Farm Press Blog

Uphill fight waged to turn back Prop 37

RSS
  • Polls show Prop 37 winning by 2 to 1.
  • Opponents gear up media campaign to turn back anti-agriculture initiative with "facts."

Vote no on California’s Prop 37. Most of you will. However, we are likely to be on the losing end of the vote.

Polls are now showing the so called right-to-know food labeling proposition will pass by a 2 to 1 margin. (The people leading the fight against Prop 37 point out that this poll came out before they started their media campaign.)

The poll showed overwhelming support for Prop 37, despite the fact that it is a convoluted ballot initiative that defies definition. It is called an organic food referendum; an anti-science/anti-biotechnology statement; a food fight; anti-Monsanto; a food safety initiative; and a pushback against junk food among other definitions.

Opponents call it “a deceptive, deeply flawed food labeling scheme that would add more government bureaucracy and taxpayer costs, create new frivolous lawsuits, and increase food costs by billions — without providing any health or safety benefits.” Prop 37 is opposed by a broad coalition of farmers, scientists, doctors, businessmen, taxpayers, and consumers.

Then why in the name of common sense do a majority of California voters want to approve it? Because radicals have fomented anti-GMO sentiment that defies reason and science.

Even more ludicrous is the fact that the overwhelming percentage of crops grown worldwide are genetically modified. There has been no “news” coverage of the fact that the vast majority of corn, cotton and soybeans grown in the world are genetically modified and no one, except some dubious corn-stuffed French rats, has become ill from it. No one understands what genetically modified means. Everyone is just against it, fueled by radicals who are very adept at stage-managing the media.

For example, newspapers and television talking heads bought into inflammatory rhetoric from the protesters who blocked shipments and deliveries at Monsanto’s vegetable seed company in Oxnard, Calif., in September as a protest against genetically modified organisms (GMOs) from the food supply and to bolster passage of Prop 37.

The radicals denounced “Bt toxins” in biotech crops. Of course the protesters' handout press releases failed to mention the fact that Bt is Bacillus thuringiensis, a natural soil-dwelling bacterium, commonly used as a biological pesticide in organic food production. It has been used safely to control pests since the 1920s. Facts like that never see newspaper ink or television airtime.

Another is the French rat study that has more scientific holes in it than a block of Swiss cheese. The story was planted in the mass media by radicals and quickly spread on the Internet. It was immediately discredited worldwide, but no one remembers the second day stories.

The opposition has raised more than $30 million to defeat Prop 37. Proponents have raised just $4 million. The supporters of the initiative do not need $30 million. They get all the free publicity they want with news releases loaded with provocative lies to snatch editors' attention.

The $30 million is being spent to fight with “facts” instead of fists.

There still needs to be a junkyard dog mentality these final few weeks before the vote. You can bet the Prop 37 advocates do not plan to play nice.

Let me tell you how I would run this campaign:

  1. I would develop a television spot with a staged, terrible car wreck, complete with smoking vehicles and people sitting on a curb with heads bandaged and in obvious distress — police lights flashing everywhere. The main character of the video would be a diminutive little man in a rumpled polyester suit, carrying a tattered brief case. He would be identified as an attorney. He would be handing a business card to one of the injured motorists saying, “If you want to sue someone, I am your man.” The tag line on the commercial would be: “People like that lawyer are the ones who wrote Proposition 37 and want you to approve it. Vote no on 37.”
  2. I would also tie Prop 37 to Prop 215, the ballot initiative that legalized medical marijuana in California and created a lawless nightmare in California. It has become an open door for the Mexican drug cartels to pillage this state. I would develop a video showing law enforcement officers loading trucks with front-end loaders stuffed with uprooted marijuana plants. In the video would be a half-dozen handcuffed banditos sitting on the ground with a pile of automatic weapons nearby. The tag line would be “The same people who brought the medical marijuana initiative are the same ones behind Prop 37. Vote no on 37.”
  3. I call this the Golden Rice message. I would obtain a video of poor, undernourished children with an announcer explaining that a Swiss scientist has genetically modified rice to contain high levels of Vitamin A. Vitamin A is deficient in the diets of many children in impoverished nations. 500,000 children go blind each year due to a lack of Vitamin A. The announcer would say, “Anti-GMO radicals have blocked the release of Golden Rice, and children continue to needlessly go blind. These are the same people behind Proposition 37. Vote no on 37.”

