Declining soda sales no surprise

The alarming drop in beverage sales in Philadelphia is not a surprising development, nor is it a temporary decline that will eventually rebound, as the Kenney administration asserts ("Soda sellers report big loss," Wednesday).

The economic harm is not only being felt by distributors, supermarkets, neighborhood convenience stores, and all of their employees; it's also being felt by Teamsters Local 830. Many of my members who work as account representatives and sales personnel for the soda companies have seen their take-home pay cut in half and some by as much as 70 percent because they're moving so much less product. Layoffs are imminent. Many have quit the business altogether as a result of plunging sales.

We predicted this terrible situation a long time ago. Many of my affected members and their families live in city districts represented by Council members who voted for the beverage tax. It's a shame those Council members didn't listen to us. The beverage tax will never generate the revenue the city projected. It's discriminatory and should be overturned by the courts.

|Daniel H. Grace, secretary-treasurer, Teamsters Local 830, Philadelphia, dgrace@team830.org

Unwilling to pay the price

I am ashamed to admit this: I am a supporter of the soda tax to help preschool children, but I am unwilling to put my money where my mouth is.

When I went into a Shoprite to buy diet soda and saw the sticker that tells how much "sweet" tax was added to the price, I instead bought several bottles of Perrier and a gallon of unsweetened tea - plus several bottles of Dasani 0-calories, natural fruit flavor drops - to satisfy my sweet tooth. And when I buy a chicken cheesesteak at the local grill, its bottled water that I order, because paying an extra dollar for a bottle of diet soda is highway robbery to me.

I'm beginning to think that this soda tax is a very bad idea - especially if the nice kids working at my favorite Shoprite are losing their jobs.

|Rosamond Kay, Philadelphia, yakr47@aol.com

Mayor can't have it both ways

The revenue from the city's sugary beverage tax is not what Mayor Kenney expected. Saying that soda companies "knew their product was causing fatal, expensive diseases" shows that he speaks from both sides of his mouth. He wanted healthier Philadelphians, who now choose to drink water because it's good for them; therefore, he will not receive the windfall he was looking for.

Exactly what does the mayor want - kids in free daycare, or a healthier city? He can't have it all. It seems he shot himself in the foot on this.

|Michele Recupido, general manager, Locust Rendezvous, Philadelphia, locustrendezvous@verizon.net

No dialogue at Toomey town hall

I was disappointed in Sen. Pat Toomey's telephone town hall last week, which was announced on Facebook 90 minutes before it began ("Toomey says he's not dodging Pa. voters," Feb. 17). He started with an 11-minute monologue repeating past public comments. The question-and-answer portion lasted 30 minutes. The 10 people selected to ask questions had no opportunity to respond to Toomey's rote answers. He did not answer other questions; he could have done so online.

Without evidence, he blamed high call volume, busy signals, and full voice mail on malicious "outside groups," as opposed to an expression of serious concerns that real Pennsylvanians such as myself have about cabinet selections and Republican policies. The almost-half of his constituents who disagree with GOP positions deserve a two-way conversation. Senators swear allegiance to country - not to party.

Toomey should schedule some real town halls.

|Sharon Moon, Yardley, makefieldlee@gmail.com

No such thing as safe opioids

Dr. Charles Cutler's approach to fighting opioid addiction with abuse-deterrent opioids is misguided, naive, and dangerous ("Fighting opioid abuse," Wednesday).

Opioids will leave a scourge wherever they are marketed. The economics of opioids is a force so powerful and seductive that big pharma must expand its two-pronged marketing war to counter anti-opioid sentiment:

1. Promoting the idea that opioid addiction is normal. Have you seen the commercial where the opioid user's biggest headache isn't his habit, but his constipation?

2. Selling the idea of "safe" opioids - "abuse-deterrent" opioids.

I support the approach of State Sen. Daylin Leach (D., Montgomery) to try cannabinoids first. Cannabinoids are proving to be extremely effective for reducing pain every day.

|Joe DaCrema, president, DaCrema Botanicals, Plymouth Meeting, joe@dacremabotanicals.com