Should Council Pass Ordinance Addressing Sugary Beverages?

Illustration of how much sugar are contained in these drinks

One plank of Mayor Dan Wolk’s healthy children’s initiative is offering alternatives to sugary drinks at restaurants and making low-fat milk the default beverage.

Next Tuesday, the council will hear information from First 5 Yolo and could potentially direct “staff to work with the City Attorney to draft an ordinance addressing sugary beverages in kids’ meals, start outreach to local restaurants about proposed changes and return to Social Services Commission and to Council once a draft ordinance is complete.”

In the city staff report, they report that California and the nation is experiencing a childhood obesity epidemic. “In Davis, one-quarter of all children in grades 5, 7 and 9 are overweight or obese. In 2012, more than half of all Davis 5th, 7th, and 9th graders failed to meet the CA Fitness Standards,” staff reports.

They write, “Sugary beverages play a central and unique role in the obesity epidemic. Studies have found a significant link between sugary drink consumption and weight gain in children. Soda and sugary beverages are the single largest source of calories in children’s diets, and provide nearly half of kids’ added sugar intake.

“Cities are enacting policies to increase access to healthy beverages for children, such as adopting standards for beverages provided in parks, recreational facilities, and city-sponsored programs,” staff writes. “Restaurants serve as another important venue within cities where changing local policies on healthy beverages could contribute to the fight against childhood obesity.”

Staff continues, “Cities can promote good health for their youngest residents and support parents in purchasing healthy beverages for their children by adopting a policy that requires restaurants to offer water or low-fat milk as part of any kids’ meal unless a customer specifically requests an alternative beverage. First 5 Yolo has been working to explore whether the City of Davis could adopt such a policy.”

The city has previously adopted nutritional standards related to the sale of food in vending machines and concession stands at its parks and pool facilities. The city had a goal of providing food compliance with “nutritional standards in 100% of its concession stand and vending at Arroyo Pool, but subsequently determined that 50% at all of the pool sites was more acceptable due to public feedback and decreases in revenue. The general feedback the city has received is that the public is interested in having options at the pool sites.”

The Social Services Commission took action at their September meeting to unanimously recommend that the Davis City Council “support an initiative to require the default option for drinks that accompany children’s meals to be low-fat milk or water, allowing juice or soda to still be available upon request should the parent wish to have that option.”

The commission recommended further “that the City look for opportunities to provide increased health education to the community.”

Finally, “Members of the commission requested that draft ordinance language return to them for consideration if the Council acted to proceed with this policy. Staff recommends considering a policy regarding beverage options in local children’s meals. If Council is interested in pursuing such a policy, staff will work with legal counsel to develop a draft ordinance and will return to Council. Staff will also engage in outreach with local restaurants about the proposed changes prior to returning to the City Council.”

The First 5 report finds that “sugary drinks play a central and unique role in the obesity epidemic.” They found that “soda and sugary drinks are the single largest source of calories in children’s diets and provide nearly half of kids’ sugar intake.”

Source: First Five
Source: First Five

Forty-one percent of children aged two to 11 and 62 percent of those aged 12 to 17 drink at least one soda or other sugar-sweetened beverage every day.

The risk of obesity increases by 60 percent with each additional daily serving of soda, which contains 16 teaspoons of sugar for each 20-ounce serving, making sweetened beverages the largest single source of added sugar in American diet.

Bodies absorb sugar far faster when we consume them in liquids as compared to solids, raising blood sugar levels in just 30 minutes.

The Vanguard previously reported on concerns about the quality and high sugar content in food served for breakfast to mainly Title I kids – a good percentage of whom get the majority of their food at school.

We have heard from teachers in schools like Montgomery that it’s a real problem because the kids, many of whom eat breakfast at school, load up on sugary food and then end up crashing mid-morning. This impacts not only their health but also their education.

According to First 5, many cities are enacting policies to increase access to healthy beverages for children, including adopting standards for beverages to be provided at city sponsored facilities.

However, the problem clearly goes beyond beverages, as children consume about 20 percent of their calories from fast food and other restaurants – though beverages are a huge contributor.

First 5 suggests cities offer water or low-fat milk as part of kids’ meals unless a customer specifically requests an alternative beverage. They can also display water and low-fat milk more prominently on menus and menu boards along with information about kids’ meals.

First 5 notes that one-fifth of the 122 restaurants in Davis offer kids’ meals that include sugar-sweetened beverages as the default, while one-fourth offer healthier choices like milk, water, or 100% fruit juice as a default beverage.

First 5 then calls out: Applebee’s, Beach Hut Deli, Bistro 33, Black Bear Diner, Cafe Bernardo, Carl’s Jr., de Vere’s, Del Taco, Habit Burger, Jack in the Box, Lamppost Pizza, Paesanos Panda Express, Pluto’s, Round Table Pizza, Sudwerk, Taco Bell and Togo’s as including a sugary drink with their kids’ meals.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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  1. South of Davis

    First they came for the bags, but I didn’t use plastic bags…

    They they banned soda but I don’t drink soda…

    They they banned alcohol (and now my friends from Chico don’t come down on Picnic Day any more)…

      1. hpierce

        That’s an odd comment.  Perhaps you’d like to share the occurrence of Type I vs. Type II diabetes.  And share how much obesity is genetic/glandular, vs, due to behavior.

        1. hpierce

          Think Rich’s post supports mine.  There is not a 1:1 correlation between sugary beverages and obesity/diabetes.  That said, I fully support removal of soft-drinks from schools, yet they (school districts across the US have added soft drink vending machines, and have pursued ads on school athletic fields to gain revenue.  Don’t even GO to the comment that they HAVE to, to ‘make up’ for inadequate funding from State/locals.

