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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: News

Re: “'Big Soda' Argues Oakland's Proposed Tax Will Cut Sales — But Proponents Say That's Exactly the Point


This is an excellent article--thank you for presenting both sides of a contentious debate in a balanced manner. There is a ton of misinformation regarding this issue and you have done a fantastic job cutting out the chaff. Please keep up the good work.

Posted by Tommy Katz on 08/24/2016 at 10:18 AM

Re: “'Big Soda' Argues Oakland's Proposed Tax Will Cut Sales — But Proponents Say That's Exactly the Point

Tonya Love: Thanks for the information. I corrected and clarified the online version of the story. I guess I was confused by the press conference that the American Beverage Association-backed "grocery tax" campaign held last week. They had two speakers, both store owners, who said at the press conference that they would be paying the tax. And the public relations people running the anti-beverage tax campaign have repeatedly implied that grocers themselves will pay the tax. Clearly the text of the ordinance reads that the tax is on distributors who sell beverages to retailers, and the ordinance exempts retail sales.

Charlie Pine: How many distributors of sugar-sweetened beverages also distribute vegetables, milk, eggs, and so on? I was always under the impression that most beverage distributors just distribute beverages. How much of an opportunity do beverage distributors really have to pass this tax onto other goods? And as to this theoretical ability of a grocer to raise prices on milk and diapers to absorb price increases they have to pay for soda from their distributor, professor Auerbach addresses this claim in the article. He doesn't think it's sound.
As to the regressive impact a soda tax would have, yes, you are correct. The poor would pay more. That's true with most taxes on consumer goods.
But your claim regarding tobacco taxes isn't backed up by research. Most studies have found that increasing tobacco taxes leads to reductions in smoking rates (for example,…)

Posted by Darwin BondGraham on 08/24/2016 at 9:37 AM

Re: “'Big Soda' Argues Oakland's Proposed Tax Will Cut Sales — But Proponents Say That's Exactly the Point

o for cryin out loud: this has to do with sanctions that will reduce sugar consumption. This. is. a. good. thing. The less sugar you consume--esp HFC--the better you will feel; you will also mysteriously not miss it.
Meanwhile, how bout targeting the real problems behind the 'need' to self-medicate with soda: poverty, homelessness, (mis)education, capitalism...

Posted by Claudine Marie Elizabeth Jones on 08/24/2016 at 9:04 AM

Re: “'Big Soda' Argues Oakland's Proposed Tax Will Cut Sales — But Proponents Say That's Exactly the Point

Darwin and readers:

The language of the measure says that it is a tax on the distributors (those that deliver a product from one business to another) and not on retailers who then sell the product to consumers. The Distributers can pass the cost on to retailers and studies show that prices of soda does in fact increase, just like the beverage industry fears. American Public Health and National Bureau of economic research has both shown that soda prices have increased in Berkeley. However, what has not been shown is an increase in groceries. The Beverage industry will tell you "it can happen" but can't or won't produce evidence that it actually *has* happened.

A new study on Berkeley's tax shows reduced soda consumption in communities of color by a statistically significant large margin. Only 5% decided to buy sodas in another city.…

The reduction of consumption is due to the tax, as study respondents suggest, but also due to education as Chris Pine suggests. It is the combination that works, why? Because education does not come free. It is paid for by taxation.

Cigarette public health programs and education were paid for by taxation in local jurisdictions which lead to states and the federal govt suing the tobacco industry, which led to changing federal laws restricting sales and requiring warning labels and in settlement, the tobacco industry paying for national education and programs which worked to reduced cigarette smoking.

Just like with cigarettes, there is strong data and public health warnings that excess sugar is harmful to our health. There is also evidence that the largest source of added sugar to our diets is sodas and other sugar sweetened beverages. The American Heart Association has come out with new guidelines on reducing consumption of added sugar, especially for children. CBS News This Morning did a segment and Norah Odonell declared the number one source of added sugar in our diets is from sodas and other sugar-sweetened beverages.…

The city council isn't the only entity behind this measure, public health professionals across the city and county are. The public health commission did a study back in 2014 on the rates of obesity and how much it is costing the county. In 2013-2014 the county allocated over $650 million to health care costs - $134 million of which spent on obesity related diseases.…

The public health community have come together with local govts to find a way to pay for education and programs to improve the health of children and families. This tax will help do that.

