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Big Soda Campaigning against a Proposed Tax in San Francisco: A Vested Interest Thwarting Democracy?

With a proposed 1-cent per ounce tax on sweetened beverages such as soda-pop on the 2016 ballot in Oakland and San Francisco, the effected industry reserved about $9.5 million in television-ad time.[1]As of August 10th, the American Beverage Association had already spent $747,267 on campaign consultants and advertisements against the proposed tax in Oakland, whereas supporters of the proposal had spent only $23,297.[2]The imbalance itself could mean that business was subverting democracy by overwhelming voters. If big-soda’s ads were unethical as the pro-tax camp contended, the subversion would be especially harmful.

The full essay is at “Big Soda Campaigning.”


1. Michael McLaughlin, “Big Soda Spends Millions on ‘Unethical’ San Francisco Area Ads Fighting Drink Taxes,” The Huffington Post, August 24, 2016.
2. Darwin Graham, “Big Soda Is Spending Big Money Against Oakland Surary Beverage Tax Proposal,” East Bay Express, August 10, 2016.

Authored By The Worden Report