      2. Rich RifkinWDE 73

         DG: diabetes and obesity kill more people than any of those things you mention combined.

        While I consume no added sugar* in my diet largely because I come from a family with a history of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, I think three more things need to be mentioned beyond “sugary beverages.”

        1. Genetics are a very important component as to how sugar affects your gut and your brain chemistry. For every person who gets fat and puts himself at risk for high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack and diabetes, there is another who can consume these same foods and have no bad consequences. Alas, I am not one of those who is unaffected by added sugars and thus I completely leave them out of everything I eat and drink, and I recommend such a strategy for everyone who has a tendency to be overweight; and

        2. Chemical sweeteners put in “diet” sodas are likely just as bad for a person as added sugar is. These chemicals negatively affect brain chemistry–making the consumer feel lethargic and hungry–and they have a very high correlation with developing diabetes. As such, it makes no sense to ever encourage anyone who is fat and drinks regular sodas to switch to diet drinks. The latter are not healthy for anyone; and

        3. Fruit juice is every bit as bad as a sugary soda. The problem is that all of the fiber is strained out when fruit juice is made, and all that is left is a few vitamins and sugary water. Kids who suck down glasses of orange and apple juice are no better off than those who drink Coca Cola. If a person is thirsty, drink water, leave out the sugar. If you want the nutrition from fruit, eat the whole fruit with all of its natural fibers, and stay away from starchy fruits with little natural fiber.

        I would be in favor of a stiff statewide tax on sugar*–like we tax alcohol–if it applied across the board. It strikes me as illogical and unworkable to have a local tax on sugary drinks alone.

        *Added sugars to avoid include honey, HF corn syrup, tree syrups and pretty much anything ending in -ose.

  2. Gunrocik

    Yet another in what will be a string of Wolk for Senate campaign initiatives cluttering up our Council agenda.

    I agree with the concept — but disagree that this is a local issue.

    Look how much time we wasted on plastic bags — even though we knew it was likely that there would be state legislation.

    Here we go again!  And in the meantime, our roads continue to crumble.  Thanks, Mayor Nero.

    1. Tia Will


      I agree with the concept — but disagree that this is a local issue.”

      I believe that this is very much a local issue. I believe that personal eating and drinking habits occur on the very local level, household by household. Children tend to see what their parents eat or provide for them as the “right” way to eat and rarely question this until they become old enough to start understanding the commercials on TV or eating at friends houses by which time their basic preferences are fairly well established.

      My own mother saw no difference in offering us water or a coke. We were allowed to drink as much as we wanted during the day. I was habituated and it took me years to completely wean myself off.  Making water the default offered beverage is a win for everyone who is not directly profiting from the sale of sweet beverages.

      I strongly believe that to build a healthier community, that the right place to start is right here in our own community.

      1. hpierce

        Actually, water IS the default beverage in fast-food establishments.  You pay nothing for a cup for water, but your ‘sugary’ beverage may cost you close to the rest of the “meal cost”.  If I were to go on a rampage on this, I’d fight why a glass of iced tea costs the same as that “sugary drink”.

        Perhaps we should ban (and eliminate) from Davis, Taco Bell, KFC, etc., as they are owned by “sugary drink” companies.

    1. South of Davis

      Elizabeth wrote:

      > Whole milk is the only healthy option for children.

      Whole “Mothers” milk (designed to grow an 8 pound infant in to a 25 pound toddler over a couple years)  is a healthy option for children, while Whole “Cows” mild (designed to grow a 80 pound calf to a 1,000 pound cow in 9 months) is probably not the best choice…

      The big question is: Do we let “parents” decide what to feed their kids or do we let the “city council” make these decisions?

      If we really want people to get healthy we could pass a law “requiring” everyone to get their kids up early run a 10K with them before school (like I do a few days a week)…

      1. Elizabeth Bowler

        I didn’t say that whole milk is the “best” milk option, obviously human breast milk is best for children, but of the available milk options that are being considered, whole milk is the best, as low-fat and non-fat milk are also sugary drinks.

        1. Davis Progressive

          Whole Milk Macronutrients
          One cup of whole milk from the shelf of your local grocer provides 150 calories, 8 g of fat, 12 g of carbohydrates and 8 g of protein. Five grams of the total fat content are saturated fat, while 11 g of carbohydrate come from sugar.


          2 Percent Milk Macronutrients
          Two percent milk contains 140 calories per one cup serving, 5 g of fat, 14 g of carbohydrates and 10 g of protein. Sugar content runs high in 2 percent milk, contributing 13 g to the carbohydrate content. On the other hand, saturated fat makes up only 3 g of the total fat content.

          I don’t really see a huge difference.  The trade off is 3 grams of fat and 2 grams of saturated versus 2 extra grams of sugar.

        2. Elizabeth Bowler

          DP, the extra sugar plus the decreased fat combine to make lowfat and nonfat milk bad options for children.  Children’s brains need lots of healthy fats, such as that found in whole milk, for proper development.  Additionally, the critical fat soluble vitamins are decreased or missing in the low and non-fat versions.


      2. sisterhood

        IMHO it’s reasonable for the city to step in when unhealthy kids cost taxpayers money- free dental and health care, which increases the cost of these services for the folks who have to pay for them. I also believe there are more behavioral problems with kids who are fed a high sugar high carb diet, but I have no stats to back up that statement, just personal observations.

