Nestlé Waters appeal filed (Sacramento, CA)

Sacramento Press, Nov. 24, 2009

Save Our Water Sacramento filed an administrative appeal involving the Nestlé water-bottling plant on Monday, Nov. 23.

Davis attorney Don Mooney has agreed to take the case if the issue goes to court. Mooney represented McCloud residents in their six-year fight against a Nestlé Waters North America water-bottling plant near Mt. Shasta. The company abandoned plans for the plant in September.
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E-mails point to influence

Opinion, SeacoastOnline, November 19, 2009 2:00 AM

A Nov. 3 vote on water-rights in Wells already is well behind us, but we return to the issue this week with a story on communications between Poland Spring and a handful of town officials.  We stumbled across the story, as we report, after Jason Heft of the Ordinance Review Committee forwarded our way via e-mail a letter to the editor.

The letter stood out because it was signed by Heft but appeared to have been written by Corey Hascall of Barton & Gingold, the public relations firm out of Portland that has represented Poland Spring in its efforts to find new sources of spring water in southern Maine. It came as an attachment to a blank e-mail sent by Heft. The subject line on the attachment, an e-mail that had been forwarded to Heft by Hascall, said simply, “JASON: letter for your review.”

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Poland Spring PR “helping” public officials in Wells

By Steve Bodnar, SeacoastOnline, November 19, 2009

WELLS — Poland Spring’s use of an overt advertising campaign to connect with voters before a widely-debated vote on Election Day wasn’t the only way the company sought support leading into a Nov. 3 referendum, according to records from the Wells Ordinance Review Committee.

The company’s Portland-based public relations firm, Barton & Gingold, also corresponded with town committee members to help bolster support for a large-scale water extraction ordinance that would have regulated any contract in town to withdraw water for bottling purposes, according to municipal e-mails obtained in a Freedom of Access Act request.

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Nestlé’s Backroom Deal? (Sacramento, CA)

Part II- Nestlé at the City Council: Public Discussion or Backroom Deal?
by Evan Tucker, Sacramento Press, November 18, 2009

Who is to Blame?
Nestlé was recruited by the Sacramento Area Commerce and Trade Organization and the Economic Development Department, one of a series of bad projects they have brought here that include the municipal waste burning incinerator and the natural gas storage facility beneath homes in South Sacramento.

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Revolving-door syndrome (Sacramento, CA)

Sacramento News & Review Editorial, Nov. 16, 2009

It wasn’t all that surprising when one of Mayor Kevin Johnson’s chief volunteer advisers, Michelle Smira, announced a few weeks back that she’d be leaving her city post to work on behalf of Johnson’s “strong mayor” campaign.  Smira, who runs a public-relations business called MMS Strategies, sent her resignation to the mayor to formalize her decision, but she also wrote that she looks forward to working for Johnson again “at a later date.”  OK, no big deal. It stands to reason that accomplished staff volunteers might become candidates for job offers from those they served well.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t end there. Heads turned three days later when it was revealed that Smira had also taken a job working as a consultant for Nestlé Waters, the giant water-bottling company now building a bottling plant in south Sacramento.

So, uh … wait a minute.

There’s little doubt that Smira got the Nestlé job at least partially based on her political connections to the mayor. (Interestingly, he’s the one who greenlighted the water plant without a public hearing.) Like lobbyists, public-relations professionals use their connections to help them produce results for whoever they work for. That’s how it works.

But it’s weird to have key staffers (even volunteer ones) consider moving in and out of local public service this way, since a symbiotic relationship can develop between the two roles—and what’s good for the city is often not what’s good for an industry. That’s why there are anti-revolving-doors laws at the state and national level.

As the Smira case illustrates, it’s past time for Sacramento to take the revolving-door syndrome more seriously and strengthen existing laws that keep this tendency in check.

Producers of “Tapped” Allege Nestle Trying to Limit Distribution

Thanks to TC at StopNestleWaters for noting this:

This statement from a Brookfield News Times interview with the makers of the bottled water documentary “Tapped” largely speaks for itself:

“A lot of major film festivals are sponsored by Nestle,” Soechtig said. “We were wondering why we weren’t getting into Cannes. We thought, is our film not good enough? Then we realized they have a hand in everything.”

Nestle asked the Hot Springs Documentary Film Institute in Louisiana to not show the documentary, the Louisiana State University of Shreveport student newspaper, The Almagest, reported. The screening board denied Nestle’s request.

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Glossy campaigns sometimes wear thin (editorial)

SeacoastOnline, Opinion, Nov.5, 2009

Like Mayor Bloomberg in New York, who only narrowly held onto his seat Election Day despite spending more than $100 million of his own money on his election campaign, it’s hard not to wonder whether many Wells voters who rejected the proposed water ordinance were just fed up with the slick campaign Poland Spring led this fall.

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After McCloud, Nestle gets a thumpin’ in Maine

By Jamilla El-Shafei, organizer Save Our Water, Kennebunk, ME

Another community says NO to Nestle!  Activists in the communities which surround the Branch Brook Aquifer, located in the southern part of the state handily defeated a water extraction ordinance on a referendum vote in the town of Wells.

The ordinance, written under the direction of the Nestle Corporate lawyers, would have opened the door to large scale bottled water extractors. The vote was 3,194 against large scale extraction and 1,420 for, a 69.2% margin!!! This was a stunning defeat for the corporation who was ousted from McCloud, California and in Shapleigh and Newfield, Maine this year. This was convincing testimony that a grassroots  campaign cannot be replaced by slick marketing and Greenwashing.

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Water Fight Moving From City Hall To State House

By Tim Goff, SeacoastOnline, Nov. 4, 2009

WELLS,  ME — Voters in this oceanside community rejected an ordinance that would have allowed large-scale water extraction in their town.  The measure was defeated by a margin of better than 2 to 1 – with 1420 voting in favor and 3194 voting against the proposed ordinance.

“As the global water scarcity crisis gets worse, groundwater is going to be more and more important,” said Jamilla El-Shafie, co-founder of Save Our Water.  “We want to assure that this water is here for us for local control, under local control.”

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