Why This Latina Mom Supports Measure D in Berkeley

What’s up?

What candidate or ballot measure are you most passionate about in your city or state? With the elections quickly coming up, I find myself most involved with the “Yes on Measure D” campaign here in Berkeley, which if it passes, would be the first soda tax in the country.

As someone who has witnessed the toll that type 2 diabetes and heart disease can take on a family and the healthcare system– and in my family, there is definitely a link to a lot of soda consumption! — it’s an issue near and dear to my heart. Yes, we need to build more parks, bike lanes and address food deserts. But we also must hold junk food and junky beverage marketers accountable, too. Something is wrong when soda is the default drink in a children’s menu. Something is wrong when the soda industry is allowed to target our kids through cartoons, video games and their favorite celebrities. Imagine if Beyonc√© were the Marlboro spokeswoman? We have thankfully stigmatized cigarettes enough that no celebrity would touch that, and yet, it’s still acceptable to make caffeinated and sugary beverages appealing and as readily accessible as possible to children!

This past weekend I attended an event sponsored by the Berkeley Ecology Center — they’re the folks who brought to us our farmers’ markets and our nation’s first recycling program — on the soda tax in Mexico. Mexico is facing a crisis, in which after the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the importation of U.S. corporations such as Coca Cola Company, its people are abandoning the healthier traditional diet in droves for processed foods and soda. This super market display of sodas beneath bananas blew me away:

After years of repeated warnings by the country’s healthcare officials — and being rebuffed by the soda industry’s millions of dollars in lobbying efforts — international non-government agencies became involved to help pass a 10% soda tax in the country.

While healthcare officials say there is much work to do to curb Mexico’s appetite for artificially sweetened beverages, it has raised $500 million for the country and there has been a 10% decline in soda consumption. Campaigns such as the one below asking parents — “Would you give your child 12 teaspoons of sugar?” — have helped inform the public as to how much sugar a soda actually has, and no, your kids don’t need soda to live.

“The health costs (related to type 2 diabetes) alone was collapsing the health care industry,” said Rebecca L. Berner, Director of El Poder del Consumidor.

I left the event inspired and will probably make my way to the “Yes on D” office in downtown Berkeley to do some phone banking. Berkeley is an outdoorsy, healthy city, but I hope that this initiative serves as an example for the rest of the country — very much like our recycling program and farmers’ markets!

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?

Share

Friday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

The only news story that piqued my interest yesterday was that of Attorney General Eric Holder’s resignation. Personally, I was grateful to see him devote his public service to the pressing civil rights issues of our time: gay rights; immigrant rights; prison sentencing reform, which disproportionately impacts people of color; investigations into injustices such as the lack of accountability in Michael Brown’s shooting death in Missouri; and legal challenges to the gutting of key provisions of the Voting Rights Act. I’m sad to see him go, but understand that a post at the White House is not the most family or human-friendly of jobs.

In better news: Amazing Race is back up tonight. (Yay!) I’ll be preparing a healthy “snack-like” food spread and watching with the family.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?

Share

Monday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

I did it! I completed one of my life goals and finished a sprint triathlon in 1 hour 49 minutes.

I am so glad I took the plunge. Originally, I was reluctant to sign up for a number of years because I didn’t know how to swim. My form the day of the race was still terrible, but it didn’t prevent me from finishing a quarter mile swim on my own in 18 minutes! (I thought I was out there much longer than that — lol!)

They broke us up by ages, and initially, I was disappointed at how far behind I had fallen in the swim. But my spirits picked up when I started passing people I had started the swim with on the bike! I really do love cycling, and lately I haven’t had time to train on the bike — just tool around town.

I feel great. I made it in time for Ari’s soccer game, and when we got home I took a nap. Completing a life goal, family, rest — it doesn’t get better than that!

How are you? What’s on your mind today?

Share

Friday Morning Open Thread

What’s up? This is what I’m up to on Sunday:

Doing a triathlon — in this case, a “sprint” that includes a 400-yard swim in open water, 11.1-mile bike ride and 3-mile run — has been in the back of my mind for a couple of years. It’s not unheard of in the active Bay Area, and honesty, what kept me from signing up was the swim.

I am a terrible swimmer, and even signed up for beginner’s classes at the YMCA. Between that and swimming at the Y once a week, I am hoping to survive the swim part and move right along to biking and running, my fortes.

Here’s to a swim, in which I don’t swallow half the bay…enter nervous laugh here. Have you done a triathlon? Please share your tips!

What are you up to this weekend? What’s on your mind today?

Share

Hump Day Open Thread

What’s up?

Lately, I’ve seen some icky Facebook memes against raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour because fast food workers are simply unworthy. One meme pitted them against soldiers, making the false statement that soldiers are paid less, when soldiers at least receive housing, healthcare coverage, and aid for an education. I still think they should be paid more, but so should many civilians who also work hard to provide for their families and pay their taxes.

This response — thanks Vegas for highlighting! — was a ray of sunshine:

Have you seen any good FB memes lately? Please do share!

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?

Share

Thursday Open Thread

My 4-year-old son will play in his very first soccer game this Saturday! I was so stoked with visions of him darting across the field in a bright, tiny jersey.

Then I got a look at his team uniform:

10646987_10152354507656546_7312760787763512224_n

Wow. Way to harsh my mellow. Desert camo?! Who the f*ck had the brilliant idea to put itty bitty 4-year-olds in desert camo? Not only is it aesthetically hideous, it’s just NO.

Sigh. Because I was stumped, I asked for team name suggestions on facebook, which kicked off a lively (and funny) conversation. My BIL, in particular, came up with name suggestions that made me chortle:

-Military Surplus
-Industrial Complexities
-Shock and Awesome
-Camel Spiders
-Improvised Scoring Devices
-RommelRiffic
-AfghaniFlatStanlies

In the end, our very own Rachel suggested the Scorpions, which DS liked. When it came time for the team to vote on a name, he said Scorpions, and all the boys loved it. So Scorpions it is. Quite a difference from DD’s first soccer team: they wore bubble gum pink and were called the Pink Ponies.

Ah, parenthood. You so crazy!

What’s on your mind today? Chat away!

Share

Monday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

Soccer season is back up in Casa Nueva. Also, we hit a major milestone last night. I took the kids to their first concert: Marc Anthony. I scheduled this post before we left so I’ll update you this week on how it went. :)

Here’s a topic we haven’t discussed in a while: family-friendly workplaces. The Huffington Post published a column by an executive coach who pored through stories by professional women who were demoted or discriminated against after they had children. Most of these women successfully sued their former employers, but no one knows about it because they are not allowed to talk about their cases as part of the settlement.

Definitely give this story a read and sign off on whether you have a family-friendly employer or not.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?

Share

Hump Day Open Thread

What’s up?

It’s a short week this week and I couldn’t be more grateful. This week marks back-to-school and the first week in three months, in which things are back to normal at home — lots of extracurricular activities and now school! — and at work.

How are you?

Share

Monday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

I am bone-weary tired. Ari had a soccer tournament all weekend in Redwood City, California, which is about 45 minutes south from us. Cheering and watching intensely during some nail-biting games in the hot sun can be tiring.

The good news is the kids did well! They came in second place overall in the tournament, bringing home their first ever trophy. My guy, who is so competitive, actually cried because they lost to the 1st place team, 2-1. It was heartbreakingly close, but what an exciting game.


What did I miss this weekend? How are you?

Share