        1. Gunrocik

          Health care is not the purview of local government.  This is an issue of state government — although they’ve delegated much of the authority to the C0unty.

          It isn’t our issue and a we don’t get any payback for enforcement.

          Our Council members are part time and only have so much time to deal with issues.  You have a County government with full time paid County Supervisors and full time paid support staff–and yet they typically have smaller agendas than the City of Davis.

          If Davis residents are interested in this, have Saylor and Provenza and their bloated staffs take the lead on this.  It is in their area of jurisdiction, not ours!

          Let Shallow Dan campaign on his own time!

  3. sisterhood

    Gunrocik’s quote, not mine. As usual, I agree with everything you just wrote.

    My mom used to be a dental assistant. So she offered nothing but water, and an occasional Kool Aid on very special occasions. I never developed a taste for sugar water and the only thing that satisfies my quench, to this day, is water, Pellegrino, or unsweetened iced tea. My kids were only allowed water, but when school started, they began their craving for soda. I also blame the many soccer, softball, and little league games where parents brought Sunny Delite, Gatorade, and other sweet drinks! Oh well.

    1. Rich RifkinWDE 73

      My kids were only allowed water, but when school started, they began their craving for soda. I also blame the many soccer, softball, and little league games where parents brought Sunny Delite, Gatorade, and other sweet drinks! Oh well.

      As a general rule (though perhaps not correct in your specific case), you should blame two other things in my opinion:

      1. Blame yourself for being a prohibitionist. Very often, when parents do not allow their kids to eat certain things or do certain activities, those things or activities become tantalizing, and almost any kid, as an act of rebellion, will want to try them, and in many cases go overboard. Generally, assuming the food or drink or whatever is not truly toxic in any amount, the best strategy is to let the kid try it now and then in your presence, but teach him just why it is bad for his health if he consumes it regularly; and

      2. Blame biology. Humans are wired to love sweets. Our species evolved when sweets were very rarely available, other than when naturally growing fruits were fully ripe and abundant. People ate as much as they could in order to gain weight, as a strategy to survive those times when calories were not available. So if a person did not like sweets, he was much less likely to survive. The problem in contemporary times is that sweets are extremely cheap, always available and physically disassociated with all natural fibers that our bodies need to properly process them without damaging our pancreatic functions.

      1. sisterhood

        #1 Not really. We taught our kids moderation. They didn’t see their folks drinking soda so they didn’t ask for it. Re: making forbidden activities more desirable: We taught our kids not to solve problems by slapping and hitting. It did not make them want to be violent.

        #2. A piece of fruit is relatively inexpensive, and has the benefits of sweetness without as many dangers.

        1. Rich RifkinWDE 73

          SISTER: My kids were only allowed water, but when school started, they began their craving for soda. …  I blame the parents (who) brought … sweet drinks!


          RIFKIN: Blame yourself for being a prohibitionist. 


          SISTER: Not really. We taught our kids moderation.

          Hold on, Sister. If your kids “were only allowed water,” then by definition you were a soda prohibitionist. That might be part of the reason they “craved it.” If you had actually been more moderate, it would have been far less tantalizing to them seeing other kids who brought sweet drinks from home. Yet, as I also noted above, the biological craving for sweets is hard wired into human evolution. So that is part of the equation, too.

  4. Clem Kadiddlehopper

    There is nothing that is not damaging in an excessive amount. A lot of anything will bring bad consequences. This includes anything we consider “good” such as vitamins and minerals and government.

  5. Anon

    I suspect this is a solution in search of a problem.  If anyone thinks such an ordinance will make one iota of difference, they are living in dreamland.  If parents are already allowing their children to drink lots of soda, then when the family gets to a restaurant and the kid wants soda, do you think this ordinance will make a hill of beans difference?  The parent will allow their kid a soda.  It is not likely such an ordinance will change anything.  But if proponents of this ordinance are so convinced it will do some good, then there should be some objective record keeping, so that after one year (or whatever time frame you want to choose) of such an ordinance, there is some data that actually proves/disproves the ordinance made a difference.  Otherwise this is tilting at windmills, wasting time, and moving the City Council away from paying attention to the city’s real problems.   It is also wasting money through staff time.

    1. Tia Will

      If anyone thinks such an ordinance will make one iota of difference, they are living in dreamland. “

      I may be living in public health dreamland, but I fundamentally disagree with this point. I believe that two important factors in decision making are what is convenient and what is viewed as normal. I believe that it would be possible to shift perceptions away from the the normalcy of the sweetened drinks ( whether with sugar or artificial sweeteners which do seem to have deleterious effects just as Rich pointed out) by making them less conspicuously available.

      I think that we have one example where local, state and national policies worked together to lower the rate of a very dangerous habit, namely smoking. Education, banning advertising targeting children and adolescents and progressive public exclusion of the dangerous activity can decrease its attractiveness over time. I believe that this could work for sweetened beverages just as it did for tobacco.

      I very much disagree that this is not a just a county or state or national issue but can and should be addressed on the local level as well.

      1. hpierce

        Right… and if Davis spends 10’s of thousands of dollars to pursue this issue, KFC, etc. will change their advertising that might reach Davis homes, order their franchisees to either comply or close up shop… yeah.

        Perhaps all fast food places should be banned from the City, and any restaurant who offers sugary drinks as a first choice should be also.

        Guess what industry provides the most sales tax revenue (general fund) to Davis…

        Parents need to be adults, and PARENTS, and direct the choices.  NOT the City (even tho’ it’s cute to call the CC ‘city fathers (or mothers [double entendre intended]).

