The American Beverage Association is pulling out all the stops in its fight against the proposed penny-per-ounce soda tax on the ballot this November in both San Francisco and Oakland. One such effort involves using the likeness and words of Bernie Sanders — a fact which Forbes reports has not made the one-time presidential candidate happy.
“Advertising from the American Beverage Association that implies that I oppose ballot items in San Francisco and Oakland that would place a tax on drinks with sugar are false,” Sanders explained to Forbes. “I have not taken any position on those ballot items, and I have asked the American Beverage Association to stop using my name in connection with this misleading advertising.”
Sanders sent the group a cease and desist demanding that they stop using his name in ads like the one above. However, he did oppose a 3-cent-per-ounce tax that was proposed earlier this year in Philadelphia, and it is his April op-ed expressing that opposition that is now being used in the lobbying group's fight against San Francisco's Proposition V and Oakland's Measure HH.
“The legislation that I opposed in Philadelphia," Sanders shot back, "which is cited by the ABA, had a tax three times higher than the proposals on the ballot in San Francisco and Oakland.”
“Excessive sugar consumption is a serious health problem for children and all of us,” Politico reports Sanders as adding. “It can lead to obesity, diabetes and other serious illnesses. Every community in our country will determine how best to address this major health crisis.”
The soda lobby, for its part, says it will abide by his request. "The ad accurately portrays his position," Joe Arellano of the Bay Area No Grocery Tax Campaigns told Forbes. "However, if Mr. Sanders wants to stay out of these local issues, we will respect that as well."
Berkeley successfully passed such a tax last year, and a study of its effect determined that soda consumption among low-income residents dropped 21 percent following its implementation.