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Salon has an interesting piece by Robert Reich, the former secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration who now serves as Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley.

The column looks at the new soda wars taking place in Northern California, and the implications of what could happen. An excerpt:

"Fifty years ago this month, Berkeley was the epicenter of the Free Speech Movement. Now, Berkeley is moving against Big Soda.

"The new movement isn’t nearly dramatic or idealistic as the old one, but the odds of victory were probably better fifty years ago. The Free Speech Movement didn’t challenge the profitability of one of the nation’s most powerful industries.

"Sugary drinks are blamed for increasing the rates of chronic disease and obesity in America. Yet efforts to reduce their consumption through taxes or other measures have gone nowhere. The beverage industry has spent millions defeating them.

"If on November 4 a majority of Berkeley voters say yes to a one-cent-per-fluid-ounce tax on distributors of sugary drinks, Berkeley could be the first city in the nation to pass a soda tax. (San Franciscans will be voting on a 2-cent-per-ounce proposal requiring two-thirds of them to approve; Berkeley needs a mere majority.)

"But if a soda tax can’t pass in the most progressive city in America, it can’t pass anywhere. Big Soda knows that, which is why it’s determined to kill it here."

You can learn more about the coming vote by clicking here.
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