        1. Tia Will


          I understand the issue of parental autonomy. So is it ok for parents to get their kids addicted to cigarettes by providing them to them anywhere where it is legal to smoke ?  How about giving their kids as much alcohol as the parent sees fit ?  Ok to let them get drunk because the parent thinks their behavior in that state is cute, or funny ?  How about giving the prescribed narcotic medication not for the pain relief for which it was intended, but because the parent is tired of dealing with them and wants them to fall asleep ?  Any of these not ok with you ?

          If not, I would suggest that the underlying reason is “child endangerment”. We are not talking about hypothetical risk here. We are talking about a real, and very, very costly epidemic in our country to which Davis is not immune.

          We are talking about making money ( and thus funds to the city in the form of sales taxes) off the future illness of others. Just as the tobacco companies did. This comes with its own costs in terms of increased days of illness, decreased productivity, and increased medical costs

          From a public health perspective, when will we learn that poisoning ourselves and our children for private profit and tax revenues is not, in the long run, a winning strategy and should be discouraged…not banned.

  6. Michelle Millet

    I’m glad Mayor Wolk has brought attention to this issue. I hope it raises awareness about the negative effects of all sugary beverages, not just soda.  (I see way to many 1st graders drinking 20 ounce containers of Gatorade).

    While this ordinance works to decrease the amount of sugary beverages served in restaurants we are continuing to serve it, (for “free” to our low-income kids) in our schools in the form of chocolate milk. I hope First Five will consider working to eliminate the distribution of this beverage in our schools breakfast and lunch programs. (As well as the sugared cereal, chocolate graham crackers cookies, and pop tarts that are served for breakfast to our children that qualify for the free breakfast program).

      1. Barack Palin

        I have no problem with what a public institution decides to do on public property when it comes to school snacks.  Where I have a problem is when government gets involved and tells private business what they can serve and not serve.  What’s next, no more Big Macs?

        1. South of Davis

          BP wrote:

          > I have no problem with what a public institution

          > decides to do on public property

          Maybe they should get rid of the fruit loops, pop tarts and chocolate milk that the schools feed to poor kids every day before trying to regulate what kids get in a happy meal…

        2. Tia Will

          No one is stopping anyone from serving anything. The proposal would allow the service sweetened beverages if specifically requested, just not offered as the default. Your argument would be much stronger if you were to stick with the facts of the measure.

  7. justme

    OMG!!!!   My drink of choice is ice tea but if I want to have a soda with my dinner occasionally whos business is it?????  I notice NO ONE is mentioning that there is also sugar in wines and beers…  When will that be outlawed??????????????  Hope there isnt anyone who enjoys a nice glass of wine with their dinner!!!  Next they will be proposing that everyone must use specific toilet paper to wipe their butts!

  8. Sam

    I am glad someone who is “more knowledgeable” than I am can just make decisions for the better of the community. Why don’t we just have a government that makes all the decisions for us for the better of the commune?

        1. Sam

          Yes it is that bad. What business does someone have telling me what I can or can’t feed my children? Mr. Wolk is assuming that he knows better than me how to raise my children and what to feed them and is taking that choice away from me. You can make a case that feeding a child almost anything is either healthy or unhealthy, but somehow Mr. Wolk knows what is best and given the chance will force me into his decision by the power of law. I’m not advocating for soda specifically, but for the right to make a choice. My body, or in this case my kids, my choice. Not his.  

          1. David Greenwald

            Under this intiative you can feed your kids what everyou want, all it does is change the default from soda to milk or water. You’re welcome to get soda, if that’s your preference.

      1. Biddlin

        Predictably idiotic comment, since you can’t get further left than me and I was the first to call BS. I’m popping a fizzy drink and smoking a bowl, right now.


  9. Gunrocik

    Once again — this is a non-issue.  This is an issue for the County and/or the State.  We need to keep our eye on the ball and not let Shallow Dan use the mayor’s pulpit for his Senate election.

    Saylor and Provenza get full time salaries and have dedicated staff to deal with this — and actually have a part of their charter that deals with public health.

    The City of Davis isn’t the venue for this.

    We need to FOCUS, FOCUS, FOCUS on budget and infrastructure and stay away from these sorts of issues.

    1. Tia Will

      We need to FOCUS, FOCUS, FOCUS on budget and infrastructure and stay away from these sorts of issues.”

      I could not disagree with you more. Epidemics are a public health issue at all levels. They have tremendous costs both monetary and social. Most of us do not have difficulty seeing reduction in cases of flu as a public health issue. Most of us were concerned at least on some level with Ebola, even thought the risk of that within the United States was very low. When I wrote the article on Ebola, not one person commented that it was ridiculous for Kaiser to be taking precautions on the local level even though the risk of anyone in Davis contracting Ebola was vastly less than the risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, Type II diabetes leading to huge medical expenses and premature deaths of children now being provided sugary beverages as the default drink in packaged meals.

      Obesity and its secondary health problems, while not applying to everyone, are epidemic in numbers. This should be the business of every responsible adult in our community and is certainly the business of the Mayor and City Council.

      From my perspective, it is the demand to FOCUS, FOCUS, FOCUS on a single aspect of the prosperity of our community that leads us astray. Was it not relative neglect of our infrastructure that has led to the current condition of our roads. Was it not in some people’s eyes ignoring economic development that got us into budgetary problems?

      So why would we think that simply ignoring any aspect of the well being of our community is going to be a productive strategy. From my point of view, the wisest strategy and the biggest challenge is to keep in mind the need for balance in all aspects that contribute to the ability of our community to thrive.

