the food police

City of Richmond To Be The First to Vote on a Soda Tax

Pick your poison

Pick your poisonPhoto: Fimoculus via Flickr

Even without Jamie Oliver breathing down its neck, the Bay Area city of Richmond, California, is making a big move towards curbing childhood obesity. The City Council here voted on Tuesday to get a ballot measure into the November election that would allow voters to decide if a one penny-per-ounce tax would be put on soft drinks and sugary juices, with the money raised (two to eight million dollars is projected) going to fund playgrounds, sports fields, and programs that target childhood obesity and dietary diseases like diabetes.

Despite the fact that some critics are more concerned about Richmond's 2011 appearance on the FBI's list of the most dangerous cities in the U.S. and one City Councilman opposed the measure as a "tax on poor people," praise has come in for Richmond, the first city in the U.S. to seriously promote a tax on sugary drinks. Kelly Brownell, the director of Yale's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, calls the proposal, "quite forward-looking. The science is solid linking soda to obesity."

California city puts soda tax on November ballot [Business Week]

Related: Newsom's Soda Tax Goes Flat [NBC]

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