Hospital mistakenly listed among anti-soda tax groups
As the D.C. budget season heads toward its frenzied conclusion this month, here's a bit of free advice to all those trade associations and advocacy campaigns currently swirling around the John A. Wilson Building: When you start compiling lists of organizations that have signed up to be a part of your coalition, make sure they actually know about and have agreed to support your cause.
Case in point, the well-funded group behind the No D.C. Beverage Tax campaign. As DCist previously reported, despite having a rather low-rent looking website (all the better to give the illusion of grassroots legitimacy, perhaps?), this is a coalition of several dozen businesses that oppose Mary Cheh's proposed soda tax.
It's being bankrolled by the bottlers who are members of the American Beverage Association (read: Coke and Pepsi), and is represented publicly by Ellen Valentino, who by day is the main point of contact for the local Md./D.C./Delaware branch of the powerful trade group.
The anti-soda tax campaign has enough money to have been running numerous print and radio ads locally, as well as robo-calling D.C. residents on the issue. But when the website first debuted earlier this month, among the initial list of coalition members, which is made up almost entirely of convenience stores, liquor stores and chain restaurants that sell a lot of soda, one name really stood out: United Medical Center. Which is of course a hospital.
A hospital that is partially owned by the D.C. government and is currently in a state of serious financial disarray, no less. (The District recently abandoned plans to seize control from owner Specialty Hospital of Washington entirely, but will likely continue to pursue some kind of receivership).
Despite its precarious finances, this still didn't make a lot of sense. [Continue reading this piece by Sommer Mathis here at DCist].
Washington Post editors
| May 19, 2010; 4:25 PM ET
Categories: D.C., HotTopic, Local blog network
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