      1. Gunrocik

        You are missing my main point.  Public Health is a County issue, not a City issue.  They are the ones with the resources and the staff to actually make a difference.  If you want to foster change, you need to address it at a level where there is actually the infrastructure in place to do something about it.

        At the City level they don’t have the expertise, resources or staff to do anything but talk about it.

        Show me within the structure of City government where they regulate pubic health in any way shape or form?  Even when it comes to any police or code enforcement action related to public health, they bring in the County to regulate that portion of an enforcement action.

        This is purely a political move on Shallow Dan’s part — and is actually damaging as it is diverting the issue from the County, which is where it belongs.




      2. Mark West

        “This should be the business of every responsible adult in our community and is certainly the business of the Mayor and City Council.”


        I agree with the good Doctor that addressing the complicated health issues brought about by excess sugar in our diet, especially the sweeteners incorporated into processed foods, is the ‘business of every responsible adult,’ which by most people’s definition would include the Mayor and the other individual members of the City Council.  It is not however the business or expertise of the City of Davis, and therefore is not appropriately the business of the City Council as an entity.

        The effort to have the City Council weigh in on every sundry topic is the sort of muddle headed thinking that gives us a City Council that is unable to set priorities and therefore unable to appropriately address the needs of the community that are in fact the expertise and business of the City and City Council.

        1. Alan Miller

          Bottom line, choices and information good, telling businesses what to do, bad, parents who raise their children without thought to how their lifestyles affect their children’s health, bad, but probably not government’s business, except maybe to inform, and even that is questionable.

          When I was a freshman at UCD in the late 70’s, the food in the dorms was almost all crap.  Now, there is crap, but there is also a salad bar and healthier choices.  There are also more challenges, like a culture that drives their kids to school instead of biking and walking (even though the health risk of not getting that exercise is certain and the chance of a goon jumping out of the bushes and stealing a kid is one-in-a-million).

          So having choices, good.  It’s hard to make a healthy choice when none is available.

          But also, let’s not be stupid and think low-fat milk and diet soda is healthy.  Puh-leeeeez!

  10. Miwok

    Finally someone gets it, that Mayor Wolk is proposing Legislation to control you and yours… Finally the conversation ended about chemistry and nutrition lessons and realized it is a control issue.

    If the Yolo 5 or First 5 or whoever this is wants to control peoples’ choices, I guess they will, but making choices available when they are not seems okay. Aggressive signage regarding dietary choices may become the way to encourage people, information is not control. Limiting choices or taxing choices is wrong. Maybe the new Federal regulation regarding calorie signage may be helpful. I know it is for me, and I may buy “that thing” that is 1100 calories, but I won’t finish it.

    The CC is wasting time and making headlines AGAIN with the usual eye-rolling topics.

    1. Tia Will

      OK, one more time for those who are having difficulty understanding.

      What is being suggested is not a ban or limitation on what you can order, or what you can choose to give to your children. There is nothing in the proposal to stop you from ordering 10 sweetened beverages for your child if that is what you want to do. The proposal is intended to not “automatically” provide a soda ( or other sweetened beverage) as part of a pre-packaged meal. I fail to see how anyone could possibly believe that this is limiting your personal choices in any way at all ( unless or course you count the three seconds required to say “We would like a coke with that please) as an infringement on your rights.

      I don’t mind anyone criticizing the actions of Mayor Wolk or anyone else in public life for that matter. But it becomes beyond ridiculous when you claim he ( or Yolo First 5) or anyone else is infringing on your rights when your “rights” are not changed.

      1. sisterhood

        Agree. Maybe readers fail to realize that the restaurants are “controlling” them by selecting a drink in the kids’ meal to begin with. They have already limited our choice by mandating a certain default beverage.

        1. Tia Will

          Gunrocik I did not miss your point. I simply disagree with it. While it is true that this is the way that it has been defined and the way the resources have been distributed does not mean that this is the only, or even the best way to address public health. I believe that there is a role for everyone at every level of individual care, city level initiatives, school board level measures, county, state and national. We do not have to lock ourselves into only one mode because that is how we have done things traditionally. I personally would like to see major change in this area. Individual communities stepped up in terms of regulation of smoking and I think that was an excellent model and provided clear precedent of what can be achieved if someone is willing to look at what we as individuals and individual communities can do. The only one’s stopping us from developing a new paradigm are ourselves. I personally am ready for a change.

        2. Tia Will


          Being an OB/GYN, what if gov’t legislated what you must offer for default birth control?”

          If there is clear evidence that the default that I am currently using is harmful or not as effective as is the case with the sugary beverages, then I would say “good for the government” and would very willingly adopt the better option as my default. This is what evidence based medicine is all about. The only condition I would make is that the less helpful alternative still remain available for those who strongly feel that it is the best option for them as is the case here. This is not a ban on anything. It is attempting to re frame what is more desirable to drink in people’s minds. Do you really believe that actually having to ask for something is an infringement on your rights ?

        3. Barack Palin

          Tia Will, let me rephrase what I said a little bit.  I said gov’t in general, but let’s take this to the local level.  What if Dan Wolk through citing different studies decided he didn’t like you using the default birth control you’re now subscribing and mandated that you go to a different default that’s approved by him?

      2. Anon

        I don’t necessarily believe this is an attempt to control individuals as much as an attempt to control private business.  That said, I just don’t see it as solving anything, since parents who allow their children to drink sugary sodas are not likely to deter their kids from drinking sugary sodas at a restaurant.  It is a solution in search of a problem.  It takes the City Council off track from solving the very real fiscal problems that it should be addressing and is within its purview.

