Governor Edmund G. Brown
c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814
Sent via Twitter to: @JerryBrownGov
Dear Governor Brown,
Let’s have dinner together.
Senate Bill 872/AB 1838 would be a significant step backward for California and the nation. This bill will reach your desk in the next day or two and I urge you to call me before taking action.
In light of the well-reported dinner you hosted earlier this month for lobbyists from the American Beverage Association and some of their member companies, I’d like to have the same opportunity to discuss our side of the story. These companies profit from sugary drinks—the leading source of added sugar in the American diet—and they spend millions of dollars marketing them to California kids. I have to tell you, I was shocked by reports that you would secretly negotiate such a deal to take away the ability of Californians to raise revenue that funds important community priorities and to help fight heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
I want to invite you to dinner so that I can hear directly from you. The dinner table has long been a place for great discussions. Let’s talk about steps we can take to prevent heart disease, stroke, diabetes and hypertension in California. I fully recognize what is at stake with the deal that is on the table. I also recognize that far too many California families must face human and financial toll of these diseases every day. In fact, 21.9 million Californians are expected to have heart disease, hypertension, diabetes or obesity-related cancer by 2030. We can’t wait 12 years to prevent some of that from happening. Let’s have dinner and talk about it.
Thanks to hundreds of thousands of trailblazing Bay Area voters, we are gaining evidence that sugary drink taxes are an effective tool to drive down consumption and to fund important community health and education priorities. Clearly this strategy is popular. It is also turning out to be effective in swapping out sales of sugary drinks for healthier ones without hurting local businesses.
I’m not looking for a secret deal. Rather, I am making a transparent offer by inviting you to dinner via Twitter. I’m sure the American Beverage Association lobbyists didn’t discuss the negative health impacts of their flagship drinks. You deserve to hear the public health side of the story as well. Let’s meet in a sunshine-filled restaurant in your beautiful state. I’ll bring along a nutrition scientist and a physician to inform our discussion. Let’s explore constructive ways to improve the health of all Californians.
I truly hope we get to have dinner together soon.