Commentary: Threat of Beverage Industry Enough to Roll the Mayor Off Soda Tax Proposal

Mayor Wolk

Many were stunned to see Mayor Dan Wolk bail on his signature issue just two weeks after a coalition that included his mother, Senator Lois Wolk, along with Dr. Harold Goldstein, former Assemblymember Helen Thomson and former Mayor Ann Evans brought the issue to the city council.

On December 1 during public comment, Senator Lois Wolk, speaking for the first time at a city council meeting where her son was presiding as mayor, said, “I support your consideration of this issue.” She noted that for the last four years, “we have tried to deal with this issue of either taxing sugary beverages or putting labels on these beverages. We have not been successful in getting out of either the Assembly Health Committee or sometimes the Senate Health Committee.”

Senator Wolk continued, “I think it’s time for people to have their say.” She added that these considerations offer a real opportunity for the city of Davis – for the children and the public health of Davis.

While she clearly stopped short of endorsing the soda tax, she made it clear the need to put the matter on the ballot to allow the people to have their say.

For his part, the mayor told me two days later, “I’m working on the soda tax. Like the idea.”

Two weeks later, Mayor Wolk attempted to use his prerogative as mayor to jump ahead of his colleagues in an effort to frame the message. The effort by the mayor to do this is not only highly unusual for any mayor, but particularly for this mayor, who has often seemed disengaged on the issues and has rarely weighed in on substantial matters in recent weeks.

On Tuesday, Mayor Wolk pushed away from the soda tax and back toward the need for revenue measures to address infrastructure.

He even couched his record on public health issues, pushing away from the soda tax while stating, “I say this as someone whose record on public health is unquestionable…”

But is it anymore? It was a year ago last November that the mayor rolled out a series of initiatives to promote healthier eating options for kids, including the healthy beverage choices for children at local restaurants that was approved by council to make healthier beverages the default choice.

He told the Enterprise last year, “I’ve always had a concern for the next generation. I have two young kids myself.”

While the healthy beverages initiative earned some notoriety and scorn, the soda tax would actually have some teeth, as evidenced by the sudden notice CalBev (the non-alcoholic beverage industry throughout California) and others in the beverage industry took of Davis.

Dr. Harold Goldstein told the Vanguard on Friday that CalBev is already in Davis, simply based on two paragraphs in the local paper, and he expected them to spend $2 million against the soda tax in Davis.

Neil Ruud, a local activist in support of the measure, told the Vanguard, “We were told to expect the sugary beverage industry’s intimidation tactics early on in the process, but it always surprises me how much influence big money can have.”  He added, “It’s good to know that Davis is a community where grassroots support is really the most important thing.”

None of this was particularly surprising then. The surprise was that Mayor Wolk, one of the champions of children’s health initiatives – with a group of supporters from Senator Wolk to former Assemblymember Helen Thomson to former Mayor Ann Evans to former School Board member and current interim-director of First 5 Yolo Gina Daleiden backing the soda tax – would be the first to blink.

The Vanguard has learned that one of the tactics that the beverage industry employs is the threat of finding elected officials whose opponents they could back. The Vanguard learned on Wednesday that the beverage industry threatened the mayor that they would back one of his opponents with heavy finances if he continued to press for the soda tax.

Mayor Wolk is locked in a battle, perhaps as a frontrunner, to replace Assemblymember Bill Dodd, whose endorsement he just announced on Wednesday, in the Assembly.

Based on that threat alone, Dan Wolk in just two weeks went from a supporter to someone trying to kill the soda tax in Davis.

Make no mistake, the soda tax had an uphill battle from the start, even without the intervention and deep pockets of the beverage industry. Many in the community have pushed back on the idea – arguing that it would have a detrimental impact on local business and that it misplaced the city’s priorities away from core needs like roads and toward lower priority issues.

As Kevin Wan, owner of Sophia’s, argued in an op-ed, “Whatever the outcome, Davis businesses and residents pay the price. The Davis City Council has set a goal to ‘undertake actions to recruit and retain businesses.’ Taxes that single out retailers for selling products consumers want are neither attractive to new businesses nor sustainable for existing ones.”

More small business people came out on Tuesday in opposition to the tax.

However, support and opposition to the tax is almost a side issue now. Wherever you come down on the specifics of the soda tax, the fact that the mayor would roll on such a strongly personally held issue does not bode well for his ability to stand up to the pressures of lobbyists in Sacramento.

As former California Assembly Speaker Jesse Unruh once said, “If you can’t eat their food, drink their booze, screw their women, take their money and then vote against them you’ve got no business being up here.”

In a Facebook post, Supervisor Matt Rexroad was pointed, calling the capitulation of Mayor Wolk “pathetic” and stating, “So while I agree with the Mayor of Davis…. can you appear more weak and lacking the courage of your convictions?” He added, “[B]elieve whatever you are going to believe just try to be slightly consistent.”

The Vanguard has been a supporter of the Children’s Health Initiative, and called a year ago for the city to consider a soda tax.