Posted by Tonya Love on 08/24/2016 at 3:50 AM

Re: “'Big Soda' Argues Oakland's Proposed Tax Will Cut Sales — But Proponents Say That's Exactly the Point

It seems your reporter cannot read. He states, "The proposed law states that it is an excise tax on any business that sells sugar-sweetened beverages." No, the first distributor in Oakland pays the tax. From the law: "The Tax shall be paid upon the first nonexempt Distribution of a SugarSweetened Beverage product in the City. To the extent that there is a chain of Distribution within Oakland involving more than one Distributor. the tax shall be levied on the first Distributor subject to the jurisdiction of the City."

In practical terms, there are two points where the tax becomes a grocery tax. First, the distributor can raise the price on anything he sells - milk, for example - to recover the cost of the tax. Second, the retail grocer can raise the price on anything he sells - milk and diapers, for example - to recover the costs passed on to him. Two studies of the Berkeley tax found that about half the 32 cents per quart was passed on in soda prices. We don't know where the other half came from.

Tax the things that the poor buy most -- it did not work on cigarettes. What worked were restrictions on tobacco advertising, public education, and such cultural changes as taking the glamor of cigarettes out of movies. But Anne Campbell Washington does not care about that. She wants to increase City revenues.

Posted by Charlie Pine on 08/23/2016 at 7:20 PM

Re: “Oakland, Developers Look to Convert SRO Housing into Boutique Hotels

I know James Kilpatrick personally he is bully and nothing more he think that because he have money and he live in high rise building with his fancy suit and fancy life he can destroy poor people lives. James Kilpatrick blame city of Oakland for asking him to comply with the rules and regulations? He blame the contractor? come on he is James Kilpatrick the owner of his high end firm and he should know better and start take care his clients. His clients are very nice and they only wanted to live in peace in this building, i was there few times and it's not place to live in. James Kilpatrick the man the bully the most awful person that i meet in my life will go down, it's not about no one else only him! he care about money and he don't see people he see only himself. James Kilpatrick the biggest bully in the bay area welcome to the judgment day!

Posted by rob jo on 08/23/2016 at 3:43 PM

Re: “City Forcing West Oakland’s Alliance Metals to Close on August 20, But Supporters Argue Recyclers Have No Safety Net

Read copykate's comment above. Nothing laudable about Alliance Metal exploiting the homeless in West Oakland.

Posted by Elguero Sinfe on 08/23/2016 at 8:51 AM

Re: “OPD Arrests Protesters for 'Lynching'

John Seal Tiffany didn't hit a cop with a steel chair I did to protect her and others for the attack on us and our property and serving food to others. You can get some info kind of by googling Cameron "Jesus Marijuana" Rose Occupy Oakland to get that info

Posted by Cameron Rose on 08/19/2016 at 3:07 PM

Re: “Getting Schooled: An Overview of this Year's Oakland Unified School Board Races

I pay on my property to OUSD 0.1539% of accessed property value or $1,380,86 for interest and principal on OUSD construction bonds. Added to that is $198 parcel tax Measure G and $120 parcel tax Measure N. Total depends on County's assessed value of your Oakland property. Since currently parcel tax total I'm paying is $318, total OUSD tax bill for just parcel tax will total $438 not $500.

Posted by Jim Mordecai on 08/18/2016 at 10:44 PM

Re: “Getting Schooled: An Overview of this Year's Oakland Unified School Board Races

Good first article.

I'd like to add that Mike is extremely well informed about the working details of the school board and the administrative procedures. Not to mention a lot of the insider history.

The Rosie / GO Public schools falling out is something I would love to see some more reporting about. I think it has a lot to say about this powerful and influential group acting like a PAC and sometimes a political party in our school board races.

Randy was a Green in 2012, but he recently ran for Democratic Party Central Council and the last time I spoke with him, he was also working for a democratic candidate in a state race. I'd double check his current affiliation with him. He is best reached on facebook.


Don Macleay
OUSD Trustee Candidate, District 1

Posted by Don Macleay on 08/18/2016 at 8:46 AM

Re: “Getting Schooled: An Overview of this Year's Oakland Unified School Board Races

For anyone trying to keep track of what you already pay the OUSD as part of your property tax bill:
currently around $500 per year.

seems thes 10 year bonds are an easy sell to the public who may not realize they already have one.

