Dear Ed Hernandez, Isadore Hall III and Richard Roth,

As you know, California is facing a massive health crisis – an estimated 14 percent of Californians have diabetes today,[1] costing the state $24.5 billion in health and work-related costs.[2] One out of every two African American and Hispanic children born today will develop diabetes.[3]

Overwhelming evidence from leading academic research institutions shows that liquid sugar is uniquely responsible for diabetes. These drinks flood the bloodstream, overloading the pancreas and causing the liver to store much of the sugar as fat – causing fatty liver disease. For decades the beverage industry has funded “research” to confuse the public about the effects of liquid sugar.[4] Public awareness is building: the Global Energy Balance Network folded after The New York Times reported the Network was funded entirely by the corporation. In November 2015, the University of Colorado returned a $1 million grant from Coca-Cola. [5]

Sixty-five percent of California teens consume a sugar sweetened beverage every day.[6] Now that we are beginning to understand the science, we must act fast. One critical step forward is SB 203, a bill that will help families avoid the risk of diabetes by printing a warning label on the front of sugary drinks sold in the state.

We noticed that each of you abstained on this bill, effectively voting “no” and blocking the bill from leaving the 9-person health committee. We also noticed that you’ve received campaign contributions from corporations that market sugary beverages including PepsiCo and 7-Eleven – without action, they will continue to profit while California’s children get sicker.

As legislators you are elected to represent your constituents. The public needs to know how dangerous sugary drinks are to their health.

It is up to you to make sound decisions that improve the lives of Californians. That’s why we are asking you to support SB 203 and return funding from corporations opposed to labeling soda. As a reminder of what’s at stake, we will send you 16 packets of sugar a day – the amount hidden in a 20 oz bottle of soda – until you do.

The stakes are high. Thank you for taking a stand for health.

[1]California Center for Public Health Advocacy. Accessed January 6, 2016 http://www.publichealthadvocacy.org/resources/warninglabel/SB203_PressKit_Full.pdf

[2] “Diabetes in California Counties.” California Diabetes Program. Accessed May 7, 2014. http://www.caldiabetes.org/content

[3] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/publications/AAG/ddt.htm

[4] Nestle, M. Soda Politics, Oxford University Press, 2015.

[5] New York Times, Available at http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/05/opinion/a-defense-of-sugary-soda-that-fizzled-for-coke.html

[6] California Center for Public Health Advocacy. Accessed January 6, 2016 http://www.publichealthadvocacy.org/resources/warninglabel/SB203_PressKit_Full.pdf



Michael Pollan

Author, The Omnivore’s Dilemma


Mark Bittman

New York Times Columnist


Ricky Reed

Music Producer

Anna Lappe

Anna Lappé

Author, Diet for a Hot Planet

Merril Garbus

Artist, “Tuneyards”

Dr. Robert Lustig

Pediatric Endocrinologist

Laurie David

Producer, “Inconvenient Truth”


Sum of Us

Online organizers

Mom’s Rising

Activist Organization


Courage Campaign

Californian Organizers

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