San Francisco scrapped an anti-soda law Tuesday but vowed to continue to go after “Big Soda.”
The Board of Supervisors repealed a law approved in June prohibiting the advertisement of soda on public property, citing a recent Supreme Court case which prompted the city attorney to reverse a legal opinion on the law.
“We didn’t take down big tobacco overnight. And we cannot expect to take the big soda industry down overnight,” said Supervisor Malia Cohen, who introduced the law. “We will continue to develop policies aimed to protect the health of San Franciscans and we will prevail in the long run.”
Cohen’s legislation was part of a “round two” effort against soda to curtail consumption, which is blamed for health problems such as Type 2 diabetes. Other proposals approved as part of “round two,” which remain in place, include health warning labels on soda advertisements and prohibition of city funds for soda purchases.
The first round was fought in November 2014, when voters were asked to approve a soda tax.
The American Beverage Association spent $8 million to sink The City’s 2-cents-per-ounce sugary-beverage tax measure. Fifty-six percent of the voters supported it, but the threshold was two-thirds since it restricted how the revenues would be spent.
Supervisor Scott Wiener, who had introduced the health label law, said he was disappointed by the Supreme Court ruling. “We should be able to prohibit harmful products from being advertised on public property,” Wiener said. “But, unfortunately, the law has changed.”
The board also on Tuesday officially approved a $290,000 settlement for Journey guitarist Neal Schon after he filed a lawsuit against San Francisco. He alleged that Recreation and Park Department officials “extorted” hundreds of thousands of dollars from him when he booked his wedding to TV reality star Michaele Salahi.
Schon was initially quoted a $60,000 fee to rent the rotunda of the Palace of Fine Arts. But as his wedding date neared and news of the event leaked out to the press, along with Schon’s plans to broadcast the event on pay-per-view at $15 per person, city officials began raising the fees, according to the lawsuit.
Ultimately, Schon had to pay $240,000, including a $100,000 “premium reservation fee,” and a $50,000 “park regeneration fee” before The City would release the permit for the wedding to occur.
In a previous statement, Schon said, “We couldn’t be happier that we’ve been vindicated,” while his wife called The City’s conduct “reprehensible.”