        1. Miwok

          Thank you, Tia, and Anon,

          I feel that businesses serving drinks will now spend more money on the Mayor’s campaign than to be controlled by the City Council. It is at least a County issue, and many kids like to go out to eat because they may get a sugary drink not at home. My upbringing was NO Pepsi/Coke except on a weekend or a special occasion, like eating out in a restaurant or fast food.

          Obviously the source of food in a kids’ life is
          1. Home
          2. restaurants
          3. Amusement parks and other places

          Attack the home life and you will get a tiger by the tail. I agree that this is a big issue, but not for a CC. Limiting a place to Coke or Pepsi can be a form of restraint as well, who is at fault for that?

          I wish you good luck, I know it doesn’t affect me, Tia. I just don’t like to see this kind of talk from a CC. People like this hope to slip something through they can point to as an accomplishment. Can’t let Berkeley out-do Davis?

  11. Barack Palin

    Announcement:  City Council to pass ordinance that candy can no longer be given out on Halloween

    All former candy givers must now provide healthy city approved treats only

    $500 fine for any house giving out city unsanctioned goods

    Will be enforced by height challenged officers dressed like trick or treaters






  12. TrueBlueDevil

    I think they should just STOP these SILLY discussions, and figure out how to pave the streets, pay the pensions, and fund needed new infrastructure like the city pools (after the bigger issues are tackled).

  13. Tia Will


    Tia Will, let me rephrase what I said a little bit.  I said gov’t in general, but let’s take this to the local level.  What if Dan Wolk through citing different studies decided he didn’t like you using the default birth control you’re now subscribing and mandated that you go to a different default that’s approved by him?”

    Thanks for sticking with this topic with me because I believe that it is important. What is important to me is what the best evidence shows, not who is making the proposal. So let’s suppose that I have become a little complacent and have not read the latest reproductive studies demonstrating that my default birth control method has been superceded by something better. Now let’s further suppose that Dan Wolk, knowing that he has no special knowledge in the field, really does his homework and reads all the latest journals on the subject and reviews them in context and comes to the correct conclusion that his default is better than mine. If he is correct, then I should listen to him ( after reviewing his references )and change my default. As long as I still have the ability to offer the full range of options, this represents the best practice and I should adopt it gratefully with appreciation for his efforts to keep me up to date.

    That is clearly the case here. No one is asserting that water is not a healthier option than are sweetened beverages. Mayor Wolk is objectively correct. Furthermore, he is not depriving anyone of anything. His proposal allows anyone to have any beverage that they prefer. The only change is that the provision of the admittedly unhealthy drink not be automatic.  I really have a hard time seeing why anyone ( except those benefiting monetarily from the sales of these unhealthy drinks) would object to such a modest and sensible suggestion.

  14. Tia Will


    I think they should just STOP these SILLY discussions, and figure out how to pave the streets, pay the pensions, and fund needed new infrastructure like the city pools (after the bigger issues are tackled).”

    Frankly, I do not see these discussion as the least bit “silly”. For me there is no bigger issue than health, be it individual, community or national. We spend far more money annually on preventable health problems than is spent by any other comparable country. Notice the emphasis on the word “preventable”. The actual Frankly, on a different thread, has accurately identified health as the basis from which all else is possible.

    Years ago, we started on a course to decrease the amount of smoking with local, regional and national campaigns to discourage smoking. I have been around long enough to remember the push back campaigns including ” stop telling me what to do”, “it isn’t the job of the ….. fill in your own branch of government”, ” it is a solution in search of a problem” ( with regard to second hand smoke subsequently confirmed as a real risk). The combined effort has been successful in decreasing smoking rates amongst adults with a corresponding decrease in the rates of the directly associated diseases.

    Any non punitive measure that we take to reduce the consumption of  unhealthy foods and beverages now will more than pay for itself in terms of decreased health costs and premature deaths in the future. Please notice the word “premature”. I am well aware that living longer also has its costs, but living healthy longer is much less expensive than being ill and living longer.

  15. Tia Will


    Tia. I just don’t like to see this kind of talk from a CC.”

    Honest question. Why not? If someone has a better idea of how to approach an issue, why does it matter who that person is ?

  16. Anon

    “I really have a hard time seeing why anyone ( except those benefiting monetarily from the sales of these unhealthy drinks) would object to such a modest and sensible suggestion.”

    IMO, and many others, this is the City Council unnecessarily involving itself in private business decisions in a way that wastes the City Council’s time and will not have any effect on the problem of childhood obesity.  If you are so convinced that this is a wise move by the City Council, then I challenge you and the City Council to keep data to prove that this ordinance is efficacious.

    1. Tia Will


      then I challenge you and the City Council to keep data to prove that this ordinance is efficacious.”

      And what data would you consider evidence of efficacy. And if I were to keep the data, how much would you recommend I be compensated for my time ?  Or are you volunteering me to volunteer ?  How about you help me keep track and your on ?

  17. Frankly

    As Meryl Streep says in the movie The Giver:

    “When people have the freedom to choose, they choose wrong … every single time.”

    Welcome to pursuit of unattainable utopia.  The problem we face is that some have not yet figured out it is unattainable and their pursuits are doomed to cause more harm than good.

    1. Don Shor

      Cities can promote good health for their youngest residents and support parents in purchasing healthy beverages for their children by adopting a policy that requires restaurants to offer water or low-fat milk as part of any kids’ meal unless a customer specifically requests an alternative beverage.

