Taxing for Health
New York City Mayor Bloomberg’s decision to ban supersized sugary sodas has resurrected the age-old debate over the role of the state in protecting the public health. In recent years, this debate involved bicycle helmets, car seat belts, tobacco, saturated fats in meat and dairy, trans fats and sugar (or more aptly, high-fructose corn syrup). Public subsidies for tobacco, meat and dairy, and corn production added fuel to the debate.
I would argue that society has a right to regulate activities that impose a heavy burden on the public treasury. National medical costs of dealing with our obesity epidemic, associated with consumption of meat, dairy, and sugars, are estimated at $190 billion.
Benjamin Franklin claimed that nothing is certain except death and taxes. Ironically, taxing products that make us sick can defer death substantially.
From the Web
Studied to Death
[RE: “Well Wishers,” Currents, June 13] As a civil engineer specializing in water resources here in Central California for over 40 years, I believe that the conjunctive use alternative proposed by John Ricker and supported by Peter Haase is just an obfuscation of the critical need for more reliable water for Santa Cruz.
Desalination is a necessary source of water for Santa Cruz. All other alternatives have been studied to death.
“Obfuscation?” “Studied to death?” I don’t think so.
I am also a civil engineer, and believe that this is not an alternative, but should have been already built. The sand quarries provide an excellent area for water storage facilities, having little environmental impact and cost if built. They may even provide for a recreational/tourist area. The desal plant construction will only create about 100 jobs. Reservoirs, pump stations, miles of reclaimed water pipelines, tourism, fishing industry, quarry operations, injection wells, engineering, etc, creates thousands of jobs for local contractors. Let’s inject some common sense here. Brine from desal plant goes out sewer outfall, and probably needs to be diluted for water that could have be recycled with millions of gallons of fresh water from the San Lorenzo, which could have been collected and used for 1/4 the cost.
Desalination is an unnecessary folly for pro-growth crowd and people who think the latest technology will solve all our woes. Build the water storage/banking facilities instead for the economy, the people and the environment.
No Great Loss
[RE: “In Heaven They’ll Never Close,” Cover story, June 6] I miss the Silver Bullet, and that was when I was a more innocent, surfing hippie chick. But to say that the Avenue will be missed and is a casualty and that lower Pacific Ave won’t be the same without it is really not understanding the reality of things today. The Avenue drew a large, constant flow of drug dealers, mainly crack, from places like Oakland and Seaside to prey on the locals. Lots of crime and generally shady activities resulted. Thankfully the Santa Cruz PD and Take Back Santa Cruz did what they could about the scene. For me, not knowing the story behind why the Avenue ultimately closed, all I can say is thank goodness Pacific Ave will never be the same.