To the Editor:
Note: Rick Young filed a ballot initiative to ban the sale of coffee that is not organic, shade-grown or fair trade.
Rick Young has got to be kidding. Alas, his actions say otherwise. Why, on this earth, should I rely upon a law to tell me how and where to purchase my coffee?
I might be sympathetic to the argument that one should buy Free Trade coffee in order to support coffee farmers. I might even buy Free Trade Coffee, but that's my choice. Where's the initiative from Mr. Young to the Berkeley electorate in favor of small independent dairy producers? After all, many if not most people who consume coffee amend it with a dairy product (be it half-and-half, whole milk or low fat).
Small independent dairies are required by law to pay advertising fees to the California Fluid Milk Processor Advisory Board and they reap no benefit in return; these dairies aren't mentioned by name. These small independent dairies are much closer to Berkeley than any coffee farmers. Even so, Mr. Young ignores their plight. Where's Mr. Young's initiative directing Berkeley citizens to buy milk that is produced only by small independent dairies in Bay Area counties? These dairies may fail without our support and with them goes the open spaces used for grazing dairy cattle. The small independent dairy producers have families to support and are vital parts of their communities. It might even be possible that there are more than a handful of Berkeley citizens that actually know and count amongst their friends small independent dairy farmers in Bay Area counties.
There isn't an initiative directing Berkeleyans to purchase their dairy products from small independent dairies in Bay Area counties because it's ridiculous. A law to tell me how to buy my coffee is a law to be ignored or to be willfully and repeatedly broken. But you wouldn't know what that is, would you, Mr. Young? It's called civil disobedience.
David A. Dempster