Admittedly, these campaign suggestions are pretty despicable. No one likes to wallow in the mud like those who relish knocking American agriculture. However, Prop 37 is another right-to-farm-and-feed America issue. It has nothing to do with food labeling or food safety or biotechnology. It’s another dogfight we cannot afford to lose.

Obviously, the brains behind the anti-Prop 37 team don’t want to get dirty. I sincerely hope Prop 37 goes down hard, turned back with facts and dignity.

Discuss this Blog Entry 27

Anonymous (not verified)
on Oct 10, 2012

I have the right to know what is in my food. I have the choice whether or not to buy it. It's a LABEL. Put it on there.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Oct 11, 2012

You already have that choice. There are plenty of products with the Non-GMO Project verified seal. Why inflict the cost of a new bureaucracy on everyone?

Anonymous (not verified)
on Oct 12, 2012

why must the company not putting the gmo in the product bear the costs and not the company using the risky technology?

Anonymous (not verified)
on Oct 10, 2012

As a Georgian watching this unfold miles away, I have to say it's truly unfortunate that proponents are missing the point that Prop 37 is poorly written and not as simple as just placing a little sticker on the cereal box. The unintended consequences which would result from the passage of Prop 37 will be more devastating than any supposed "good" that will come from this. The disconnect between lawmakers, consumers, and producers/farmers is growing at an alarming rate. Certainly, everyone has the right to know what they are consuming but, this legislation is clearly not the way to go. Here's to hoping (and wishing), for the sake of Californians AND the rest of the country, that this gets knocked down.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Oct 24, 2012

You say that no one is affected negatively by GMO crops but in Argentina many children in suffered birth defects from aerial spring of the pesticide round up used in conjunction with GMO soy bean crops.

Read about Sofia Gatica, an ordinary, working-class mother from Argentina, successfully mobilized more than a dozen of her neighbors to fight the indiscriminate spraying of Monsanto's Roundup (glyphosate) herbicide and other chemicals near the town of Ituzaingo where she lives -- and in the process, she has earned a prestigious environmental award for her brave, grassroots efforts.

MikeL (not verified)
on Oct 10, 2012

The "brains behind the anti-prop 37 team" have flooded California airwaves with deceit and lies. I have a right to know what is in the food I purchase and feed my family. It's really that simple. If farmers, manufacturers, etc. don't like it, don't do business in CA.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Oct 11, 2012

The cost to comply will go into your food bill. You seem to be willing to pay it which, by the way, you already can. What I have a problem with is building that cost into everyone's food bill so you can get what you want ... it's really THAT simple.

Jim M (not verified)
on Oct 10, 2012

It's our right to know what is in our food. If a food is genetically modified it should be labeled so the consumer can make an informed purchasing decision, just like in the 50 other countries around the world that already label, including all of the EU, Japan and even Russia and China. This is how a free market is supposed to work. Monsanto and Dow are the major funders behind the No on Prop 37 crowd. They told us DDT and Agent Orange were safe. There credibility is zero. Add to that the superweeds that are RoundUp Resistant and the cornborers that are Bt- resistant. There are no benefits of GMO foods to the consumer, only risks. The only benefits go to the big ag-biotech, chemical and junk food companies that don't care about the consumers, only maximizing profit. Well, the consumers are speaking and we want our foods labeled if they contain GMOs!

Anonymous (not verified)
on Oct 11, 2012

Another Monsanto mouthpiece? If not, do some homework. And don't miss the fact that the "tests" that the French did that you are so readily dumping on were more stringent and longer than the tests Monsanto did to say that their GM products are "safe". Stop forwarding vested interest. Who knows, you might be killing your own children and grandchildren with your attitude.

Casper (not verified)
on Oct 11, 2012

Something in this article tells me that there are people out there who are afraid that, if you give consumers a choice, they will choose, and probably against food and commodities that are tampered with.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Oct 11, 2012

The customer is always right. Accept the vote of the people and the market will still move forward. People have to eat and the marketplace does not offer any other choices, except in very limited choices at higher prices.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Oct 11, 2012

Yes, the CUSTOMER is always right. I submit that is exactly why we don't need a new law, bureaucracy and it's costs! But at least you're honest, or at least more direct, about wanting others to pay for your stuff.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Oct 11, 2012

"half-dozen handcuffed banditos sitting on the ground with a pile of automatic weapons nearby." It's sad that racism can be so baked-in to conventional thinking that it doesn't even raise an eyebrow. Next time, save the commercial-writing for the ad agencies.