For the Vanguard, the statistics are alarming. Dr. Goldstein pointed out that a study between 1977 and 2001 looked into the issue and found that, in 2001, people on average were consuming 278 calories more per day than they were in 1977.

That doesn’t sound like a whole lot, but it is. It is estimated that, for every 3500 extra calories, a person gains one pound. At 278 extra calories a day, that means that, every two weeks or so, people are gaining one additional pound. Over the course of a year, that means the typical person could be adding up to 25 to 30 pounds.

Dr. Goldstein noted that the perception that people have to dramatically overeat to gain a lot of weight is false. Moreover, of those 278 calories, about 43 percent is coming from the consumption of beverages.

One soda a day increases the risk of obesity by 50 percent and increases the risk of getting diabetes by 30 percent. Twenty-five percent of teens in California are diagnosed with diabetes or pre-diabetes.

How attributable are these factors to sodas? Dr. Goldstein believes that the research shows that sweetened beverages are responsible for half of the problem and that we need to start addressing this epidemic by starting with the biggest culprit first.

Meanwhile, it was Mayor Pro Tem Robb Davis who was left to make the case for the soda tax.

“Each generation has its public health challenges,” Robb Davis stated.  “My generation, it was cigarettes and a tax on cigarettes was going to destroy small businesses,” he said, pointing to the audience.  “And it hasn’t and we’re healthier.”

Mayor Pro Tem Davis added, “It is causing the public health crisis of this generation.  That is our crisis, there is no other.  Some people are living with it, some of you are going to die from it, or your kids are.”

Unfortunately this week, the children of Davis have lost one more advocate to the beverage industry and to the real world of politics.

—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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106 Comments

  1. Tia Will

    it misplaced the city’s priorities away from core needs like roads and towards lower priority issues.”

    I see the most important “core need” as the health and wellness of our community. Everything else is a “lower priority issue”. Many of you also believed this when the fear was the theoretical risk of Ebola, but you do not believe it with the actual epidemic of diabetes. Amazing !

    1. Frankly

      This dichotomous thinking is invalid.

      It is not that there are people that care about diabetes and people that don’t care about diabetes.  It is that there are people that see this soda tax as completely ineffective and useless in terms of making any real progress on decreasing the rate of diabetes.   It is them against people like yourself that are pursuing a feel-good policy.  Or against those that are exploiting the desire for people like yourself demanding a feel-good policy to loot more in tax revenue that they will use to pad their pockets and the pockets of their friends.

      1. Tia Will

        Frankly

        there are people that see this soda tax as completely ineffective and useless in terms of making any real progress on decreasing the rate of diabetes.”

        Oh for heaven’s sake. Could you put down your copy of the Fountainhead for just a moment.

        First, neither of us knows whether or not this soda tax would have a significant impact of not. I suspect there would be a modest impact, which added to other efforts to improve health might make a difference. Even very small improvements can have very large impacts. ( I just had my blood sugar rechecked in my Coke less state) and my numbers remain normalized.

        I don’t see anything at all wrong with “feeling good” about improvements in individual and/or public health. I heard all of the same arguments about cigarettes. Increasing prices would have “no effect”. They would be “bad for business”. Never mind that their business was extremely bad, lethal in fact, for many of their customers. Each small step was argued against as not being a panacea, even though no one was ever claiming it would be. If we had continued down that road we would still have the number of deaths from oral, pharyngeal, bronchial, lung, cervical and bladder cancer as we did when Americans were smoking at higher rates.

        people like yourself demanding a feel-good policy to loot more in tax revenue that they will use to pad their pockets and the pockets of their friends.”

        Come on Frankly. Are you really going to claim that this tax revenue is going to “pad any local politicians pocket”, or that I am going to be getting my “pocket padded” by stealing tax revenue?  Really ?

  2. Barack Palin

    The Vanguard learned on Wednesday, that the beverage industry threatened the Mayor that they would back one of his opponents with heavy finances if he continue to press for the soda tax.

    Evidence please.

     people on average were consuming 278 calories more per day than they were in 1977.
    At 278 extra calories a day, that means that, every two weeks or so, people are gaining one additional pound. Over the course of a year, that means the typical person could be adding up to 25 to 30 pounds.

    So doing the math the average person who has been drinking soda for the last thirty years has put on 750 to 900 lbs?

    Funny, I haven’t seen very many 900 lb. people walking around Davis.

    So who’s using intimidation tactics?

    This reminds me of the Nugget plastic bags will end up in the ocean campaign fallacy.

     

    1. Justice4All

      900 pound people don’t walk. But there is a ton of evidence linking soda consumption to chronic disease, fatty liver syndrome, obesity, and all the secondary diseases that come with it. Robb Davis was right when he said that for too long, we as a society have allowed the soda industry a free ride. It is their products that are making people sick, and it is the tax payers who are picking up the tab for the bill when people inevitably get sick as the result of their product use. If you are someone who supports the taxation of cigarettes because they pose a public health risk (and incur public costs as a result), then logically you should support the taxation of soda for the same reason.

