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[greenyes] The New York Times editorial today on money influencing BBBB in Albany
Dear BBAN Friends and Allies,

      The New York Times editorial today headlined "A Nickel's Worth in 
Albany" takes aim at the influence of the beverage industry in thwarting 
improvements in the state bottle bill program.  Writing about the unredeemed 
deposits, the NYT's editorial states:

      "As it stands now, every time you fail to redeem a beer or soda bottle, 
the bottler keeps the nickel deposit, or at least most of it.  In 20 years 
since the program began, all those bottles have added up.  The estimates of 
how much the companies have made start at $135 million a year.  In a state 
desperately strapped for money, that should be helping pay for recycling or 
even education."

      The biggest obstacle to passage of a 'Bigger Better Bottle Bill' (BBBB) 
may be Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, who comes under fire in the 
ediotiral as well.  A system of influence peddling is exposed in the 
editorial, with many specifics the public seldom knows about.

      Coca-Cola, for example, has been represented since the first of the 
year by Patricia Lynch, "a former aide of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and 
now one of the most plugged-in lobbyists in Albany...," according to the 
Times.

      Drawing on a recent survey by the New York Public Interest Research 
Group, the editorial highlights the role of money in the legislature, saying:

      "Pepsi-Cola bottlers, for example, have reported more than $50,000 to 
various Democrats and $103,000 to assorted Republicans since 2000.  A beer 
wholesalers' group has handed out over $170,000 in the last three years, with 
contributions ranging from $150 to a few members of the Assembly to more than 
$36,000 for Gov. George Pataki."

      In a concluding statement based on Senate Majority Leaders Bruno's 
statement that "We've been there, done that, and I don't anticipate that 
happening now," and the same view expressed by other Albany insiders, The New 
York Times says:

      "The fact that [expansion bills] aren't given much chance of passage 
raises a question, not about unredeemable bottles but about the scant 
possibility of redeemable politicans."

      CRI, NYPIRG and the growing coalition of leaders working for the Bigger 
Better Bottle Bill certainly face an uphill battle, but if the truth is told 
and repeated about the effectiveness of deposits and the corruption of the 
legislative process by Coca-Cola, Pepsi, the beer and grocery industries the 
battle may still be won.

-- Lance King
  Recycle and Vote Environment (RAVE)
  5615 26th North
  Arlington, VA 22207
  (703) 536-7282   


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