Soda tax is social justice issue

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(129)

Eric.L.Mar@sfgov.org, John.Avalos@sfgov.orgtom@tomammiano.com

OPINION

We are fighting for a soda tax because public health leaders have sounded the alarm that sugary drinks are a serious threat to our public health. Now is the time to get the word out about the latest facts that tell the story.

Our work on the issue began when community leaders and medical experts started educating us on the impact of sugary drinks. The resulting legislation that we crafted along with four other members of the Board of Supervisors will not only slow soda consumption, but it will fund the anti-hunger and physical activity programs we dearly need.

Most folks know soda is bad for you, but not how bad. Many are also unaware that Big Soda is specifically targeting communities of color and children. Our task is to spread the word about the health disparities this creates.

The lack of healthy food choices is an injustice that is hitting communities of color the hardest. Fully three-fourths of adult Latinos and African Americans in San Francisco are obese or overweight and one in three Americans will soon be diabetic, including one in two Latinos and African Americans.

The disparities are geographic as well. The highest rates of diabetes hospitalizations and emergency room visits are among residents of the Bayview, Tenderloin, SoMa, and Treasure Island. Close behind are the Excelsior and Visitacion Valley. These are also the neighborhoods that lack access to healthy food and are among those consuming the most soda.

We are already paying the high price of soda consumption. San Franciscans spend at the very least $50-60 million a year in health care costs and sick days due to obesity and diabetes attributable to sugary drinks. The fact that sugary drinks are the biggest single source of added sugar in our diets sets it apart from other unhealthy foods.

The revenue generated has tight controls and must be used to mitigate the harm Big Soda causes. Steered by an independent committee and targeted to communities suffering the most from health inequities, the tax will bolster funding for everything from school meals, healthy food retailer incentives, physical education, and other deserving programs.

Big Soda has hired high-priced lobbying firms and public relations folks who are employing a small army of young people, deploying them into the Bayview, the Mission, and Chinatown — those communities most impacted by diabetes and soda consumption. They've set up a front group — San Franciscans for an Affordable City — to capitalize on the anger in SF about the cost of housing and living.

But think about it: Have Big Soda companies helped us in our fight for affordable housing? Are they fighting for a living wage for communities of color in San Francisco? They have never cared about an affordable city. They care about protecting their profits, period.

We need affordable housing, healthy foods, and physical activity — issues we are working on every single day. On the other hand, our communities need affordable soda as much as we need cheap cigarettes and booze. It only makes us sick.

There are things our communities are doing to promote good health, like transforming corner stores into healthy retailers, building community gardens, and expanding physical and nutrition education. The soda tax as it is written now can provide these programs and dramatically improve our communities' health.

This isn't a ban but a reasonable first step to decrease soda consumption. This is a research-proven way of getting people to use less of an unhealthy product — it worked with cigarettes and it worked with alcohol. Finally, the tax will fund a range of great programs that will actually provide healthy choices for everyone.

Comments

What next? A fine for not flossing regularly?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 11, 2014 @ 9:45 pm

We have that already. :D

Posted by Guest on Mar. 12, 2014 @ 7:01 am

aspect of your life regardless of any outdated notion you might have about personal freedom and liberty.

Consumer choice? Nah.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 12, 2014 @ 7:43 am

adding a quarter on to the price of sugary drinks in no way halts a person's "freedom and liberty".

Did you even read the article?

This tax on Big Soda is government doing what it is supposed to do - protect its citizens from harm.

The facts are now clear - multiple teaspoons of added sugar in drinks are literally killing us. We need to act now.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 12, 2014 @ 10:24 am

it?

SF residents will only get upset if we tax $8 shots of fresh-squeezed wheatgrass juice,

Posted by Guest on Mar. 12, 2014 @ 11:11 am

non sense means you have nothing to post worth reading.

Posted by guest on Mar. 13, 2014 @ 7:23 pm

You disagree with how others are exercising their free will. YOU think people shouldn’t drink sodas, so YOU want to control their behavior.

