Ballot measure campaigns attract all sorts. The most
colorful group in this year’s election, though, might just be the crusaders for
Proposition 37, which would require labels on genetically modified foods.
They are fighting some of the biggest food and
bioengineering firms in the world. The likes of Monsanto, DuPont and Kraft have poured millions of dollars
battling the measure. The opponents to the measure argue it is based on junk
science and would result in endless litigation and higher food prices.
The big corporate money on the pro side? Much of it comes
from one company, which is hardly big and hardly corporate. It is called Dr.
Bronner’s Magic Soaps All-One-God Faith Inc. Based in California, of course.
Where else would such a company find a home?
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These are the people who make the peppermint and other
flavored liquid soaps with all the tiny text crammed onto the label. Perhaps
you used it for some of the advertised 18 uses -- brushing teeth, shaving, deodorant,
and so on -- on camping trips in your youth. If you squint hard enough you can
read some of the inspiration the late Dr. Bronner sought to impart with all
those microscopic words. Such as: “Love is like a willful bird, do you want it?
It flies away! Yet, when you least expect its bliss it turns around and it’s
here to stay!”
A company spokesman called the L.A. Times last week, hoping to
get a reporter to include CEO David Bronner’s perspective in a story about all
the money going into ballot initiatives. But when the reporter called Bronner,
he wasn’t immediately available. The spokesman explained in an email: Bronner
was doing his court-ordered community service.
In June, according to the Washington Post, Bronner “locked himself in a metal cage…outside the White
House with a stash of hemp plants and equipment, hoping to make enough hemp oil
to spread on a piece of French bread.”
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The story goes on. “Park police
and Secret Service agents joined D.C. police and fire officials, who worked for
a couple of hours to open the cage. Bronner had designed the trailer so it
could not easily be broken into or towed away by police.”
Back in California, it seems the
quirky Yes on 37 campaign was downright restrained compared to what might have
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campaign against Prop. 37
Proposition 37 campaign launches TV ads
Proposition 37 really cost or tell voters?
-- Evan Halper in Sacramento
Photo: David Bronner of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps sits at his company's booth in front of some of his organic soaps and other body products at the Food Marketing Institute trade show in Chicago. Credit: Brian Kersey / Associated Press