      I can second the “reliable sources” on the whole soda industry threatening the Mayor. I spoke to many reliable people, who shall remain nameless unless they choose to come forward that can confirm the Vanguard’s statement.

      1. Barack Palin

        So tell us, if the soda industry had threatened Wolk and that’s the reason that Wolk backed off who would’ve spilled the beans?  Not the soda industry because that would make them look bad in the eyes of voters in the coming soda tax election and I can’t believe it was Wolk because he would be admitting that he caved on his values in order to try and seek higher office.  Sorry, I’m not buying it.  Give some credible facts or some actual names of people, not anonymous sources like you,  who know this to be true and will stand behind it.  Otherwise it’s just baseless rumors.

        BTW, you’re right, 900 lb. people can’t walk so Davis beds must be full of them if we’re to believe the hype.

        1. Justice4All

          I would suggest you talk to some of the people actively pursuing the soda tax if your REALLY want to know the sources. But since I highly doubt you actually care about such things, I doubt you will.

        2. Tia Will

          BP

          Ok, I don’t know any 900 lb. people, but have you considered why not. People who become morbidly obese die of their related diseases long before they would reach this weight. I have seen a number of patient’s in the 350 – 400 range and I will guarantee you that these are not healthy women.

          But if that is not convincing, let me present you with some real evidence. According to newly compiled data by our departments obesity prevention advocate, across the North Valley Kaiser, 1/2 of our newly pregnant women are either overweight or obese using a BMI of 25- 29 as overweight and 30 and above as obese. 1/2 of pregnant women ! So why is this so important ?  This presents multiple increased risks both to the baby and to the mother. For the mother, increased BMI carries with it an increased risk of gestational diabetes, HTN, pre-eclampsia, preterm delivery and late pregnancy intrauterine demise.  For the baby, besides the risk of demise, there is the increased risk of preterm delivery with lengthy NICU stays and the potential for lifelong physical and cognitive impairments.

    2. Frankly

      This reminds me of the Nugget plastic bags will end up in the ocean campaign fallacy.

      Yup.  Same here.

      Ineffective and useless policies only to make the activists feel better.

  3. Tia Will

     diabetes isn’t contagious and easily spread to other humans.”

    True, but only in the sense that infectious diseases are transmissible. Ebola also is not “easily spread to other humans” since it requires direct contact with bodily fluids unlike the flu which is airborne. However, that didn’t stop people from panicking into spending millions of unnecessary dollars to “fight” it. A prime example of fear driving us to expensive and non productive behaviors.

    Diabetes actually is “transmissible” in a more subtle sense. The fact that I was most likely a  gestational diabetic in my pregnancy with my son based on his birth weight on 9.5 lbs raises his risk of developing diabetes substantially. Apart from genetic and intrauterine factors, a parent with diabetes substantially raises the risk of their children having diabetes. This is partially biologic and partially behavioral as people not in the health community tend to adopt their familial patterns of eating and exercising as the norm and continue with it throughout their lifetimes thus “transmitting” the disease across generations.

        1. Barack Palin

          Well, I think if you talk to just about everyone else they would be much more concerned sitting next to someone who has ebola, therefor the reason for the fear.

          Game, set, match.

        1. Barack Palin

          My case is there’s only one other city in the whole nation that has a tax on sugary drinks so why do we need as a city follow suit and we don’t need paternalistic liberals trying to dictate and penalize others though taxation how they feel they must live their lives.

          So as I asked before, what’s your evidence that the beverage industry threatened Wolk?

        2. Barack Palin

          Reliable sources

          To me in order to make such a big accusation it should be backed up by names and facts.  It’s too easy for someone to make up rumors in order to push one’s cause.

        3. Barack Palin

          BP, is that cause named Cecilia or is that cause named Don?

          Huh???????

          BTW, I’m not accusing David of making it up, but we can’t evaluate accusations like that unless we know the parties involved or the facts.  This is a very contentious issue and I wouldn’t put it past someone to start a false rumor in order to make Wolk or the beverage industry look bad.

        4. Davis Progressive

          there’s obviously a reason he isn’t naming the sources…  i think you have to respect that.  it’s obvious the beverage industry is pulling out the stops, look at the ad at the top of the page.

        5. wdf1

          The Vanguard has been a supporter of the Children’s Health Initiative, and called a year ago for the city to consider a soda tax.

          Is that position compromised by sponsoring ads from the beverage industry at the top of this page?

          1. David Greenwald

            Why? Do newspapers take ads from either or both sides of a campaign but issue an editorial position on the issue that is at odds with one of them?

        1. Barack Palin

          This is a classic case of a fall equivalency fallacy.

          Did you mean “false equivalent fallacy”?

          Then tell Tia Will she shouldn’t have brought Ebola into the conversation.

