Soda Industry Money Floods Berkeley to Undermine Community-Driven Measure

Updated on

From a coalition supporting the Soda tax

Dear Fellow Berkeley Residents:

You may not know it, but if you are registered to vote, you have already been contacted by Big Soda. The slick mailers and constant phone surveys have all been paid for by Big Soda. And it is about to get worse. Last week, Big Soda’s lobbying arm – the American Beverage Association – made the largest single campaign contribution in the history of the City of Berkeley.

Berkeley: Big Soda’s half million dollar contribution is unprecedented

Big Soda’s half million dollar contribution is unprecedented and is an attempt to fundamentally undermine our democracy. Never before has this kind of corporate money been unleashed on Berkeley voters. They are trying to buy an election. Instead of engaging in a genuine discussion of the health issues at stake, they are suffocating discussion through a tidal wave of political ads that attempt to confuse voters, obscure the science, and mischaracterize the measure.

They have done this before elsewhere. Two years ago, the American Beverage Association and friends wrote checks totaling $4.1 million to defeat Richmond and El Monte’s soda tax measures. It is also reminiscent of Big Tobacco, which spent millions of dollars trying to convince voters that their products were completely safe, long after the medical and public health community knew otherwise.

So the next time you get a phone call from someone asking you about your views on Measure D or the soda tax, follow the example of Robert Reich and ask who is paying for the survey.

Measure D is unanimously endorsed by the entire city council

The next time someone knocks on your door with the same talking points, remember that Measure D is unanimously endorsed by the entire city council, the entire school board, the NAACP, the League of Women Voters, Alice Waters, Michael Pollan, and many, many more (see below). In contrast, the “No Berkeley Beverage Tax” or “No on D” campaign, which describes itself as “a coalition of citizens, businesses, and community organizations,” is really just the American Beverage Association.

As Robert Reich recently wrote, “If a soda tax can’t pass in the most progressive city in America, it can’t pass anywhere. Big Soda knows that, which is why it’s determined to kill it here.” We can’t let corporate dollars destroy our democracy.


Your Friends and Neighbors from the Yes on D Campaign

*          *          *

The Yes on D campaign is endorsed by the following organizations, businesses, elected officials, and residents:

ACLU Berkeley/North East Bay Chapter

Alameda – Contra Costa Medical Association

Alameda County Democratic Party Central Committee

American Academy of Pediatrics – California

American Heart Association

Berkeley Democratic Club

Berkeley Dental Society

Berkeley Federation of Teachers

Berkeley NAACP

Bette’s Oceanview Diner

Cafe Leila, Berkeley

California Nurses Association

California Public Health Association – North

East Bay Stonewall Democratic Club

Ecology Center

Healthy & Active Before 5, Contra Costa Child Care Council

Healthy Black Families

John George Democratic Club

Kiwi Pediatrics Medical Group

Latinos Unidos de Berkeley

League of Women Voters (Berkeley, Albany, Emeryville)

Lifelong Medical Care, Inc.

National Women’s Political Caucus – Alameda North

Prevention Institute

Public Health Institute

Smoke BBQ, Berkeley

The Natural Grocery Company

Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club

Mayor Tom Bates

Councilmember Linda Maio, District 1

Councilmember Darryl Moore, District 2

Councilmember Max Anderson, District 3

Councilmember Jesse Arreguin, District 4

Councilmember Laurie Capitelli, District 5

Councilmember Susan Wengraf, District 6

Councilmember Kriss Worthington, District 7

Councilmember Gordon Wozniak, District 8

Judy Appel, Berkeley School Board Member

Joshua Daniels, Berkeley School Board President

Karen Hemphill, Berkeley School Board Member

Beatriz Leyva-Cutler, Berkeley School Board Member

Julie Sinai, Berkeley School Board Member

Robert Reich, Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy, UC Berkeley

Loni Hancock, California State Senator

Nancy Skinner, California State Assemblymember

Keith Carson, Alameda County Board of Supervisors

Michael Pollan, Knight Professor of Journalism, UC Berkeley

Alice Waters, Founder, Edible Schoolyard Project; Executive Chef, Founder of Chez Panisse

Dr. Vicki Alexander, Berkeley City Health Director, Retired

Martin Bourque, Executive Director, Ecology Center

Ann-Marie Hogan, Auditor, City of Berkeley

Marty Lynch, CEO of LifeLong Medical Care

Xavier Morales, Executive Director, Latino Coalition for a Healthy California

Dr. Lynn Silver, Senior Advisor, Public Health Institute

Lisa Stephens, Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board; Former Chair, Parks & Rec Commission

Tony Thurmond, Candidate for California State Assembly

Alice Walker, Author


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