Posted by GregStemler on 08/17/2016 at 5:22 PM

Re: “Getting Schooled: An Overview of this Year's Oakland Unified School Board Races

All the incumbent Oakland School Board have to run on a record of not be entirely truthful with the public. In the middle of a historic housing crisis they ask for passage of a third parcel tax as if cost of housing isn't high enough.

When you get your voter guide and read the summary written by the School Board of its 12 year $12.4 million parcel tax you will not see mention of charter schools as benefiting by the tax. Oh, you can find the Board writing of charter schools role in getting their portion of the tax in the "full text" of the Measure. Reading the full text you see a complicated formula for distributing funds between charter and public schools.

And, a deep reading of the full text reveals that the purpose behind this new parcel tax Measure is the same purpose the Board had behind previous $120 parcel tax Measure N. Intent of the Board is to put up Oaklland property owners' money to attract charter schools to sign MOUs that give Oakland School Board greater control over its charter schools.

If this third parcel tax passes, some charters will take the money. Some charters won't and some will take the money and tell the Oakland School Broad that you're not my Daddy. There Daddy is the California Legislature and the Legislature's charter laws. These laws say that charters are independent of the school board that authorizes them. Not likely that contracts to lessen charter school autonomy will stand up in court.

It is hard for the incumbent Oakland School Board members to be honest about the real purpose behind Measure N and the newly proposed parcel tax.

Posted by Jim Mordecai on 08/17/2016 at 2:33 PM

Re: “Getting Schooled: An Overview of this Year's Oakland Unified School Board Races

Rosie is being dishonest here. She was elected with pro-charter money, and for 3.5 years, she compliantly advanced a pro-charter agenda on the School Board. A few months ago, she came out as questioning the pro-charter agenda, and so GO is running two candidates against her. 6 months of pandering to the local community should not outweigh the 42 months that she devoted to helping out of town billionaires get their hands on our public money at the expense of our children.

Posted by Anthony Daquipa on 08/17/2016 at 9:53 AM

Re: “East Bay Homeless Campers Accuse Caltrans of Illegally Confiscating and Destroying Valuable Property — and Even Family Heirlooms

I posted this comment on another article, but I'm reposting it here. Lies, lies, lies. I've been in these encampments, several times. I've interacted with the people in these photographs. They see an opportunity to gouge the State for money, and they're taking it. Attorney's are loving this. Anyway, here's my reposted comment:

No, no, no, no, no!!! Now this is where I draw the line. I hate articles like this because they're completely one sided. "Harassment from government agencies...," GTFOH!!!!!! I have a pretty in-depth knowledge of how these CalTrans clean-up days work. Yes, homelessness is a problem. I'm not debating that fact, but to expect or imply CalTrans, the State of California, or any police agency should turn a blind eye to these encampments, is ridiculous. Due to the B.S. bureaucracy, CalTrans is required to "post" their clean-up intentions DAYS in advance. Their posting schedule gives people several days notice to move their belongings. Sure as hell, when they come back, the people are STILL there (acting like it's the first time they've heard CalTrans was coming). COME ON!!! CalTrans not only has a pretty regular schedule, but they take photos when they post notices. Not CalTrans' fault the people in the encampments remove the notices. Additionally, when CalTrans arrives, due to the fact they've already posted a notice, they're not REQUIRED to afford the encampment residents with additional time to clean their crap up. They do, but they're not required to. No one wants to be heartless meanie. Due to the ridiculous missing property claims, and lawsuits, CalTrans is now required to videotape (as opposed to simply photographing), the property they discard. They receive claims of jeans worth hundreds of dollars getting thrown away, valuable jewelry going missing...YEAH RIGHT!!! These places are filthy and full of rummaged and/or stolen property!! Don't insult my intelligence.

The people who work for CalTrans and go out and clean these encampments DO NOT have the power to disregard the order of their bosses. They have a job to do. And as a tax paying, home in West Oakland owning (an epicenter for this filth), and resident of California, I expect CalTrans to do their job!! I've been in these encampments (and stepped in "dookie bombs" the homeless left behind), and I've interacted with the hopeless HOMEOWNER who also feels like they're being punished/victimized. I belong to the latter group. So I have to suffer because people feel sorry for the homeless? I have to deal with the filth, trash, noise, and vermin, because people feel sorry for the homeless? What about me, the HOME OWNER, THE TAX PAYER, THE PERSON THAT GOES TO WORK EVERY DAY? What about the tax paying, home owning (or renting) residents who call in or go to the police begging for help with the encampment problem in their neighborhood, and they get brushed off, or their complaints get discarded, because the City and the State's hands are tied? How do you tell a person who does EVERYTHING RIGHT, and "PAYS THEIR DUES", that their complaints are invalid. "Sorry my friend, you're successful and own your home and pay your taxes, but because you're not homeless, we don't care you feel victimized too."