  4. Biddlin

    Tia, wasn’t the criteria for diagnosing diabetes changed in 1995, immediately increasing the diabetic population and giving a plum to the pharmaceutical industry?

  5. Tia Will

    Biddlin

    I don’t know the answer to your question, but I can look it up. However, I would also be cautious about making assumptions about cause and effect. I will give you one example.

    Obstetrician/gynecologists use different and more stringent standards than do Internal Medicine doctors managing only adult diabetes. This is because of the disparate effects on the developing fetus whose life can be threatened in the short term by poorly controlled diabetes in the mother unlike the long term effects seen in the adult population with diabetes.

    There are always pros and cons when considering where to draw the line on laboratory criteria for the existence of any disease. Because a recommendation was changed, and someone profited does not mean that that profit was the reason for the change, and also does not mean that people’s health was not improved by that change.

    1. SODA

      Biddlin may be thinking of the emergence of the diagnosis ‘pre diabetic’ which came about around that time. My understanding and memory is it was a way to identify folks at risk for type II diabetes and hope to preclude development of diabetes with life style changes such as weight loss and diet. Most of us know people who have been able to reverse at least the lab evidence of pre diabetes or mild type II diabetes with these changes and not need medications.

    2. Biddlin

      ” Because a recommendation was changed, and someone profited does not mean that that profit was the reason for the change, and also does not mean that people’s health was not improved by that change.”

      Agree, entirely. And I think sugary drinks are not so healthful, so I keep V8 and Zyr chilled for  re-hydration. I am curious about this particular “administrative” decision and how it has actually helped anyone other than big Pharm.

      I don’t think sin taxes are effective, but frequently just distractions and sources of revenue for politicians’ pet projects. truth.com’s hyperbolic propaganda very likely drives more teens to smoke tobacco, not fewer. Just like tobacco use, over indulgence in unhealthful food will best be curbed when parents model the behaviour we prescribe for our children.

      1. Tia Will

        Biddlin

        While I agree that “hyperbolic propaganda”can be counter productive just as Reefer Madness was, I believe that accurate representation of the facts will  be a motivator for some. As I said at council, different individuals are impacted differently by the types of information presented. I do not believe in the use of scare tactics. I do believe in telling the truth and letting people decide for themselves. In this case, by a vote. Bear in mind, this is not a dictate by the CC, it is a call for a vote on the issue by the public who are, in fact,  paying a very heavy price for this epidemic.

  6. Tia Will

    BP

    I think if you talk to just about everyone else”

    Not if the “everyone” else you chose happened to know anything about the means of transmission. But I will concede the point that you are indirectly making. Irrational fear is a much more powerful motivator than is understanding.

    I will provide some examples. Leprosy is a transmissible disease but hard to transmit. I would have no problem sitting beside a person with leprosy. Same for HIV infection. Same for HPV. Same for hepatitis. Just saying that a disease is infectious or transmissible does not mean that it is of epidemic proportions.

    Diabetes is of epidemic proportions in our community now, not in some theoretical future.

  7. SODA

    David, thanks for connecting the dots!

    I know snarky, but could Dodd’s endorsement have been timed to correspond to this? I for one thought Dan premature in running the last time, thinking he needed more experience and a track record. He now has that and nothing he has done (or not done) has shown me he is right for the Assembly. I can disagree with a politician and still respect them but he is disengaged, ill prepared and has not shown me leadership skills.

  8. Don Shor

    So, a sponsored ad from “Californians for Food and Beverage Choice” just popped up in my Facebook feed, featuring the op-ed column in the Enterprise written by Kevin Wan. The ad makes the claim that “A #SodaTax in Davis could instantly raise the cost of some products by 50% to 100%!!!”

     

    1. Justice4All

      I got the same thing. You should have seen the ridiculous things the soda and grocers association were saying at the meeting. It was clear that the Mayor was threatened by these guys, you could see it in his demeanor, his voice etc. If the Mayor plays poker, I would encourage him to give it up, because he betrays his emotions and how he really feels about something far too easily.

    2. Barack Palin

      The ad makes the claim that “A #SodaTax in Davis could instantly raise the cost of some products by 50% to 100%!!!”

      It’s a fact not a claim.  There are 68 fluid oz. in a 2 liter bottle of soda.  I was just at a store where the cheaper 2 liter bottles of soda were 67 cents.  So add 68 cents tax to that and it raised the price over 100%.  Now take a 2 liter bottle of Coke where one can often buy for $1.25 a 2 liter bottle at Safeway, add 68 cents tax  and that bottle of Coke went up slightly over 50%.

  9. Frankly

    Apple juice has about 54% of the sugar that a soda has.  So if we tax soda, I say we also tax apple juice.

    In fact, I have a relative that required serious dental work at age 20 because the mom constantly plugged-in a bottle of apple juice on doctor’s orders because of a milk allergy.

    I keep going back to the stupidity tax.  That seems a more effective instrument to help prevent people from making poor choices so we can move closer to that vision of utopia.   Apparently we would need to apply it to doctors too.

