Tag Archives: Berkeley elections

Op-ed: Refuse to be confused — vote Yes on Measure D

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As a Latino health professional, as a father of two, and as a citizen of Berkeley, I am voting Yes on Measure D.

The science that the overconsumption of sugary sweetened beverages can cause diabetes is not in dispute in the Berkeley initiative to place a 1 cent per ounce excise tax on the distributors who bring these products into our city. The research that shows that one out of every two African American and Latino children will get diabetes … Continue reading »

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Beverage companies spend $1.675 million to defeat Berkeley soda tax

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
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Any traveler who walked into the Ashby BART station Wednesday night would have been barraged by “No on Measure D” ads. They were plastered on the walls across from the trains, pinned to spaces near the ticket machine, and laid out on the floor of the station.

It’s known as saturation advertising and the No on Measure D campaign is using it across Berkeley to get its message across. There are ads in bus shelters. There are ads on Berkeleyside. There are ads in the Daily Californian and on SF Gate. There are campaign signs pinned to posts and stuck in medians around town.

Get used to it. Newly filed campaign disclosure reports show that the No on Measure D campaign has spent $1.675 million so far trying to defeat a 1-cent-per-ounce tax on sugary beverages, which is about $275,000 more than was previously disclosed. … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Yes on D campaign must stop bubbling over

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Just like there are two sides to every coin, there are two sides to every campaign. KTVU’s story on Berkeley’s Measure D, which first aired last week, was an unsettling look at some childish and unfortunate behavior by those pushing hardest to pass the soda tax here.

Signs have been planted on lawns around town declaring stances on various measures appearing on the November ballot. Signs posted at private residences are an expression of an individual’s position, and none … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Why it’s important to vote on Measure S

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This November, we will vote on Measure S, which considers whether to approve our new redistricting map. It’s very important to vote on Measure S to preserve your right to “one person, one vote.” It’s also a vote to make government work for you.

What is Measure S?

“Redistricting” is the process of redrawing our Council districts to balance the populations in each. Federal law requires it to happen every 10 years. In December 2013, a supermajority of the Berkeley City … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Berkeley’s Measure R is bad government

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Conceived with no public input and bewildering in detail, Berkeley’s Measure R sets a new low for proposals fostering bad government.

Measure R on the 2014 Berkeley ballot is 28 pages of complex zoning minutia, increased plan and development requirements (including some that are legally questionable), wage and other requirements, prohibitions, and a Civic Center District Overlay. It has pages of detail and tables with specifics including one six page table setting out precisely the kind of permits required for … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: The goal is health: Measure D brings us closer

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The going was tough in the late 1990s when a passionate and diverse group of Berkeley citizen-activists wrote the first school food policy in the nation. Through conflict and compromise, they worked long and hard to get the policy passed and supported by the Board of Education.

Yet, nothing much changed until a middle schooler died of diabetes in 2001.

This event so shocked then-Berkeley School Superintendent Michelle Lawrence that she harnessed her institutional willpower to kickstart the total transformation … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Measure D: D is for distraction

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Children in Berkeley are at risk for diabetes due to the lack of clean air in our allegedly “green” city.  In West Berkeley, the most diverse and low-income area in town, children have an alarming rate of asthma.  Once the lungs are affected, it is a challenge to then exercise.

Obesity, according to the Center for Disease Control, results from both a lack of exercise and too high of a caloric intake. When our children cannot play outside because the … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Standing up for student mental health

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KQED recently reported that students in the University of California system are struggling to get critical mental health services. Even at UC Berkeley, demand is at an all-time high and health directors are raising a red flag, asking for more staffing and funding.

Over the last six years, the number of students seeking help increased 37% – and they’re waiting longer to get appointments – four weeks or even longer. Often by the time they see a professional, their … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Vote No on Measure F (parks tax increase)

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I write this on behalf of directors of Berkeley Budget SOS, Committee for FACTS, Northeast Berkeley Association, Council of Neighborhood Associations, LeConte Neighborhood Association,  and many other residents and groups opposing Measure F.

We too love our parks and other Berkeley amenities, but… as parks tax revenues rose, our parks decayed.

The original 1997 parks measure promised to fund parks, trees and landscaping maintenance. The original tax rate and the revenue generated have since almost doubled, although the … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: How Big Soda tried to buy my political soul

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I am a strong supporter of Measure D, the sugary beverage tax, but recently I was recruited to help the No on D campaign. In exchange for my participation, I received $100 and a behind-the-scenes look at what the single largest political contribution in Berkeley’s history is paying for.

This is how it happened: at the beginning of September, I received a telephone call from a company called Nichols Research located in Fresno. They offered me money to take part … Continue reading »

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Campaign donations reach record levels in Berkeley; beverage companies donate $1.4M to defeat soda tax

Dustan Batton of Rodriguez Strategies  (left) and Josh Daniels (right) argue the merits of Measure D, a proposed tax on sugary beverages, at an election event on Oct. 6. Batton is a spokesman for the No on D campaign, and Daniels is co-chair of the Yes on D campaign. Photo: Mark Coplan
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The beverage industry in recent days contributed another $600,000 to its fight to defeat Measure D, a proposed tax in Berkeley on sugary beverages, bringing the amount it has given so far to $1.4 million.

The contribution comes on top of $7.7 million the beverage industry has donated to stop a similar soda tax measure on San Francisco’s ballot. The Measure D campaign had already won the distinction of being the most expensive in Berkeley, and the new contribution made Oct. 1 only accentuates that fact. The beverage industry spent more than $2.6 million to defeat a similar tax in Richmond in 2012. … Continue reading »

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Assembly race: Echols, Thurmond to debate in Berkeley

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One of the most hotly contested seats in the Nov. 4 election is the race for Assembly District 15. Nancy Skinner, who has held the seat for six years, is termed out of office and is stepping down.

The battle for the vacant seat pits two Democrats against one another – Tony Thurmond, a former member of the Richmond City Council and the West Contra Costa School Board, and Elizabeth Echols. Echols has never held public office but has served under two presidents, including a recent stint as the regional administrator of the Small Business Administration under President Obama. … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: We trust officials to spend soda tax money wisely

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In “Beverage companies donate $800,000 to fight soda tax,” an article published on Berkeleyside on Sept. 22, 2014, I laughed when I read ‘No on D’ spokesperson Roger Salazar’s explanation as to why an unprecedented $800,000 from the Washington, D.C.-based American Beverage Association (ABA) is required to fight a local Berkeley political campaign. His reasoning? That extraordinary measures are needed to fight the moral authority of the Berkeley City Council.

Really? Who truly cares about the future of Berkeley’s … Continue reading »

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