Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who fought unsuccessfully to establish a cap on the size of soda portions sold in that city, has donated $85,000 to the Yes on Measure D campaign.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I begin with this confession: I don’t drink soda and I never have. My boys, ages 9 and 12, don’t drink soda, either. In fact, I’ve never even let them try it, because I didn’t want them to like it. If either of them has tried it, he didn’t tell me about it, or there would have been a lecture about sugar and empty calories. We don’t even drink juice; it’s only water and low fat milk for us.
The political arm of the American Beverage Association donated $500,000 on Sept. 16 to fight a proposed tax on sugary beverages in Berkeley.
I was phoned the other night in middle of dinner by an earnest young man named Spencer, who said he was doing a survey.
In two months, Berkeley voters will decide whether ours will be the first U.S. city to enact a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages (or tie with San Francisco which has a similar measure on the ballot). When I heard about the soda tax, “Measure D,” I immediately cast aside most of my to-do list (cleaning the oven survived the purge but colonoscopy did not) and volunteered to help the Healthy Child Coalition trounce Big Soda.
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