You’re sickening. A fascist. Take those added teaspoons of sugar and shove them up your ass. People like you want to control how people speak, how people act, WHO PEOPLE MARRY. Fuck you.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 16, 2014 @ 3:49 pm

people telling another group if people what they can and cannot say or do.

It is the very antithesis of what the founding fathers envisaged.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 16, 2014 @ 4:14 pm

You are exoressing an awful lot of hatred in your post. Have you thought about seeking professional help for your rage/anger issues? Is it becuase you have a small penis?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 18, 2014 @ 5:34 am

Come on, you don't expect us to believe there are actually libertarians in SF?! You are either commenting from afar, or working for the soda industry.

No one's taking your freedom to buy all the soda you want. Go for it. Please, drink up! And I hope that tax passes so you will be helping pay for PE in our schools when you do it.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 13, 2014 @ 9:10 am
Posted by Guest on Mar. 13, 2014 @ 9:48 am

that is being a San Francisco progressive.

The revealed truth is the only truth say our self appointed betters. San Francisco progressives and 700 club viewers.

Posted by guest on Mar. 13, 2014 @ 7:25 pm

We've already got a huge city budget--if this is such a pressing problem just pay for it.

But then, how could we add more city employees and pay off political debts?

San Francisco--giving Christie a run for his money when it comes to political chicanery.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 12, 2014 @ 2:17 pm

This proposal will not add any more city employees. The money is clearly spoken for - it is mandated to go to schools, Rec & Park, Dept. of Public Health and some grants to non-profits.

Stop the lies, and do your research.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 12, 2014 @ 2:41 pm

And what happens if people do happen to get "educated" and stop drinking sodas? Where will the money come from to continue funding those programs? This is a "sin tax". Nothing more. And who pays the majority of the amount of the money collected from sin taxes? Poor people.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 12, 2014 @ 5:30 pm

If people drink less sugary drinks as a result of this tax, then it'll be a success! That's the point. If there's less money available over time for PE and parks, we will have to figure out how to address that. But, kids will be healthier by that point, if they are consuming less of this corn syrup poison.

It kills me to see you people pretending you care about poor people by trying to keep the price of soda down. Are you also spending time making sure our schools have adequate funding? Are you also fighting for affordable housing? I know you're not, because the only people I see fighting to keep soda cheap are those paid by the industry, and you folks have never been in the fight for poor people's issues in SF.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 13, 2014 @ 9:06 am

I want to live in a place where stupid people are free to make dumb decisions.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 13, 2014 @ 9:15 am

But you don't want to pay the taxes for programs to ameliorate the consequences.

Posted by Hortencia on Mar. 14, 2014 @ 12:06 pm

Everyone has insurance now so you don't need to pay for someone else's care. If their health outcomes are crap, their premium goes up and your does not.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 14, 2014 @ 12:27 pm

You are gullible if you think this tax will add funds to health programs.

Posted by Richmondman on Mar. 14, 2014 @ 1:54 pm

I'm not "paid by the industry". I have MAYBE a glass of soda a day. I'm not pretending to care about poor people to keep the price of soda down. I'm being honest about who the tax is going to affect the most. I'm also being honest in that progressives think people are too stupid/ignorant/uneducated to make good decisions for themselves.

And if you think this tax is going to stop people from drinking soda, you're even more oblivious to reality than I thought. They will continue to buy soda, it's just that it's going to cost more money (or they'll do their shopping in Colma).

Posted by Guest on Mar. 13, 2014 @ 11:26 am

companies aren't doing a thing to protect peoples' health - they are trying to protect their profits and that is all - they're not trying to help ANY of us. It's not about people being smart or dumb... people are price sensitive and if it costs too much they'll drink less or better yet none at all. And that's the point. IT worked with tobacco. And like tobacco people don't NEED sugary drinks which generally have no nutritive value and will harm your health.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 13, 2014 @ 6:55 pm

but we are smarter than them so we will make choices for them"

Posted by guest on Mar. 13, 2014 @ 8:29 pm

The tax is stupid and obviously aimed at low-income people of color.

We all want people to have better eating and drinking habits, but the middle-class and higher income folks won't be affected by this law since they'll just drive to Colma and South City to do their soda shopping, while filling their bulging shopping carts with their weekly groceries and sundries at the same time. A case of soda with a tax of 25 cents a can is about $6 - far more than the gas to drive a few extra miles.