  10. sisterhood

    Frankly, your examples are interesting because when I worked for WIC many year ago, our RD’s and MPH’s advised just the opposite: don’t plug in a bottle or sippy cup filled w/ juice: offer water instead.

      1. Justice4All

        “But the point still remains that apple juice has over 50% of the sugar as soda, so maybe we should tax apple juice 50% of the soda tax.”

        Another classic example of false equivalency. Soda provides no nutritional value. Juice does provide nutritional value.

        1. Barack Palin

          Another classic example of false equivalency. Soda provides no nutritional value. Juice does provide nutritional value.

          But I thought it was all about the sugar.

      2. Barack Palin

        Frankly, when one goes to a restaurant where they have open beverage machines everyone is going to get hit with the tax because all they do is hand out cups and you get what you like.  They’ll have no way of monitoring what you buy.  So if you buy sugarless green tea or a diet Coke you will be paying the tax.

        1. Justice4All

          Thats actually incorrect. The tax is placed at the distributor level, not the individual shop. Therefore, the restaurant/retailer just pays a higher price for the product, and are left to decide how or if they wish to pass that cost on to the consumer.

        2. Barack Palin

          They’re going to have to raise the price across the board on all their fountain drinks so everyone, regardless of what drink you purchase, is going to be paying an added tax.

          I really don’t think you’ve thought this out.

        3. Frankly

          The tax is placed at the distributor level

          That is news to me.  The product for restaurants is syrup that converts to soda at the soda machine.  How are they going to meter the per oz. tax on syrup?

          1. David Greenwald

            I have reported this at least twice. They are’t going to meter it. What they will do is figure out the easiest way to filter the costs down to the consumer. In some cases, like at a store, it will be easy. In others, it will be more challenging.

        4. Doby Fleeman

          For the record, I’m not a drinker of sugary beverages.

          I am curious though.  If the concern is sugar, then where does that leave Cranberry Juice, which according to Ocean Spray, has 28 g of sugar per 8 oz serving, while Coke Classic has only 21 g per 8 oz serving?

          Maybe Coke should consider adding a little potassium and Vitamin C to their mix?

          Or, instead, maybe we should we be talking about the sodium content where Coke has twice the sodium as cranberry?

  11. Justice4All

    Im not intimately involved with the day to day of this particular issue. Its my understanding that the tax will be assessed at the distributor, based off common use for your bag of syrup or what have you. That would be a good question for the proponents.

  12. Tia Will

    BP and Frankly

    But I thought it was all about the sugar.”

    Well then I guess that means that neither of you have been paying any attention to my posts regarding why target sodas as opposed to other foods which have other ingredients of variable nutritional value.

  13. Barack Palin

    Is taxing only sodas a sign of classism?

    According to one poll, only 11.2 percent of those living in upscale Chelsea or Greenwich Village drink at least one “sweetened beverage a day.” Soda guzzlers are often perceived to be of a lower class. We don’t usually think of a bright-eyed Harvard grad going into her office at Mayer Brown carrying 64 ounces of Mountain Dew Arctic Burst. No, we think of her carrying a Venti Caramel Brulée Frappuccino, brimming with 520 calories and 50 percent of her recommended daily allowance of saturated fat. That’s about as many calories as one liter of soda and significantly more fat.
    Why should sodas be taxed and not the frothy coffee concoctions that are often preferred by upper-class people who, not coincidentally, tend to make the laws? Some people may think that both should be taxed, but a “Starbucks tax” is not currently on the table.

    http://www.cato.org/blog/dangers-soda-tax

    Sounds like we should be taxing frothy Starbuck’s coffee drinks too

  14. Robb Davis

    Reposting from another thread.  I have no idea what people mean when they say “feel good.”  Hopefully this answers some questions.  Amazing how people who have benefitted from the public health activism of the past fight it at every turn in the present.  Makes no sense.  Here is the repost:

    Comprehensive approaches that include education, public policy advocacy, and, in some cases like this one taxing substances that pose risks is what are necessary.  No one, least of all me, is in any way suggesting that this tax will in and of itself lead to change.  That would be ludicrous.  But it is important to deal with this issue and Davis can play a part.

    This reminds me in so many ways of the (now) decades-long fight (yes, fight) with the producers of breast milk substitutes who promoted their products as superior to breast milk.  The deathly repercussions of placing profit over morals was and is terrible to see (I have had mothers who lost children to malnutrition because they lacked the resources to mix the appropriate amount of formula with water, weep as they told me how they so desperately wanted to be “good moms” and thought using formula was the way to be a good mom).  Companies like Nestle used techniques analogous to what the beverage industry is using now to thwart change.

    The bottom line in that case was that change had to start somewhere, we all needed to be persistent, we needed to collect facts on the damage being done, we had to use the state to create the policy environment in which change could occur, and we needed to verify compliance (which is still a huge problem).

    Some of us have been on the front lines of such battles and understand that what we are doing in Davis is a single–but important–step in dealing with a key source of a major health epidemic.