      I wonder how many local restaurants would just do this voluntarily if staff did outreach. Seems like it could be good PR to publicly agree to provide healthier options.

      1. Anon

        Do you really want city staff wasting their time on this?  How much public outreach did you have in mind?  And why stop at sugary drinks.  How about banning hot dogs to kids, or fatty hamburgers or cholesterol-loaded grilled cheese?  No potato chips or corn chips, and of course no desserts other than fresh fruit?  Where does this end?

        1. Don Shor

          Nobody is banning anything, as far as I can tell. But I would prefer that Mayor Dan Wolk spend the time talking to restaurant owners, rather than have staff develop a city ordinance.

        2. hpierce

          Ok  “all great ideas”:

          Wasting City staff on encouraging restaurants to eschew sugary drinks, hot dogs for kids, fatty hamburgers, and grilled cheese sandwiches.  No potato chips, corn chips, and no desserts other than fresh fruit.

          And that would be a “start”.

          Disagree with your ‘world view’, but agree that we don’t need to go out of our way to promote those things.

          Or, perhaps the City should promote abstinence from sex for minors (or legally ban it), to avoid health issues arising from sexual activity.  Might reduce the number of cases of gestational diabetes.


      2. hpierce

        And staff from WHAT City department should do this?  If there is City staff available to take this on, I, regrettably, have to agree with some other posters that the City is “overstaffed”.  What level of staff (HS intern to CM) should be assigned?

        Suggest concerned posters, Vanguard board, David, or someone else volunteer for such an out-reach.  Maybe a volunteer boycott and/or picketing?  Either City staff have more important things on their plate, or perhaps there are too many “plate-holders”.

  18. Tia Will


    “a substance with an inherent property that tends to destroy or impair health”

    because a private food business puts a soda in a kid’s lunch?”

    For a different perspective, this is not about a single private business putting a single soda in a single kids lunch. This is because thousands of private businesses are putting millions of “poisons” by the above definition ( not disputed by anyone as far as I can tell) in the lunch’s of millions of kids. The consequences of this are decayed teeth, altered sugar metabolism, obesity, increased risk of Type II diabetes with its increased risk of multiple organ failure, kidney failure with need for dialysis or renal transplant, amputations, blindness, cardiovascular disease, pregnancy complications.

    If the government were proposing the provision of any substance perceived, whether truthfully or not, to be harmful, imagine the outcry.  Oh, wait……you don’t have to imagine. We have the case of fluoride, in which case some posters here, knowing it was not truthful, accused the government and local public health officials of trying to poison our children.But, because this is are actions by private individuals and companies for profit it seems to be that the government and public health officials must take a hands off approach because of course it is “harmless” ( a solution in search of a problem), or none of “our business” or a government power grab, to try to take positive steps to encourage more healthful choices for the millions of children that stand to be “poisoned” ( have their health adversely affected) , not be taking away anyone’s right, but merely by changing the order of offering.

    Sound familiar ?  The car companies complaining that government shouldn’t be involved in emissions control no matter how bad the smog was in LA. The cigarette companies complaining that regardless of demonstrated causality of cigarettes and cancer, the government had no right to stop them from advertising to children.  The manufacturers of “supplements” advertised as health aides some of which have serious liver toxicity but which cannot be regulated because they are not “medicine” although their manufacturers freely claim “miraculous results”.  We have a known epidemic in our society. It is fueled in large part by addiction to a deleterious substance at an early age. It costs our society millions and millions of dollars in preventable health care costs. It results in untold amounts of pain and suffering for millions who were too young to know what was happening at the time of their addiction.

    And yet we hear:

    “1. This is taking away our rights

    2. Its not a real problem

    3. This is needless government meddling, or the wrong branch of government

    4. This is a ban”

    I am unapologetic in my view that it is those of you who hold any of these opinions who do not have your priorities straight. It is our responsibility as adults to protect children. Not just our own children, but any that we see endangered.

    This suggestion attempts to protect our children, while at the same time, fully preserving the rights of their parents and businesses to poison them. Really folks…..what could be better !






  19. Anon

    Tia Will: “These [banning sugary drinks, fatty foods] are all great ideas. However, I would recommend one  step at a time.”

    So you are conceding that you want our gov’t to start dictating what foods are offered by restaurants to children.  What next?  What type of food parents can eat at a restaurant? (After all, we want parents to eat healthy meals for the sake of the children so parents will be around to take care of their kids.)  What type of car parents can drive? (Cars that are safest for children to ride in.)  Where does this end?

    Secondly, you never answered my question about collecting data.  If you are so convinced that such an ordinance in regard to sugary drinks will work, then I think it is only fair to collect data to see if the ordinance has any effect over a period of years.  You seem to like to decide things based on facts, so you shouldn’t have any problem with collecting data as part of the ordinance.  If you are not willing, then I have to wonder whether you really believe in your own ordinance.

    Third, this ordinance is going to take inordinate amounts of the City Council and staff’s time, on an issue that neither really has control over.  Habits are very unlikely to be changed just because a restaurant serves low fat milk as the default drink for a kid’s meal.  If a child is being fed sugary drinks at home, they will be fed sugary drinks at a restaurant.  Furthermore it would make far more logical sense to force restaurants to default to a healthy meal for kids, than just the drink portion.