Someone should check the number of cases of soda sold at the Costcos in SF and Colma in the months previous to the vote and then three months after, assuming it's enacted. I'll guarantee that case sales will be way down in the SF store and much higher at the Colma and South City stores. Of course, SF will lose all of the sales tax on the $250 Costco shopping trips as well.

The supervisors and activists pushing this proposal targeted at low-income San Franciscans and unwitting tourists are moronic, racist and anti-tourist.

By the way, some of the Costco stores are currently carrying Coke and Fanta imported from Mexico, made with real sugar. Umm-umm. Since the sugar may be imported from Cuba, not only do you get a superior Coke product, but you may be indirectly supporting the Cuban economy. Win-win.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 13, 2014 @ 9:09 pm
Posted by Guest on Mar. 14, 2014 @ 2:08 pm

other and there are some hikes coming along unless the voters do the right thing.

The best ways to avoid sales tax are to shop online, take the odd trip to the malls in Medford, Oregon or buy on the black market, which people have been doing with cigarettes for years now.

I expect we will see a 10% sales tax before too long. Outrageous.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 18, 2014 @ 8:12 am

People don't NEED a lot of things. People do WANT a lot of things. Guess what? People who want things will go and get them.

Do you think the taxes on cigarettes is what caused the majority of people to quit? No. It was mainly because of health reasons or better education. You can ask any ex-smoker why they quit. I bet you most of them will not say it was because of the taxes. People who quit do so because they WANT to. People still smoke. The tax doesn't stop them. All it means is more money for the government.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 14, 2014 @ 2:43 pm

guns, drugs and anything else that is difficult to come by.

It might be worth taking a truck up to Medford, OR once tortwice a year, where there is no sales tax, and loading up either for personal consumption or for re-sale on the black market.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 14, 2014 @ 3:03 pm

Any money from this tax going to Park and Rec will only replace discretionary funds that will be taken from Park and Rec by the same guys who sponsored this tax!

Posted by Richmondman on Mar. 14, 2014 @ 1:53 pm

You don't really believe this money will go to "the children".....Do you?

Posted by Richmondman on Mar. 17, 2014 @ 5:31 am

Ammiano, Mar & Avalos. Three fools I wouldn't listen to about anything.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 12, 2014 @ 2:48 pm

so-called "social justice" - usually a code phrase for excessive political correctness and bureaucratic intervention.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 12, 2014 @ 3:24 pm

In case you hadn't noticed, we care about Social Justice in San Francisco, and always have. It's the reason why queer folk come here to get married or be free from fear of hate; the reason we have a Sanctuary City ordinance for immigrants, the reason why voters have opted to invest more local funds to public schools. And yes, we don't mind paying a little extra for those products we know we don't necessarily NEED. That's why we voted to raise the tobacco tax last fall when it failed elsewhere in California.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 13, 2014 @ 8:56 am

Too bad for you that the loser mentality and Peter Pan syndrome in SF is gradually being eradicated.

I hear Oakland is much better at all that social justice mumbo jumbo these days.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 13, 2014 @ 9:14 am

Is that they like supervisors who govern like John Birchers in Texas circa 1965.

We have a culture that is fine with gays, we have a government fine with telling you what to think and is crazy.

Texans probably were fine with anti-communism, but many didn't like the uni-mind of the Birchers.

A modern equal would be anti- evolutionist school board members of today to our Ammiano's.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 14, 2014 @ 7:31 am

has matlock written all over it.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 14, 2014 @ 7:54 am

is endless.

The key one is the self righteousness mixed with entitlement to have your way, after things pass through those two filters everything they do is OK.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 14, 2014 @ 9:18 am

I'm always amazed at his sense of entitlement and self-righteousness -only the Great Matlock possesses knowledge of The Truth. LOL. No one else can understand his "wisdom," but that's because no one else knows The Truth.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 17, 2014 @ 6:50 pm

To the extent that "the truth" is that others are clueless, the outcomes speak for themselves.