  15. Tia Will

    Doby

    I do not advise my patients to drink cranberry juice either. However, there are some nutritionally beneficial aspects of cranberry juice and some studies suggesting that by changing the pH of the urine  in the older literature and by preventing certain kinds of bacteria from attaching to the cells of the bladder in newer studies, they may for some people be beneficial in the prevention of urinary tract infections. There are no beneficial effects of soda consumption unless you count the momentary brief pleasure and increased energy that some people derive as “benefits”. There are most certainly no health benefits.

    1. Barack Palin

      What are the nutritional benefits of a “Venti Caramel Brulée Frappuccino, brimming with 520 calories and 50 percent of her recommended daily allowance of saturated fat. That’s about as many calories as one liter of soda and significantly more fat.”?

       

      1. Eric Gelber

        Nutritional benefits: Six grams of protein. Moreover, I’m not aware of data that Venti Caramel Brulee Frappuccinos are consumed in such vast quantities that they are deemed a major contributor to obesity and diabetes–particularly in children and youth. Is the argument that, unless we address every nutritional factor contributing to poor health at one time, we don’t establish priorities and address the problem at all?

  16. Barack Palin

    Each 1 percent increase in the soda tax rate correlated with a 0.003 point drop in Body Mass Index. To put that in context, “the .003 points is less than one thousandth of what a borderline obese person would need to lose to become borderline normal weight.”

    Soda taxes, in short, work in theory. In practice though, they don’t have a great track record, implemented at levels low enough to prove politically palatable — but also have little impact on public health.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/why-ban-soda-when-you-can-tax-it/2012/06/01/gJQAT27E7U_blog.html

  17. Michael Harrington

    Why isn’t anyone talking about parental conduct here ? It’s up to me to teach my son that Soda is poison, and I have. He hates the stuff. It’s up to me to refuse to buy it at the store and refuse to bring into my home. I don’t buy it. And I don’t buy it at the movies, either.

    1. Frankly

      I don’t think you have to lie and call it poison, but I absolutely agree that parents can and should teach their children to make good food choices.

      My dad paid all of his grandkids $20 per month to not eat fast food other than In-and-Out.  Today he considers it one of the best investments he has made since none of the kids (who are all adults now) like fast food.    Even though as parents we were handed some big challenges when on the road and the kids were hungry.

      There are studies that prove that taste-buds can be trained.   We used to make bets with our boys and pay them to take bites of things.   For example, “I will bet you a shiny quarter that you cannot eat a spoonful of that.”  Or, “I will give you a shiny quarter to take one bite.”  Do that a few times, and then at some point you will see the kid eating the thing he said he hated.

      Where I messed up on this was raw oysters.  Now everyone of my family loves them so I have to share and they are expensive!!!

        1. Frankly

          It is funny how liberals tend to think it terms of the monetary stick to encourage behavior and conservatives tend to think in terms of monetary rewards to encourage behavior.

          I will let you guess at which one tends to work better in almost every case.

        2. Sam

          Frankly-Your posts sometimes resemble the ramblings of a crazed AM radio talk show host. However, I have to give this perfectly worded carrot and the stick reference a vote for comment of the year. Well done!

        1. Frankly

          Fresh and real ingredients.  No fillers etc.  No frozen-processed stuff.

          From their website…

          From the first bite of your burger to your last french fry, quality is the most important ingredient of all at In-N-Out Burger. We don’t freeze. We don’t pre-package. We don’t over-process. We just make things the old-fashioned way.

          Our commitment to quality starts with our hamburgers. And our burgers begin with our patties. We make them from fresh, 100% pure beef. They are free of additives, fillers and preservatives of any kind. But the focus on quality starts well before we deliver our hamburger patties to our stores. We own and operate our own patty-making facilities in Baldwin Park, California; Lathrop, California and Dallas, Texas. Since we only serve burgers, fries and drinks, making a high-quality hamburger patty is everything to us.

          In-N-Out Burger Produce – We have always made every one of our hamburger patties ourselves using only whole chucks from premium cattle selected especially for In-N-Out Burger. We pay a premium to purchase fresh, high-quality beef chucks. We individually inspect every single chuck we receive to make sure that it meets our standards. Then our highly skilled, in-house butchers remove the bones. We grind the meat ourselves and make it into patties ourselves. These steps enable us to completely control the patty-making process and be absolutely certain of the quality and freshness of every patty we make. We’ve always made our hamburger patties this way.

          In-N-Out Burger Produce – Our commitment to quality doesn’t stop there. Our lettuce is hand-leafed. Our American cheese is the real thing. And we use the best available onions and the plumpest, juiciest tomatoes we can find. All of our ingredients are delivered fresh to our stores. In fact, we don’t even own a microwave, heat lamp, or freezer. We even bake our buns using old-fashioned, slow-rising sponge dough. And we make every burger one at a time, cooked fresh to order.

