TOLA fellows had the opportunity to participate in a historic election in the fall of 2014.


Under the leadership of three TOLA alumni members as full-time organizers, four of the six TOLA fellows were given a city council district to organize. They were successful in recruiting well over 200 volunteers and trained full-time campaign staff, most of whom had never worked on a political campaign, to carry out the voter contact effort.

Despite being significantly outspent by the soda industry, TOLA fellows and volunteers remained focused on door-to-door and phone banking efforts in each district.


As a result, Measure D won by a landslide – 29,540 voted Yes, and 9,243 voted No. (Over 76% voted Yes). The Measure received significant national and international attention. The beverage industry spent over $2.4 million in an attempt to defeat the measure in Berkeley. In spite of this, Berkeley became the first city in the Nation to approve a tax on sugary drinks.