New America Media/Richmond Pulse, News Report, Tania Pulido, Posted: Nov 07, 2012
RICHMOND, Calif. – Billboards for No on Measure N, the controversial soda tax that voters here rejected on Tuesday, have been a constant image over the last several months as I rode my bike through the city. When I would stop to ask the people standing with “No” signs whether they personally opposed the measure, many admitted they were just working. In my view, that was the only benefit to the multimillion-dollar campaign.
Because of Measure N, this small, cash-strapped city east of San Francisco saw one of the most expensive election campaigns in its history. The controversial ballot measure brought new faces to the table and new community involvement. It also brought in millions of dollars from soda companies in political ads, billboards and paid canvassers to defeat the measure.
In the end, the tidal wave of money spent by opponents of Measure N had its desired effect: 67 percent of Richmond voters rejected the measure that would have levied a citywide tax on soda. A similar bill on the ballot in the Southern California city of El Monte lost by an even wider margin, with 77 percent of voters rejecting it.
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