          Of course a great burger deserves to be accompanied by great fries. And In-N-Out french fries come from the finest, freshest ingredients we can find—potatoes shipped right from the farm. They’re individually cut in our stores, then cooked in 100% pure vegetable oil. Our shakes are just as genuine. Because we know a real shake can only be made with real ice cream. At In-N-Out, that’s the only way we’ll ever make them. Because when all you serve is burgers, fries and drinks, doing things the old-fashioned way is the freshest idea of all.

      1. Tia Will

        Frankly

        “I don’t think you have to lie and call it poison”

        Well now that is interesting since you were perfectly willing to lie about fluoride and claim that I was trying to “poison our children” when you knew full well that was not true since you subsequently retracted the statement.

        parents can and should teach their children to make good food choices.”

        Of course they should, and if humans were all perfect, we would all make all of the right choices. Unfortunately, my mother, who read at about the level of a seventh grader did not bother much with nutrition and coke was readily available to my sister and I, as much and as often as we wanted. Now we were on a very tight budget, so perhaps, a little extra cost might have served as a deterrent. I don’t know. But I do know that not all families live in the Father Knows Best, I teach my children all the right things world that you and Mr. Harrington are portraying. I have spent many years helping people to clean up, at great cost, for what they did not learn as children even though you think that they should have.

    2. Davis Progressive

      michael: because not everyone knows what proper eating habits are and sometimes you have to educate parents too.  moreover, just likes drugs can be addictive, other things can as well.

  18. Frankly

    It appears to me that the statistical increase in diabetes correlates with the flood of poor and uneducated Hispanic immigrants from our porous southern border.   Hispanics are about equal with blacks has having a rate of obesity and diabetes almost twice that as US whites.

    In fact, there is a direct correlation with low income and higher occurrence of obesity and diabetes.    And probably related to this is the direct correlation with being more sedentary and poor.

    Now in Davis I am guessing there is a relatively low number of obese people and I am guessing a low number per capita of people with diabetes.  Because we have very poor and very few Hispanics and blacks… and a lot of Asians and whites (that tend to have the lowest occurrence of obesity and diabetes).

    But here is another thing… bad eating habits start in childhood and generally don’t change much in adult life.  If an adult wants a damn soda, the adult will by the damn soda.

    And frankly there is not really anything we can do about it.

    Case in point… two families that are dear friends of ours are somewhat obese.  I am a foodie and chef and have cooked and eaten healthy and exercised regularly for my most of my life.  My wife and kids too (because I have trained them the same).  I have known these two families for 35+ years and have been working to teach them that, for example, olive-oil and sea-salt coated oven-roasted cauliflower or potatoes taste just as good and are better for you than that potato casserole made with butter, cheese, sour-cream and potato chips.  I am almost exhausted working on them over all these years and I have only barely moved the needle.  Adults are freakin’ stubborn about they will or will not eat!

    But give me kids when they are about 6-9 and I will make them lovers of fresh and healthy, well-prepared, food (not the bland crap that health-food activists promote).

    So, I would support a soda tax for one purpose and one purpose only.   That ALL the tax revenue derived would be spent on programs to teach kids how to appreciate fresh, well-prepared (in a culinary-arts sense) food.

      1. Frankly

        I think you can ask her directly though a certain messaging facility.

        She trained me on a lot of things, but I definitely trained her on food and eating… drinking too and now she can drink me under the table…

        Being married for 33 years requires a lot of cross-training… and being able to admit it!

        1. Michelle Millet

          Being married for 33 years requires a lot of cross-training… and being able to admit it!

          We don’t call it training in my house, we call it me attempting to convince my husband that I’m right, and him pretending to agree with me.

    1. Tia Will

      Frankly

      And frankly there is not really anything we can do about it.”

      So you have come to this conclusion on the basis of a couple of acquaintances and are willing to declare it as fact ?

      So I will also share my experience. I have over the years counseled thousands of women, and while I agree that it is far easier to teach good habits to children, I know that there is much that we can do to change the habits of adults. There are many windows of opportunity in people’s lives. One is my experience of pregnancy. Like me, many women perceive the health and well being of their child as more important than their desire for a coke and will give up the habit if counseled appropriately. Another pivotal point for some women is the inability to achieve their target weight after delivery. Another may be the diagnosis of end stage organ failure or death of a relative from diabetes. There are many, many opportunities and quite a lot that we can do about it.

      1. Frankly

        Tia – Yes.  Those crucibles of life change can present an opportunity.  My dad was 400 lbs when my mom was diagnosed with brain cancer.  He got down to 325 before she died, and in 6 months after she died he was 225.  He has stabilized around 235 and has been remarried since 2010.  So he certainly learned something after his big life change.

        But lacking a crucible of life change most adults are stubborn as a damn rock.

  19. SODA

    Interesting that this article stimulated more of the same back and forth about sugar, diabetes or not, etc. BUT few have commented on the focus of the article, the political ramifications of the Mayor reversing his strong support of the tax as part of his healthy children campaign.

