be in great shape! In his post today, Poor criticizes both NBC and CNN’s coverage of the new mandate for not including anyone from the bottled water industry to speak against the ban, and says that the move “raises safety concerns” about the security of the water supply in the event of an earthquake. Let me get this straight: unbiased news coverage means making sure industry reps get their fair chance to speak every time a local government tries to cut a little pork? And city employees drinking bottled water at work staves off earthquakes how? At least the San Francisco Chronicle was quick to point out that, as Geoff Segal noted here at the time:
In 2005, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa ordered city agencies to stop buying bottled water for employees after the media reported that the city had spent nearly $90,000 on it. At the same time, the city water agency was financing a $1 million ad campaign praising the virtues of what came out of the tap.