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|Local Soda Tax Interests Santa Monica Commission, Council Seems Unreceptive|
By Jonathan Friedman
April 28, 2017 -- Santa Monica officials say the city is in desperate need of more money to fund parks creation and maintenance, and one idea to generate that cash is a soda tax.
The Recreation and Parks Commission recommended that this possibly be included in a scientific poll measuring the public’s willingness to support various tax funding measures to support parks.
“They’ve been interested in the idea,” Karen Ginsberg, Santa Monica’s director of community and cultural services, told the City Council on Tuesday. “They just wanted to explore it.”
No council member jumped on the soda tax proposal, which has been a hot topic in various cities and was unsuccessfully proposed statewide for the first time by Santa Monica Assemblyman Richard Bloom in 2015 ("Santa Monica Representative’s Sugary Drink Tax Dies In Assembly," May 14, 2015).
Soda taxes have been approved in various cities nationwide, including Berkeley and Oakland. They have been controversial and received intense opposition from soda makers.
Carol Lemlein, president of the Santa Monica Conservancy, suggested that a poll question be included asking people if they would favor a bond that supports parks and the rehabilitation of the Civic Auditorium.
Several council members agreed this would be good to include in the poll.
Finding funding for that has been a challenge and even in some people’s eyes conflicted with the quest for parks money (“Council Adopts Plan Prioritizing Fixing Civic Auditorium, Calls for Parks Study,” February 12, 2016).
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