Page One

The coffee initiative

Rick Young
Friday October 18, 2002

To the Editor: 


As you know, the city of Berkeley allows for proponents and opponents of ballot measures to write arguments for and against ballot measures. The city then sends these arguments to all registered voters. 

As the authors of the rebuttal to my argument in favor of Measure O, which requires Berkeley retailers to sell only organic, shade-grown and Fair Trade coffee, you wrote “By stating that all non-certified coffee is produced under exploitative conditions, the proponent [of Measure O] is attempting to mislead voters.” 

One small problem: I have never stated that all non-certified coffee is produced under exploitative conditions. What I have said is that without certification, consumers have no idea how their coffee was produced, and it may very well have been produced under exploitative conditions.  

I deeply resent your comment that I am trying to mislead voters, and I am outraged that such a comment will be sent to every registered voter in Berkeley. As an attorney, I particularly value my reputation for honesty. I demand a public apology for your outrageous comments. 


Rick Young