Isadore Hall: The Alcohol, Tobacco and Soda Candidate

CrossFit Inc. thinks soda should come with warning labels, but Pepsi-funded politician Isadore Hall stands in the way. If passed, California Senate Bill 203, the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Label Act, would require the following label on sugary drinks:

“STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.”

To support the bill, please visit a tour to rally support for the bill, Coach Glassman outlined three reasons soda should come with a warning label:

1. Toxicity: Soda significantly increases the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and tooth decay.
2. Corruption: Big Soda funds and distorts scientific research.
3. Targeting CrossFit affiliates: Big Soda funds the ACSM and NSCA, the organizations that have lobbied for licensure bills that would criminalize most CrossFit affiliates.

Most Californians agree: Polling shows 74 percent support warning labels on sugary drinks. Until now, though, the California State Senate’s Health Committee has ignored its constituents’ concerns. In 2015, the bill fell one vote short of passing the Health Committee.

Isadore Halls’ No-Shows

Hall finds it easier to show up at concerts and sporting events than scheduled meetings:

Isadore Hall finds it easier to show up at concerts and sporting events than scheduled meetings:

Last year, Health Committee member Isadore Hall didn’t bother to cast a vote on soda warning labels. Hall and three other committee members abstained. This is a pattern of behavior for Hall. When the LA Times asked him for a comment on CrossFit’s efforts, he refused to state his position.

Glassman scheduled a December 2015 meeting with Hall to discuss the bill. Hall committed, but then canceled. When they rescheduled, Glassman flew to Los Angeles to make the meeting. Hall bailed again. That is, he twice avoided discussing a topic that directly concerns his constituents; Hall’s district contains 18 CrossFit affiliates and his county is home to over a half million diabetics.

On at least four consecutive occasions the state senator has refused to take a stance on soda warning labels. What is Hall hiding?

In the original, unedited story that reporter Roy Wallack submitted to the LA Times, Glassman explained Hall’s absenteeism on soda. Specifically, he predicted that it was due to Hall’s relationship with soda companies:

“I don’t think he had a choice … Hall’s stuck. He picked his allies early. Well, now I go to Plan B: Support his opponent in his campaign for Congress. His district is 70% Latino, and I’ll back his Latina opponent in the Democratic primary, Nanette Barragan [mayor pro-tem of Hermosa Beach], who is making ‘health inequity’  —unequal health care for minorities — a key issue. I’ll throw $5 million into his face. I’ll have people dig into his finances — and expect to see lots from the ABA.”

The LA Times editor deleted this quote before the story ran, but it does look like Glassman was onto something.

Isadore Hall’s Beverage Industry Dollars has tracked Hall’s campaign funding. We’ve narrowed the list down to beverage companies. (Some seem alcohol-focused, but many also sell sugar-sweetened beverages, such as Pacific Beverage.)

$3497 from Pepsico Inc.
$3500 from California Beer & Beverage Distributors Community Affairs

$4978 from Pepsico Inc.
$5195 from California Beer & Beverage Distributors Community Affairs
$1000 from California/Nevada Soft Drink Association PAC

$3514 from Pepsico Inc.
$7800 from California Beer & Beverage Distributors Community Affairs
$3900 from Allied Beverages Inc.
$3000 from Ace Beverage Co.
$2800 from Pacific Beverage
$1000 from Mission Beverage Co.

$4916 from Pepsico Inc.
$12300 from California Beer & Beverage Distributors Community Affairs
$4000 Pacific Beverage
$3000 Ace Beverage Co.
$1324 Pepsico Incorporated and Affiliated Entities
$1000 Mission Beverage Co.

The beverage industry has given Senator Hall at least $66,724 reasons to go soft on soda.

Hall is also close with tobacco and alcohol companies. According to the Sacramento Bee, Hall “has the distinction of accepting more tobacco money than all but one other Democratic legislator since 2009.” And Hall has taken more than $100,000 from alcohol companies since 2013, the highest number for any Californian legislator.

Like Big Soda, Big Tobacco has gotten its money’s worth from Hall. The Bee reports “many of the most significant anti-smoking measures died or were watered down in the influential committee Hall oversees.” True to form, Hall declined to comment.

CrossFit Opposes Hall’s Congressional Campaign

Hall is running to represent California’s 44th district in the US Congress. CrossFit strenuously opposes Hall’s nomination. The reason is simple; CrossFit believes that Hall is not fit for public office. California doesn’t need another congressman in the pockets of alcohol, tobacco and soda.

Opposing Hall is fellow Democrat Nanette Barragan. The 44th district is “solidly Democratic.” Hence, whoever wins the Democratic nomination will likely go on to win the general election. CrossFit Founder and CEO Greg Glassman has spoken to Barragan and expressed his support to her campaign.

While Hall has attacked Barragan for her legitimate success as an attorney, the real scandal is Hall’s less reputable revenue from the alcohol, tobacco and soda industries. That’s not to mention the profligate campaign spending Hall’s industry cronies have enabled.

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