- The Campanil - http://www.thecampanil.com -

Letter to the editor: Proposed Oakland soda tax would benefit public health

I laud The Campanil for calling out the American Beverage Association’s false portrayal of Measure HH through their exploitative casting of people of color in their ad campaign (Staff editorial: Oakland’s proposed soda tax) [1].

That The Campanil claims to have insufficient information to make up its mind on this measure, however, is simply bizarre. The League of Women Voters/Oakland and the San Francisco Chronicle have had no problem accessing the facts, leading them to take a YES position. They are joined by the American Heart Association, the California Dental Association, the Academy of Pediatrics, and more than 125 other organizations and individuals recommending a YES vote on HH. (Please see http://www.oaklandvsbigsoda.com/endorsements).

From day one, the Oakland City Council, lead by Annie Campbell Washington, Desley Brooks, and Rebecca Kaplan, has been crystal clear about where the more than $6 million generated by this tax are to go: for health programs that address the devastating effects of soda consumption. This is evidenced in the measure itself, which includes a 9-member community advisory board tasked with recommending the funding of programs and projects to improve community nutrition, reduce tooth decay, increase physical activity and prevent diabetes in children and families. The measure is modeled after the successful Berkeley soda tax measure, which has allocated its $1.5 million in tax revenues for school gardening and nutrition programs, and health education programs. If Berkeley, why not Oakland?

The health and financial costs of diabetes are overwhelming, and our children are most at risk. Every year, more than 5,000 new cases of diabetes are diagnosed among children and youth, with the highest rates among children aged 2 to 19. Measure HH is a common sense policy to help turn the tide of this skyrocketing epidemic.

Robin Dean
Oakland