Result could be healthier choices
As a Richmond mom, I'm proud our city is poised to make national history by passing Measure N. It's heartbreaking to see so many kids at our local elementary school who are too overweight to run one lap around the field.
I remember when cigarette taxes were once considered controversial and the tobacco companies fought just as hard as the soda corporations are fighting Measure N.
Big Tobacco knew cigarette taxes would decrease teen smoking. Think of the lives saved since then. Big Soda knows a soda tax will encourage kids and families to make healthier choices. No one needs cigarettes and no one needs sugary drinks.
I trust the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association, two of the many health organizations that support a soda tax.
If Measure N can help deter even one kid from drinking Mountain Dew for breakfast, I'm all for it.
Obesity epidemic is a real problem
I was skeptical when I first heard about this soda tax. Generally, I am against another tax, but the more I understand it, the more I think it is a good tax.
Because we do clearly have an obesity epidemic, something needs to be done. Sitting back is like knowing and letting a silent serial killer on the loose. Doing nothing is not an option.
Would the tax really address the problem? At 12 cents per can of soda I might drink, let's give it a try. I could use the financial incentive to lose some weight.
Big-brother tax on soda industry
If Richmond Councilman Jeff Ritterman is concerned with the health and dietary practices of the residents he represents, instead of levying a big-brother tax on the soda industry, why not just lower the price of bottled water and fresh fruit and vegetables?
The same goal of getting people to eat and drink healthier would be accomplished, right?
He'd be better served by announcing this lifestyle-choice tax is just another case in which government feels it knows best about how people live their lives.
This tax doesn't solve anything. Besides, the tax revenue is not specifically designed to fight obesity; the funds would go into the general sieve (fund).
The tax would be passed along to the businesses and the businesses would pass along the increased cost to the consumers. Nothing solved. Same wheel keeps turning.
Soda industry is irresponsible
I support Measures N and O. These measures are a big no to the sugar industry. The soda industry is as irresponsible with its products as the tobacco industry is with its products.
The consequences of excessive sugar consumption leads to higher national health costs, just as tobacco does. Tobacco is taxed for good reasons. The sugar industry is putting up a lot of dollars to defeat these measures, just as the tobacco industry did when attacked.
The slippery slope is playing into the hands of the people who are playing you. Do you think the soda industry cares about our children, the businesses in our city or our way of life?
Refuse to be used! Vote yes on Measures N and O.
Measure N won't reduce obesity
Measure N will not do anything to reduce obesity, but it will add unfairly to the tax burden upon small businesses in Richmond.
I do not doubt sugar-sweetened beverages contribute to obesity, nor that a tax increasing the price of such beverages would reduce consumption and, thus, do at least something to combat obesity. Measure N, however, will not increase the price of sugar-sweetened beverages.
Measure N is not a sales tax, it's a tax on business licenses for those who sell sugar-sweetened beverages. The small grocers on 23rd Street in Richmond cannot charge more for a cola than their competitors in San Pablo, so the cost of that cola will remain the same. However, the Richmond businesses will pay a higher tax.
Thus, Measure N will not reduce obesity, but it will hurt local businesses. Residents should vote no on Measure N.
Joshua G. Genser
A good attempt to stem obesity
To watch obesity expand as a result of the excessive amount of sugar being consumed in soda drinks by Richmond's children and youths, and do nothing about it, is deplorable, if not criminal.
The soda tax is an attempt to stop the tide of obesity among kids and youths, and future problems such as heart attacks. It is on the side of preventive health care. It is a good thing.
I fully support this progressive tax on sugary drinks and urge others to do the same. Vote yes on Measure N.
Investing in our children's future
Many opposing Measure N say it unduly burdens the poor. Many African Americans and Latinos understand, as I do, that, actually, it offers the biggest return to the poor.
When we all chip in and invest pennies, returns such as improved mental and physical health to our children, reduced crime and beautiful parks, far exceed the few pennies that are invested. When we look at successful communities and individuals, we see one thing in common: They invested and got a return for their investment. Why do so many people think the poor cannot afford or don't want to invest? Churches preach all the time that the more you give the more you get back.
Don't underestimate those with little resources. Measure N isn't about taking from the poor, it's about consolidating the little resources we have to bring forward huge rewards that benefit the entire community.
Beckles is a member of the Richmond City Council.
Soda tax is an intrusive tactic
The Richmond soda tax is another glaring example of brainless nanny-state activity. It's another reason why Richmond voters should remove soda-tax supporters on the City Council who are running for re-election.
These politicians aren't interested in the welfare of their constituents. They are interested in finding new ways to increase revenue flow to the general fund to mask their inability to wisely and sanely manage their city's fiscal affairs.
If Richmond residents want to continue drinking sugary soda and evade the abominable soda tax, they will buy the soda in a nearby city and bring it home for later consumption.
Perhaps a cottage industry of bootleg sugary soda will emerge from the implementation of this piece of intrusive government stupidity.
Richmond can beat the soda Goliath
With more than one out of two people in Richmond overweight or obese, the epidemic is really getting out of hand. Being overweight leads to a host of health problems and medical costs.
When a good tax idea to decrease sugary drink overconsumption is on the table in order to decrease obesity, the American Beverage Association spends millions of dollars to fight against it. It reminds me of our nation's David and Goliath fight against tobacco use and lung cancer.
Yet, I feel hopeful Richmond can win. We can send Big Beverage the message that we want to live healthier, longer and stronger.
David beat Goliath. We beat Big Tobacco. Our small grass-roots movement in Richmond, on the front-line battle for improved public health, can do likewise.
Children's health more important
Although I don't live in Richmond, I am very much in favor of Richmond's soda tax.
I decry jeopardizing the health of our children in support of businesses. I suggest businesses work with the community to eliminate sugary sodas and substitute healthy drinks.