Jared S (not verified)
on Oct 11, 2012

Food is in our Food! The FDA has strict enough laws and regs already, our food supply is the safest in the world! Passing this prop is ignorant and unneeded!

Anonymous (not verified)
on Oct 11, 2012

One of the arguments that people against labeling make is that labeling costs money. Well we already label for ingredients and nuturalional content. If the potential for lawsuits is so huge, why haven’t we heard about the millions of people suing processed food manufacturer’s for in correct calorie counts or ingredients listed out of proportional order. Prop 37 merely requires that GMO-containing foods be labeled with the phrase “partially produced with genetic engineering” anywhere on the front or back of packages. As I have family members whose chronic conditions limit the foods they can eat, I very carefully read labels to ensure that I’m buying food that meets the needs of my family. Because the primary source of funding for the anti-37 ads running on television night and day in California is coming from the same companies that profit from genetic engineering, one might surmise they don’t feel confident that their products truly meet the needs of California consumers.

soni (not verified)
on Oct 11, 2012

Problem is that a vast majority of farmland is being used to grow food that a huge cross section of the population doesn't want and these farms grow it in a way that is damaging to our ecosystems. What ever happened to supply and demand? That is a central tenant of a free market economy. It not only messes with nature, but economics.

ChemieBabe (not verified)
on Oct 11, 2012

Hey, let Prop 37 pass! Then sit back and watch the circus. If Calif. voters are that stupid they will get what they deserve, higer food prices and possibly less food choice. Some food manufactures may choose not to sell products to California. I haven't seen any adds about that! Hopefully all the poor will leave this state making it a paradise for over educated, elitist snobs like myself! I can hardly wait!!!!

Anonymous (not verified)
on Oct 12, 2012

How is it radical to consider "horizontal gene transfer", which has known intended side effects, a technology in need of labeling? To be against PROP 37 is anti-science. Why would we religiously dive into a technology just because the well-paid authoritarian technocrats are telling us it is good? We want science not religion and what biotech companies are offering us is faith: JUST believe us that the crops are the same! JUST believe us that there are no significant pleiotropic effects leading to unpredictable behavior in the genetic networks within the DNA! JUST believe us that we are really concerned about 'solving world hunger'. JUST believe us that genetic engineering is something we have been doing since the dawn of agriculture 10,000 years ago! JUST believe us that there are no significant ecological effects of introducing species with new behavior into integrated ecosystems!! Unless you JUST believe all of these premises... you are "anti-science"! .... no, we will not fall for this. "Radical" means "at the root". Maybe we are radical because we have identified the root of the problem, the root of your blindness and of your greed, and because we want to protect the roots of the earth, of creation, of evolution, so that life can continue to prosper and grow.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Oct 12, 2012

In the meantime,
"GMO-pushing 'No on 37' campaign forced
to pull TV ads after caught blatantly lying"
http://www.naturalnews.com/037...

Anonymous (not verified)
on Oct 12, 2012

No if's and's or buts, WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW WHAT WE ARE EATING, regardless if it's Good or Bad, Scientific or un scientific!! JUST LABLE IT!!

Anonymous (not verified)
on Oct 12, 2012

No if's ands or butts, CONSUMERS HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW WHAT THEY ARE EATING!! W#hether the food is good or bad, scientific or unscientific,WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW WHAT WE ARE EATING!! JUST LABLE IT!!

Anonymous (not verified)
on Oct 16, 2012

I am a person who loves science and who has kept abreast of new technologies. For me it is a personal choice not to eat GMO's and I go out of my way to buy natural products, only to find out later that it contained GMO's. To me this is false advertising;t GMO manipulation is anything but natural. Nature does not splice unrelated species into plants and the most worrisome of this activity are the viruses and bacteria that are used. With the exception of a rare mutation, most living creatures derive their genetic makeup from their parents, whether it be a plant or an animal. Bacteria and viruses can horizontially transmit their genetic material, meaning that they only need to be in contact with a host to swap genetic material. This has been proven with GMO's, when they found GMO genetic markers when scientists did a gut fauna research study on humans living in the U.K. where GMO's had been banned. And a Canadian research study has found that GMO's have transmitted from mother to unborn child. It has not been proven or disproven if they can also pass through the blood/brain barrier as well.
The other concern is that anything can be spliced into our food and we won't even know it. Already we are literally eating insecticides; we use to be able to wash the residue off. Tell me why is there research being done on corn genectically spliced with a natural human spermicide by the California biotech company, Epicyte? Who is meant to eat this corn?

