Around $3.4M spent on Berkeley soda tax campaign

The No on Measure D campaign covered the Ashby BART station with signs - on the floor, on the walls, and next to the ticket machines. BART made the campaign takes some of the signs down on Oc. 8. Photo: Marian Mabel
Despite an ad blitz, in which the No on Measure D campaign covered the Ashby BART station with signs – on the floor, on the walls, and next to the ticket machines, the measure to tax sugary drinks passed. Photo: Marian Mabel

The tally is in: the campaign surrounding Measure D, the one cent per ounce tax on sugary beverages, cost $3,374,155, according to recently filed campaign statements.

The soda industry spent $2,445,107 to unsuccessfully battle Measure D in the November election, with most of the funds going to campaign consultants and media companies, according to the campaign statements.

The American Beverage Association California PAC donated the bulk of those funds. There were only a few other donors, including the California Teamsters Public Affairs Council, who contributed $1,000, Regal Entertainment Group, who donated $500 in in-kind donations, and Landmark Theatres, who donated around $9,100 in in-kind funds for ads to run before movies.

In contrast, the Yes on Measure D campaign, along with its major supporter, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, spent $929,048 to successfully pass the measure. It won with around 75% of the vote. About $511,473 of that was in cash and $417,575 was in in-kind contributions. Much of the money went to create signs, and pay campaign consultants and workers.


A few donations and expenditures that stand out:

The No on Measure D:

  • Campaign operatives spent $7,587 for rooms at Hotel Durant and $3,387 for other area hotels
  • The campaign spent $444 for food at Bix, a San Francisco restaurant
  • It spent $403 at the San Francisco restaurant Espetus Churrascaria
  • The campaign spent about $581 on Uber rides
  • The campaign paid Coca-Cola $1,701 – specifically for an employee named Ruben Bustillos

The Yes on Measure D campaign also had some interesting expenditures:

  • Mayor Bloomberg spent $647,071 on the Berkeley campaign
  • City Councilman Laurie Capitelli lent $9,820 to the campaign
  • City Councilwoman Linda Maio lent $5,260
  • Monterey Market donated $4,156 worth of food
  • The Ecology Center donated staff time and space worth $36,113
  • The campaign paid $500 for entertainment on election night

The other well-funded campaign in Berkeley was Measure R, which would have changed height and environmental requirements for tall buildings in the downtown. The Yes on Measure R campaign raised $24,392, with the largest donation coming from SEIU Local 1021 PAC. It gave $5,000. Zoning Adjustments Board member Sophie Hahn donated $1,992 and City Councilmember Jesse Arreguín gave $250.

The No on Measure R campaign spent $257,554 to successfully defeat the measure. Among their interesting contributions and expenditures:


  • The National Association of Realtors donated $95,000
  • The California Association of Realtors gave $55,000
  • The campaign spent about $1,852 on Facebook ads
  • The campaign threw a victory party at Beta Lounge and paid the space $624
  • CityDev, a Berkeley campaign consulting group, was paid $10,000
  • Tim Franks, the chair of the campaign, was paid $9,000
  • Emunah Hauser, a consultant, got $5,000

Here is a link to all of Berkeleyside’s 2014 election coverage. 

Related:
Why Berkeley passed a soda tax when other cities failed (11.05.14)
A record $3.6 million spent in Berkeley campaigns (10.03.14)
Beverage companies donate $800,000 to fight soda tax (09.22.14)
Campaign donations reach record levels in Berkeley
(10.07.14)
Beverage companies spend $1.675m to defeat soda tax (10.09.14)
Bloomberg donates $85k to support Berkeley soda tax (10.16.14)
Outside money, solar funds in Assembly race (10.22.14)
Berkeley ballot snafu, more money for 2014 election (10.22.14)
Michael Bloomberg has now spent $370k on Measure D (10.27.14)

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