Despite all of its vivid past history of enlightened protests in favor of Truth and Justice, my home town of Berkeley hasn’t been very radical at all lately.  In fact, the city has pretty much turned into a Yuppie paradise and a developer’s dream.  But, boy, Berkeley has still managed to somehow put its foot in the lion’s mouth!

    And all that we did to raise this huge nation-wide brouhaha was to simply propose a new November ballot measure wherein a small tax would be levied on sodas — then suddenly all Hell has broken loose here.  Suddenly we woke up one morning to find that the American Beverage Association was staging a full frontal assault on our town.

The ABA has taped “Vote No on Measure D” posters on almost every one of our lamp posts, has hired friendly ladies to hand out “Vote No on Measure D” fliers at our flea market — and has begun distributing large numbers of “Vote No on Measure D” T-shirts, fliers, billboards, push-polls and mailers that follow us everywhere we go.

The American Beverage Association has spent $300,000 on its campaign against Measure D so far — and apparently has another $200,000 more yet to spend.  Its minions come and bang on our doors.  I dare not even answer the phone any more!

The American Beverage Association has gone total beast-mode on Berkeley.

     But none of these posters, fliers, telemarketers, canvassers and/or mailers have ever made any offers to pay the City of Berkeley back for all the money that the City spends annually to run its three excellent medical clinics geared to help Berkeley’s obese children with the diabetes that they got from drinking sodas — or on Berkeley’s wonderful dental clinic that helps our residents recover from their soda-loving rotten teeth.

     In fact, none of these harmful health hazards are even mentioned in the “No on D” posters, fliers, mailers, robo-calls and brochures.  In fact, after being the overwhelmed victim of all this avalanche of corporate information, you might actually start to think that soda is really actually great stuff, is not mostly composed of harmful chemicals, and has no negative effect at all on our health — or on America’s skyrocketing hospital costs either.

In fact, what all of these fliers, billboards, mailers, robo-calls and posters actually do say only consists of some sort of weak psycho-babble such as “Measure D is not what it seems”.  Yeah, well.  What exactly does it seem like?  It seems to me like my town is being invaded by the American Beverage Association.  That’s what it seems like to me.

    And it also seems like the American Beverage Association does not have Berkeley residents’ best interests at heart either.

If the ABA had really wanted to defeat Measure D here in Berkeley, it should have just donated its half-million bucks to our city’s medical clinics and said, “See!  We know our products cause a whole lot of damage — and are willing to help to repair it.  We are the good guys!”

PS:  Berkeley needs to get its revenue from somewhere now that Proposition 13 has drained our state coffers and too much of our federal money is now happily winging its way overseas to help bomb countries that most of us can’t even find on a map — let alone even care about one way or the other.  So why not get some revenue from the taxation of sodas — which, unlike Ukrainians, Syrians and Palestinians, are actually doing us some actual harm?

PPS:   Even though I am basically a hermit by nature, I had finally decided to throw a birthday party for my six-year-old granddaughter Mena — and thought I would combine it with a worthy cause too:  Stopping diabetes in kids her age.  So I’m going to throw a party in support of “Yes on Measure D” as well as a BD party for Mena.  And all of you are invited to come too (as long as you don’t expect me to supply sodas!)

     This party will be held on Sunday October 5, 2014 from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm, at Dreamland Park  And if you can’t make it to the party but still want to donate to help keep Big Soda from taking over our town, just click here: 

And here’s a link to an informative article by Robert Reich in defense of Measure D too:

And if it rains, just bring an umbrella and pretend that you are Mary Poppins!

PPPS:  If First Lady Michelle Obama is truly serious about fighting against obesity in American kids, then she truly needs to come to Berkeley and support Measure D.  We are currently dug in here on the front lines of the battle to prevent childhood obesity — and if we don’t get any desperately-needed reinforcements from you soon, then we will have to retreat.

First Lady Obama, Measure D is now offering you the perfect chance to actually walk the walk.  Are you really in favor of ending childhood obesity?  Or are you more in favor of never going up against large corporations?

In fact, First Lady Obama, consider this as your personal invitation to come to my “Yes on Measure D” party on October 5.  And you can take our “Soda Bucket Challenge” too!  And please bring Sasha, Malia and Bo with you as well.  Mena would love that.

PPPPS:  What do you think that the “Soda Bucket Challenge” should be?  To drink a half-pint of healthy carrot juice in less than a minute?  Or maybe even drink a pint of our own locally-bottled kombucha from the Cultured Pickle Shop!

Jane Stillwater

Jane Stillwater

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