Watsonville Latino communities rally around soda tax proposal


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Soda tax considerations in cities are growing in interest across the nation and in other countries around the world.

Watsonville, a majority Latino community (81.9% Latino), is working on their own proposals in California, hoping to encourage other small town minority-majority cities, that if they can pass taxes on sugary drinks, any small-town city has a chance.

Groups and organizations in the city are all working together to rally voters and get petitions signed that would propose a 2-cent-per-ounce sugary beverage tax.

Christian Garcia, one of the organizers, gathered over 2,000 signatures from voters who were “very receptive” for the taxes, Garcia explained in a local video, stating how groups went door-to-door to collect signatures from around the city.

Garcia and his family immigrated to the city back in the 1980’s, explained Garcia in the video, where he remembers his father drinking a two-liter coke every day while working in the strawberry fields, and now his father is dealing with his diagnosis of type two diabetes.

Garcia then explained that the many Latino families in his area are in the same situation, drinking sugary beverages daily and dealing with diet-related diseases like diabetes.

According to a UCLA study, 55 percent of Californian’s are diabetic, or pre-diabetic.

Studies have shown how sugary sweetened beverages can amplify dangerous health risks and diseases quickly.

One of the local medical providers in the city passionately supported the tax explaining to the council in Spanish, that kids are drinking extreme amounts of “sugar candy.”

“I can see how the children consume large quantities of these beverages,” said another Doctor in the video.

Studies show that Latino kids have increased their consumption of sugary drinks such as soft drinks, sports drinks, fruit-flavored drinks, and flavored milk between 1991 and 2008 and about 74 percent of Latinos have had a sugary drink by age 2.

The proposed tax would help fund health education and nutrition programs and improvements to recreation areas such as soccer fields within the city.

City officials have not placed the proposal on the agenda for the November ballot, but organizations are still rallying around the idea and hoping to educate the community on sugary beverages with local mailers, billboards and newspapers ads in the coming weeks.

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for every Latino neighborhood, compared to 3 for every non-Latino neighborhood

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