    Fourth, instead of passing an ordinance and all the time, energy and money that would waste, which starts down a slippery slope of creating a mini”nanny state” in Davis (the local gov’t is now going to decide what is healthy when in fact there is open debate on such things, e.g. how much fat people should intake, etc – you read the debate here on regular milk vs non-fat), why not suggest to restaurants that they offer children healthy meals as a default?  See how many restaurants take up the suggestion.  Don’t assume they need to be ordered to do so.

    I know as a parent, I stopped ordering kids meals, because the food that was served was usually inferior and disgusting.  I usually let them order what they wanted, or gave them some of mine if they liked what I was ordering.

    For me personally, the main issue is the waste of time, money and effort that will be spent by the city on an ordinance that is not likely to have any effect whatsoever on childhood obesity, while major budget issues facing the city get pushed to the side.  We have seen this happen in the past with things like the plastic bag ban, proclamations on national issues outside of the City Council’s purview, wood burning ordinance, etc.

    1. Don Shor

      why not suggest to restaurants that they offer children healthy meals as a default? See how many restaurants take up the suggestion.

      Exactly. If Dan wants to take a leadership role on this issue, he should take the time and effort himself to see if a voluntary program could be set up. That would be a winning strategy, and could be a positive accomplishment for him to point to as he seeks higher office.

  20. Tia Will


    Point by point

    1.”So you are conceding that you want our gov’t to start dictating what foods are offered by restaurants to children.”

    I am “conceding” nothing. This is not a “dictate”.  It is not a ban. Any of the same items can be obtained, just on request. To continue to argue that this is a ban is a willful distortion of the proposal.

    2.”What next? “

    I do not share the paranoid vision behind the question “what next”? I believe that each and every proposal should be judged on its own merits.

    3. “Habits are very unlikely to be changed just because a restaurant serves low fat milk as the default drink for a kid’s meal.  If a child is being fed sugary drinks at home, they will be fed sugary drinks at a restaurant. “

    This is demonstrably not true. We have the model for how changes in behavior outside the home can affect those in the home in smoking. It has taken 40 + years for the paradigm as a nation that accepted smoking everywhere including out doctors offices, virtually all work places, restaurants, amusement parks and homes to one in which smoking does not occur in any of those public places and many of my patients make the point of telling me that they go outside of their own homes to smoke because they do not want to expose their own children either to the second hand smoke or the sight of them smoking.  You would be correct if only one restaurant changed, but it the vast majority, or all did, we would have the makings of real change. We know what to do, we have the model, we just have to make a start.

  21. Tia Will

    Anon ( response part 2)

    4. “Secondly, you never answered my question about collecting data.” 

    I certainly did respond. I think you may not have taken me seriously. I strongly believe in the collection of data. I offered an opportunity for you and I ( and any such others as have time since I still have a day job) to collaborate on a volunteer effort to do this so as not, as you put it “waste the time of our city leaders and staff”. As it was your idea, I think it would be reasonable for you to take the lead.

    3. “ a slippery slope of creating a mini”nanny state” in Davis”

    The use of the phrase “nanny state” implies to me that the person using it has dropped into automatic “don’t interfere with me” mode, without considering the merits of the proposal. It is an attempt to undermine support for one proposal by raising fears of what may happen in the future. I don’t fear the future. I believe in making decisions based on evidence, not fear of what “may” or “may not” happen.

    4. “I know as a parent, I stopped ordering kids meals, because the food that was served was usually inferior and disgusting. “

    That’s great that you, as a parent, made the healthier decision. The problem is that not everyone will choose as wisely. This is a nudge, not a mandate or a ban, in a healthier direction.

    5. It seems a key difference is that you view this proposal as  ineffective and a waste of time. I view it as a model that has already been proven successful with one very large public health success, the decrease in smoking rates with secondary health benefits. You value the monetary health of the city over the personal health of citizens. I place my values differently. It would seem to me that the best approach would be to respect each others values and work on both concomitantly rather than insisting that only our own concern be addressed.


  22. Anon

    To Tia: Simply put, “you get more with honey than with vinegar”.  My belief is, as Don Shor has suggested, trying to control food choices should be a voluntary program, not a gov’t mandate.  On this we will have to agree to disagree.

    I would also point out that while the gov’t is ostensibly working to cut down on smoking, at the same time some local gov’t is allowing/encouraging recreational smoking – marijuana to be exact.

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      Good point. Don’t forget that Daniel Marsh was high when he killed those 2 senior citizens, and Michael Brown was high when he tried to take an officer’s gun.

    2. Tia Will


      I have no problem with a monitored short term voluntary trial. If a benchmark of progress was set and then not obtained, I would recommend moving forward with a formal proposal.

      local gov’t is allowing/encouraging recreational smoking – marijuana to be exact.”

      I fail to see what this has to do with the discussion other than your desire to take a  an irrelevant  jab at the government.

      1. Don Shor

        If a benchmark of progress was set and then not obtained

        Since the proposal is for options to be presented with a healthier default, what sort of benchmark did you have in mind?
        I see in the Enterprise that Dan’s proposal is for staff to

        “engage in outreach with local restaurants about the proposed changes prior to returning to City Council.”

  23. Tia Will


    I actually don’t have one in mind at this point in time. It would take someone doing some research into the estimated caloric contribution of these drinks in children’s diets and establishing some means of determining the percentage decrease in these beverages consumed by children in town ( numbers that could be kept by monitoring the number of children’s menus sold pre and post change) which could be done off receipts I suppose and then fitting this to some model to see if it was making a significant change. I am notoriously bad with numbers and statistics as you all know, so this is not a good area for me, but I am quite sure that this would make a nice project for some nutrition, public health and/ or statistics students to take on.



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