Anonymous (not verified)
on Oct 25, 2012

People have a right to know what they put in their bodies. Folks who support 37 CARE about the food they eat and value farming probably more than the general population. The costs of labeling are minor and it is sad that the mega corporations are using scare tactics like cost and pretending to care about family farmers. Prop 37 only asks for information on labels. In a free country, that information should have been available without having to resort to Prop 37. The more Monsanto, General Foods, Kellogs, Dupont, and Syngenta POUR tens of millions of dollars into fighting this (enough to pay for A LOT of labeling), the more I want to know what they are so afraid consumers will learn.

Northern Cal Tim (not verified)
on Oct 31, 2012

Vote yes on 37. It is a good start.

How has the USA made it this far? I do love America, but most Americans do not know the difference between their as.. and a hole in the ground.

My intelligent family says "depleted uranium does not cause long term health problems to our soldiers and to areas we have used them". They say "show me the proof".

My family says "if genetically modified food was bad for you, it would be illegal".

If you want to have genetically modified food and seeds controlled by a few corporations, vote no on 37.

If you think people should learn from :The dust bowl, lead in gas, CFCs', holes in the ozone, rise in children with learning disabilities, lowering bee population, vote yes on 37.

Humans ......
So smart .....

on Oct 31, 2012

Vote yes on 37.

How has the USA made it this far? I do love America, but most Americans do not know the difference between their as.. and a hole in the ground.

My intelligent family says "depleted uranium does not cause long term health problems to our soldiers and to areas we have used them". They say "show me the proof".

My family says "if genetically modified food was bad for you, it would be illegal".

If you want to have genetically modified food and seeds controlled by a few corporations, vote no on 37.

If you think people should learn from :The dust bowl, lead in gas, CFCs', holes in the ozone, rise in children with learning disabilities, lowering bee population, vote yes on 37.

Super Rag weed is taking over areas used by GMO.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-19594335

Organic farmers did well during this Summers horrible drought in the US. With their thick topsoil and living microbes, the difference between the two fields besides each other is like night and day.

Ray Matthews (not verified)
on Nov 3, 2012

You would think only a idiot would not want to know what he is eating. Looks like Monsanto is throwing everything at this but the kitchen sink. Every paid media shill is touting the fact that support is waning, meanwhile they are collecting signatures in other states now to get this same type of labeling on the ballot.

Edmund Hunt (not verified)
on Nov 5, 2012

From what I have seen, there is enough evidence that BT-GMO and Roundup-Ready-GMO products are implicated with the rise in various diseases, that an immediate and intensive study needs to be made. Labelling is just a band-aid. GMO's should be put on a moratorium until objective, thorough, long-term health studies are done. No one at FDA or USDA associated with food safety or R&D should be associated with Monsanto, Dow, etc. That is conflict of interest. If the GMO food products do not pass stringent tests, they should be banned, and all seed stocks destroyed. I am not a "food freak", but after reviewing a long documentary about GMO's, I am outraged, and am going non-GMO for my family. Labelling should be specific, such as:

"This product contains the following genetically engineered products: Monsanto M8970 BT Corn, Monsanto M9931 Stax Corn, Dow RB800 Soy, Syngenta SR0089 Rape Seed" ...etc.

Post new comment
or to use your Western Farm Press ID
What's Farm Press Blog?

The Farm Press Daily Blog

Connect With Us

Blog Archive
Continuing Education Courses
New Course
California is becoming the first state in the nation to invoke regulations to reduce Volatile...
New Course
Ant control is an important element of harvesting a high quality almond crop. It starts with...
This accredited CE course focuses on choosing the correct variety alfalfa based on a number of...

Sponsored Introduction Continue on to (or wait seconds) ×