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Posted by Orbol on Aug. 08, 2014 @ 2:04 am

Pro American, circa 1980
Biblical Based Laws
Family Values
Homosexual Agenda

It just means the user is going to follow their buzz word with utter non sense.

Posted by guest on Mar. 13, 2014 @ 7:29 pm

Why stop at soda? Shouldn't all sugary products be taxed?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 13, 2014 @ 9:22 am

Jesus the man is an idiot - so far we've been treated to Happy Meal bans because his daughter wanted toys, e-cigarette bans because his daughter told him someone was smoking one on the playground and a soda tax because she was getting a little piggy after too many Cokes. It's like the entire city is a progressive parental experiment courtesy of Eric Mar and his fucking daughter.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 13, 2014 @ 10:04 am

Not soon enough.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 13, 2014 @ 10:29 am

He doesn't have a kid. And yet he wants to legislate a dress code, a proper time to come home from walking in the park, and now what we should or shouldn't drink. Can't wait till that busybody is termed out!

Posted by Greg on Mar. 17, 2014 @ 10:38 pm

It's not a dress code, it's a requirement to wear clothes, lol.

Posted by Snoozers on Mar. 17, 2014 @ 11:11 pm

Again. You keep trying to bring up the nudity ban and compare it to the soda tax and Happy Meals. Again. Apples and oranges. He's not "legislating a dress code". Wiener was responding to his constituents, many of whom do have children, who did not appreciate their neighborhood to become a haven for exhibitionists who get their jollies by getting people to look at their junk. Mar came up with this stuff because he likes being at "the forefront" and is an ivory tower egghead who thinks he is smarter than everyone else and can dictate choices for everyone else. And you make it sound as if a ban on nudity in a city is groundbreaking. Most major cities across the country have bans on nudity. Even that bastion of liberality Berkeley and the home of that idiot Gypsy Taub has had a ban on nudity for years with no problems whatsoever.

The park one is to give the police a tool to help deal with the criminality that goes on in the parks after hours. Try parking your car on Fulton by Golden Gate Park at night. Try taking your kids into the park and seeing used needles in the sand box. The only outcry against these two things is only in your head.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 17, 2014 @ 11:12 pm

A non sequitur distraction comment by the usual right-wing, prudish "Guest" who has a very distinction tone to all of his/her troll posts.

"Wiener was responding to his constituents, many of whom do have children, who did not appreciate their neighborhood to become a haven for exhibitionists who get their jollies by getting people to look at their junk."

Absolute Bull Shit. Nudity has been in the Castro for decades, since at least the 1970s. It's nothing new to the area. And if these conservative, right-wing prudes didn't like that, they shouldn't have moved there to begin with!

2-3 nudists can hardly be called "a haven for exhibitionists." Get a fucking grip, idiot!

You're just another one of these useless conservative prudes repeating the right-wing propaganda, newspeak and lies about this. You're fooling no one. Are you on Wiener's staff?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 18, 2014 @ 4:45 am

"Wiener was responding to his constituents..."

LIE. LIE. LIE. LIE. That's all they do is LIE.

The Wienerbots are still putting out that LIE. Can't they tell the truth about anything? EVER?

Reality: He was responding to his *CONSERVATIVE* constituents and only them. Because I'm one of his "constituents" and he constantly ignores me and others. He doesn't work for me and others. He works for his conservative base and his corporate owners, which include the Real Estate Industrial Complex and their Corrupt Liars/Ellis Act et al.

From what I've observed, the Leebots and the Wienerbots (I'm responding to one of those bots now) are one in the same cult-like mentality pathetic people. They both see these corporatist politicians as some sort of "savior" who can do no wrong, who they think know best, who they think are omnipotent, who they think are above reproach no matter what they do it's perfectly acceptable because their name is Lee and Wiener and they are both our conservative "savior." Pathetic. In fact, this Lee has congratulated his Wiener on the job he's doing. Well of course he would say that because they are both conservatives working for the same conservative agenda. They don't call it that---in order to deceive the sheeple---but that's what it is and it's time that people tell it like it is.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 18, 2014 @ 5:35 am

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