I truly appreciate that you have contacted me about Prop 37, and hope that you will read this to better understand my thinking and approach.
I'm not against food labeling, and I abhor Big Pharma and Big Food. But having done some work to prevent Prop 65 from labeling chocolate as a reproductive toxicant (cocoa beans are grown in soil with minimal naturally occurring lead that doesn't significantly affect the final product), I became concerned that 37 was not the best means to deliver the safety and information consumers deserve.
An LA Times article recommending No on 37, written by a recognized anti-business columnist, reflects many of my worries:http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/editorials/la-ed-end-prop37-20121004,0,5824651.story
Even Michael Pollan in a recent New York Times article was low key about 37, saying--as I agree--that it opens a long needed national dialogue. And I think that happens whether 37 wins or loses.
As the Times states, it is currently possible (although perhaps a bit time consuming) to identify non-GMO food, thanks to voluntary labeling, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, and internet research. But 37 troubles me for the numerous loopholes. Fast food chains don't have to label anything, nor does the alcohol industry, the meat industry, several dairy products...the details are articulated in the Times piece. I'm not against regulation and information. Rather, I'm against incomplete legislation, which, if violated, may punish the wrong individuals.
In that light, I was unprepared for the massive attacks impugning my motivation and integrity on Yelp, and I am sure other places. I wasn't paid to speak up. I haven't sold out. I’d vote Yes if 37 had been written more comprehensively and thoughtfully. But having seen another well -intended proposition lose its focus, I felt that 37 was a great purpose wrapped in bad terms. Putting research on GMOs aside, it didn't make sense to me that banner legislation would exempt McDonalds and Taco Bell, put the cost onus on small grocers and budget sensitive consumers, and use lawsuits as the sole tool for enforcement rather than governmental agencies as is done in countries worldwide. And after discussing all of this with a trustworthy friend-career Sacramento legislative analyst who is also in favor of the spirit of 37, I was convinced that we could do better and that a flawed law on the books would be more detrimental to the cause than a clean slate.
I also thought that in this country, people could express their views in open, respectful dialogues. I disagree with many of the opinions of Dr. Mercola, one of the financial backers for Yes on 37 (he eschews all mammograms, for example), yet I would never attack his character and reputation, or try to cause him personal harm. And while I am sure there are many wonderful people in favor of 37, there is a faction employing destructive tactics to stifle other viewpoints, even when--as with me--there may be numerous core agreements.
I have confidence that if 37 is defeated, better legislation will be crafted that introduces California regulatory agencies—that perform far better than their federal counterparts—for enforcement; labels all food products regardless of site of sale or industry; and begins to address the cost disparities between fresh fruits and vegetables and fast food. Perhaps some will look back and say that industry money against 37 created the opportunity for a better outcome. And having been ‘labeled’ as an industry shill, I would hope that my vocal support in favor of new labeling legislation would carry every greater impact.