By Tim Redmond

March 4, 2014 — Political campaigns are full of hyperbole. But a mailer from the American Beverage Association that arrived at my house yesterday has to be some sort of new record.

It starts off warning of what we all know – the cost of living is going up, rents are soaring, evictions are driving people from their homes – and then it tells us what we REALLY need to worry about: The cost of a can of soda.

“While Mayor Lee is trying to address affordability, two supervisors, Scott Wiener and Eric Mar, are pushing a new tax on certain beverages, like sports drinks, juice drinks, sodas, and teas. They say it’s to make our city healthier, but we all know that taxes don’t reduce obesity rates.”

Now: How many things are wrong with that statement?


The first is that the aim of this law is sugary drinks, not “teas.” You can still buy a cup of tea at your loccal café without paying a tax. On the other hand, a can of “ice tea” that’s has about 20 teaspoons of sugar … yeah, that gets taxed.

Actually, the first is that anyone would seriously consider a comparison between the cost of housing (a necessity of life) and sugar-laden drinks is nuts. (more after the jump)

  • Thanks for calling this out, Tim. We got the same one — it was addressed to my husband, not me. Clearly they are targeting men out of some belief that men care less about health and more about paying taxes? Sad.

  • Janna

    Thanks for this! I too was insulted by this mailer. Their claims are ridiculous and just plain wrong. As a mother of a tween, who has new found freedom, I’ll be thrilled when the cost of sugary drinks goes up in SF! We all need to work together to make our communities healthy, and a tax on sugary drinks that will be used to improve PE and school food, provide more opportunities for low income youth to participate in Rec and Park Programs, funds community-based education/nutrition programs, provides funds for the City’s new Healthy Retail program transforming corner stores to offer healthier options, and funds the creation of water filling stations around the City is exactly what we need! Thank you to the 6 Supervisors who are co-sponsoring the measure– Mar, Wiener, Cohen, Avalos, Chiu, and Campos. Interesting that the mailer only mentioned 2… I’m sure they don’t want to advertise the strong support of this measure. Thx for your post! This is only the beginning…

  • My mailer came today. I see it has a tear off postcard you can fill out and send back to the Coalition for an Affordable City, to get on their mailing list. The postcard is postage paid. Perhaps people who support the soda tax will tear off their postcards and mail them back without filling them out – CAC would have to pay the postage but would get no new names for their list of “thousands of SF leaders and citizens” they claim oppose the tax.

  • Rob Mokry

    Nope haven’t received mine yet. But happy to have some objective comments to this dangerous bill.
    Since when is it the fault of the manufacturers because we can not and do not educate and control our children ….oh I guess it is the same time when the landlords are held accountable because tenants sign a 30 day lease and they decide the landlord seemingly owes them something more.
    But I digress, back to soda tax – yes this is dangerous and why are all purchasers even the responsible users subject to this tax? – Dangerous precedent – What is next a tax on red meat because some veggys decide it is not healthy for the rest of us – bovine excrement!

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