Big Industry Ad Blitz Wins
Measures on the ballots of two California cities which would have placed surtaxes on sugar-sweetened sodas and other beverages were solidly defeated, thanks largely to heavy opposition by the beverage industry. In Richmond, for example, the industry spent some $2.5 million on a "No on N" campaign with billboards, glossy direct mail pieces, newspaper ads and even radio spots on major Bay Area stations, focused on a city with a population of 106,000. This had the desired effect, as the measure was trounced by a vote of 16,494 to 8,154. The measure would have taxed sugary drinks a penny per ounce. In all, the anti-soda-tax campaign cost around $25 per Richmond resident, or slightly more than $150 per No vote. A similar measure in El Monte, in Southern California, met the same fate.