“We cannot stop the obesity epidemic, but as the city of San Jose, we can do our part by being socially responsible and accountable for the products we make available to San Jose residents at the facilities and centers we operate, as well as at events that we host,” Kalra writes in a memo going before the Rules and Open Government Committee meeting Wednesday.
Councilman Pete Constant, for one, isn’t having it.
“They’ve done it again,” he writes in a District 1 newsletter blasted out this morning. The folks at City Hall have found a new nanny-government proposal to impose on the people of San Jose. But this proposal goes further than anything you’ve seen before.”
Further than anything, you say?
“City Hall wants to ban soda, sports drinks, diet soda and whole milk from all city events and properties, including parks, community centers and even out zoo,” Constant continues. “You heard that right: a ban on whole milk!”
It’s true. The ordinance Kalra proposes would ban:
• All sodas, both diet and otherwise
• Electrolyte replacement drinks and sports drinks with more than 42 grams of sweetener per 20-ounce serving
• Flavored, carbonated and sweetened water with no real fruit juice and only added sweeteners
• Fruit juice or fruity drinks with added sweeteners and less than 50 percent real juice
• Veggie drinks with added sweeteners and less than half real veggie juice
• Flavored or plain milk with more than 2 percent fat
Constant says he’s upset because of the proposal’s nanny-state approach as well as its upside-down priorities.
“San Jose leaders should be focused on hiring more police officers, following through on pension reform and fixing out streets, community centers and city facilities,” he writes. “Instead, they’re discussing a beverage ban.”
Kalra says he’s just worried about his constituents’ health. Obesity has become a bigger concern for the state and Santa Clara County, he notes. Nearly 27 percent of Californians were reported obese, according to a 2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nationally, 13 percent of high school students are considered obese, per a 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Study by the same agency.
Kalra says the average American diet contains 175 pounds of sugar a year, and a 20-ounce soda has 17 teaspoons of the stuff, or 250 empty calories. Forty-one percent of kids aged 2 to 11 and 62 percent of 12 to 17 drink at least a soda or some other sugar-bombed drink a day, Kalra adds. It’s a habit that, per the councilman’s sources (presumably still the CDC), make a person 27 percent more likely to become fat.
Drinks that that you would find at city events and properties if the ban passed include:
• Water, including the carbonated kind
• Drinks with 50 to 100 percent fruit juice and no added sweetener
• Veggie drinks with 50 percent or more veggie juice with no added sweetener
• Nonfat and 2 percent-or-less milk
• Dairy alternatives like soy milk
• Here’s the tentative agenda for the Sept. 3 study session where City Council members will meet to talk about how to restore services, whether by moving money around the budget or passing a parcel tax.
• The city’s Senior Citizens Commission forwarded a letter in support of a state bill that would clarify a point: inclusionary zoning ordinances adopted by local governments don’t violate existing rent control laws. AB 1229, introduced by Assembly Majority Leader Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), would re-authorize cities to pass ordinances that offer rent control to low-income residents.
• Mayoral candidate and activist David Wall’s investigating the Environmental Innovation Center disaster, trying to confirm a suspicion of his that the whole snafu had something to do with a Ponzi scheme.
WHAT: Rules and Open Government Committee meets
WHEN: 2pm Wednesday
WHERE: City Hal, 200 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose
INFO: City Clerk, 408.535.1260