I spoke to one defeated home owner who lived next to an encampment. He said, "I don't understand how these people are not being arrested for the least! If i cut the lock and drove onto State property and started vandalizing stuff, or doing donuts, i would get arrested!!! Why are they not getting arrested ?!!!!" My response was, "Because they're homeless and you're not." But he's absolutely right. This is asinine!!!

And to go back to that line about "harassment." When CalTrans goes into these encampments to DO THEIR JOB, they're threatened, assaulted, and harassed themselves. Sometimes, they're not even CalTrans employees...they're contracted out to some work program. Men and women just trying to earn a living and/or fulfill the terms and conditions of their probation. If some of these homeless people weren't so hostile, perhaps CalTrans wouldn't need the police's assistance. I tell you what, this liberal Oakland City Council and spineless OPD (and their moratorium on the homeless) have made it difficult for other agencies to do their job. Because the City of Oakland and OPD refuse to address the problem, let people live in their cars (illegally parked or not), and let people pitch tents and block the sidewalks (out of compliance with ADA laws and regulations), then the homeless and activist think all other agencies are supposed to do the same. The City of Oakland's and OPD's LACK OF ACTION, is counter productive to the problem. They don't want to victimize the homeless, but they're victimizing the homeowner. oh but wait, NOT IN THE "NICE" NEIGHBORHOODS THOUGH!! Let a homeless person pitch a tent or live in their car on College Avenue, Piedmont Avenue, or Lasalle Avenue. OPD would be on their butt REAL QUICK!!! Hypocrites.

This whole problem gets me worked up, as you can see. I'll get off my soapbox now.

Posted by Melissa Kittell on 08/13/2016 at 6:14 PM

Re: “Mad Props: A Roundup of the 17 Initiatives on California's November 2016 Ballot

Proposition 53 is essentially an anti high speed rail measure, which the author failed to point out.

Posted by Kent Lewandowski on 08/10/2016 at 1:15 PM

Re: “East Bay Homeless Campers Accuse Caltrans of Illegally Confiscating and Destroying Valuable Property — and Even Family Heirlooms

My Facebook pages provide the solution to the problem...
The information has been provided to the Oakland City Council and to the Attorney for the City of Oakland...
Please read Facebook pages titled,
Real Estate Crisis or Government Sanctioned Racketeering?
Regards, Allen Sanford

Posted by Allen Sanford on 08/10/2016 at 1:00 PM

Re: “Mad Props: A Roundup of the 17 Initiatives on California's November 2016 Ballot

This article is incorrect. Prop 54 does NOT end gut and amend practices. They will still exist, albeit with three days for special interests to blow up compromises. Prop 54 is funded by billionaire Charles Munger, Jr. It will tie the Legislature up in knots and, for the first time, will allow the use of legislative proceedings for attack ads. Vote NO.

Posted by Steven Maviglio on 08/10/2016 at 8:35 AM

Re: “Mad Props: A Roundup of the 17 Initiatives on California's November 2016 Ballot

If representative democracy hadn't become corporate whoring this wouldn't be necessary. It's easy to take ballot initiatives out of the hands of wealthy special interests alone. The Secretary of State should allow signing petitions on their website, to save a great deal of money used to hire petitioners, and to save the Secretary of State the cost of comparing physical signatures. This would also encourage people to read more of the initiative text before signing and to save harassment in hot parking lots.

Posted by Evan Ravitz on 08/10/2016 at 3:11 AM

Re: “City Forcing West Oakland’s Alliance Metals to Close on August 20, But Supporters Argue Recyclers Have No Safety Net

Keep it open and then place a San Francisco-style homeless navigation center nearby. That would solve a human problem. Closing the recycling center solves an aesthetic problem, at a human cost. We can't send away the fact of homelessness. We're just sending it back into our own community, but with desperate people who are now even more broke than before. Yes, bin pickers are annoying. Recycling centers are filthy. But they present an opportunity to connect people with services. Taking away the recycling center wastes that opportunity and replaces it with nothing.
Christopher Fallis
Oakland, CA

Posted by Christopher Fallis on 08/10/2016 at 12:53 AM

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