On behalf of all Berkeley teachers, I ask you to vote yes on Measure D for the health of our children.
Remember when people could smoke in restaurants, on airplanes, and at work? This changed, thanks to tireless efforts by health advocates like me.
On Nov. 4, Berkeley voters will show where they stand on Measure D, the so-called Soda Tax. The proposed tax on sugary beverages has been one of the most hotly debated Berkeley issues in the city’s history, and certainly one that has brought in record levels of campaign expenditure. The No on Measure D lobby has spent $2.3 million in an attempt to defeat the tax, according to campaign finance reports. Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg has contributed $532,071 in support of the soda tax. (That includes $265,235 for network advertising for commercials during the World Series, $96,836 for cable ads, and a cash donation of $170,000 to the Yes on Measure D effort.) UC Berkeley’s Robert Reich has been vocal in his views — writing a blog post about the issue titled “In its battle with Big Soda, Berkeley may once again make history,” and shooting a video on the same subject.
Michael R. Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City, contributed another $285,000 in support of the Yes on Measure D campaign in the last few days, bringing his total contribution to $370,000. More may be coming, according to Howard Wolfson, his senior aide.
If you’ve lived and voted in Berkeley for a long time, as I have, you’ve no doubt noticed that our election campaigns typically pit one Democrat against another with nary any interest from anyone outside the East Bay. Now that has changed.
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.
Next month, voters in Berkeley and their neighbors across the Bay in San Francisco will go to the polls to determine whether their cities would be the first in the country to pass taxes on sugar- sweetened beverages. Berkeley’s “Measure D,” a 1-cent-per-ounce proposal, would mean a 50 percent cost increase for soda in the checkout lane. San Francisco’s two-cent-per-ounce “Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Tax Ordinance” could double the cost of a twelve-pack of soda. But the hit on their wallets is just one reason voters should pause before hitting the voting booth.
If an alien were to drop into Berkeley this election season, one could not fault her for presuming that the staunchest protector of our community’s collective wellbeing is the American Beverage Association, the bank and voice of Big Soda.
As a Latino health professional, as a father of two, and as a citizen of Berkeley, I am voting Yes on Measure D.
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.