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Big Soda Enlists Little Soda Against Sugar Water Tax

Scott Lucas | August 22, 2014 | Story Politics

Here's a picture of a new billboard that the opponents of Proposition E, the tax on soda that San Francisco will vote on this fall, just put at the corner of Pacific and Sansome near Jackson Square (and right around San Francisco's office). Is it a little sneaky to use the face of a small business-owner tø argue for the interests of massive soda companies? Probably a little bit.

But it's also yet another early sign that the fight over Supervisor Scott Wiener's proposal to put a two cent per ounce tax on sugary beverages like soda, will face tough opposition in its attempt to garner 2/3rds support from the city's voters.

The billboard features Taylor Peck, the co-owner of The Fizzary, a soda boutique, in the Haight and the Mission, and is paid for by the No on E campaign. That group, in turn, has funding from the American Beverage Association California Political Action Committee. It's a billboard paid, in part, by Coke and Pepsi that uses the guy who sells Dr. Brown's Kosher Root Beer, Filipino Sasparilla, and espresso coffee soda. Astroturfing? You bet. It's a lot easier to be sympathetic to the local than it to the giant multinational corporation.

That's not to say that Peck isn't entitled to give his point of view. He is. But it's also a case of a front-guy doing the work of Big Soda companies.

Though the billboard doesn't give any reasons in opposition to the tax, it's not hard to put it together. The group's website argues that, "a new tax that would only serve to drive up grocery prices and make it even more expensive to live and work in San Francisco." In other words: Soda companies would lose money.

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