    Why is that?

    1. Michelle Millet

      Personally speaking, it no longer comes as a surprise to me when politicians, even local ones, do what they need to do in order to hold on to power, even if it means going against their principles. It seems to work out well for most of them;/)

      1. Michelle Millet

        I have come to accept the fact that calling people out on their unethical behavior very rarely leads to change, (and usually just ends with me being labeled the “bad guy” or the “trouble maker”). Think of all the questionable things our politicians do. Even after being called out these issues they still continue to be elected.

        I do feel like on a local level we have some power to elect ethical people who will really put the best interest of the community over their own ambitions, I think Robb Davis is a great example of this. But I can tell you from someone who considered running, it is pretty brutal, and not for the faint of heart.

        If we want good people holding elected office, we really need to step up and offer them support, I think that is much more powerful way to effect change.

        1. Sam

          While I totally disagree with Robb Davis’s stance on the soda tax issue I would vote for him if he runs again because at least I know, win or lose, he is willing stick with what he believes in. And I respect that.

          Why he would ever want to run again after this term is another question.

        2. Michelle Millet

          I respect that about Robb as well. I wish we could get more people like him to run for office. If and when they do I will support them, and I hope others will join me. Getting and keeping good people in office seems much more productive than just pointing out elephants in the room, that honestly no one really seems to care enough to do anything about.

        3. Matt Williams

          Sam said . . . “While I totally disagree with Robb Davis’s stance on the soda tax issue I would vote for him if he runs again because at least I know, win or lose, he is willing stick with what he believes in. And I respect that.

          Why he would ever want to run again after this term is another question.

          Sam, that is an interesting comment.  Do you care to elaborate on why you have made that observation?

          In the interests of full disclosure one of the primary reasons I am running for Council is to help increase the likelihood that Robb will run again in 2018.  He and I don’t always agree on our votes, but we are both committed to an evidence-based decision process that more often than not results in quality informed decisions.  Both Robb and I have found that reasonable people can agree to disagree reasonably, but haven’t needed to do so all that often.

        4. Sam

          I am just making an educated guess that a rational thinker will at some point figure out that he has a better use for his time then to be abused by the community.

          I hope I am wrong.

    2. Davis Progressive

      Because no one wants to call out the elephant in the room here.  Everyone wants to debate the issue which is fine, but this article isn’t about the issue, it’s about the duplicity of dan Wolk, Lois Wolk, and Craig Reynolds.  but no one wants to discuss that.  Even though I half of the complaints that people like frankly make are directly attributable to Craig.

      1. Michelle Millet

        This may sound cynical, but honestly what’s the point of calling out politicians on this type of behavior. It seems pretty standard operating procedure, they do what they need to do to stay in office, and frankly, given the fact that we keep endorsing and electing them, no one really seems to care very much that they operate this way.

        1. Davis Progressive

          i imagine that once upon a time someone had a conversation with rosa parks where they said, look we’ve always had to sit on the back of the bus, why do you think you can change it.  you either accept the world as it is, or you try to change things.  i’m no longer a young man, but i’ve always tried to make the world a better place.

        2. Michelle Millet

          The first person to really challenge this segregation law by not giving up her seat was a 15-year-old girl named Claudette Colvin. The NAACP didn’t not want a 15-year-old to be the face of their movement, so they decided to have Rosa Parks recreate Colvin’s action to gain media attention for their cause.

           

      2. Michelle Millet

        I’m no longer a young man, but i’ve always tried to make the world a better place.

        My guess is that when politicians do things like this they believe the ends justify the means, i.e. that they can do more good in the long term by getting elected, even if that means selling out some of their supporters, or their causes in the short term. I think it’s kind of cowardly but like I said given their track records it seems to be working for them.

         

         

         

      1. Barack Palin

        Matt’s talking in a foreign tongue today.

        WIFM….what’s in it for me?

        That’s my guess.

         

        Matt still hasn’t explained his post of:

        BP, is that cause named Cecilia or is that cause named Don?

        I can make a guess but HIPAA laws prevent me from doing so.

         

         

        1. Don Shor

          Cecilia Aguiar-Curry is mayor of Winters. Don Saylor is a county supervisor. They are among the declared candidates for assembly. Bonus points if you can name the others.

  20. sisterhood

    “I am almost exhausted working on them over all these years and I have only barely moved the needle.  Adults are freakin’ stubborn…”

    Dear Frankly,

    Perhaps sometimes other folks have tried to teach you that having feelings and being emotional can also be healthy, just like eating certain foods in moderation can also be healthy. I understand what you are writing about healthy food choices. Do you understand what I’m writing about having feelings and expressing one’s emotions?

    Peace.

    1. Frankly

      Do you understand what I’m writing about having feelings and expressing one’s emotions?

      Yes I do.  And I hope you don’t see me in the movie theater sputtering over an emotional scene… family, kids, dogs, love lost and found, etc… or when the music is really, really good.

      Peace to you too!

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