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Rubs Eyes, Takes Big Gulp: Soda Lobby Drops $9.4M Against Bay Area Beverage Tax

If you are in the Bay Area, you won't be surprised to hear that the beverage association and its member companies have spent quite the hefty total on the two measures. But the number still may seem excessive:

Along Berkeley's main streets and in the underground subways here, advertisements blasting the proposed soda tax are everywhere. The American Beverage Association, the soda industry's lobbying group, has spent some $1.7 million dollars fighting the measure in Berkeley, and $7.7 million in San Francisco, according to campaign filings. (NPR)

Now that's just plain stupid money in a local ballot measure. It means that TV commercials and mailers are ubiquitous, and that some slate mailers are running some sketchy campaigns for other candidates on the back of the soda tax measure.

But all that money isn't just one sided, as former NYC mayor Mike Bloomberg has also bought some TV time during the World Series to support Berkeley's measure.

All this being said, I voted Yes on SF's Prop E, our soda tax. It requires a two-thirds vote, as it is targeted for specific funding goals, and that is a big haul. But SF Supervisors Wiener and Mar have done their homework on the measure, and it could end being a tight vote. The Berkeley measure only requires a majority vote, so expect that race to get a lot of focus on election day. It may be the first such measure to pass. KQED's Forum had a fascinating debate on both measures:

John Oliver had a great segment on sugar, it's worth a watch in the video up top (whether your currency is chuckles or informational nuggets).
 

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