Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross, Chronicle Columnists
Updated 8:06 p.m., Saturday, November 10, 2012

Labor leaders and advocates for social services that have borne the brunt of recent state budget cuts are ripped over legislative leaders Darrell Steinberg and John Pérez’s out-the-gate pledge not to raise taxes, even though it looks like the Democrats will have supermajorities in both houses.

No one will talk on the record, but the feeling is, “We finally get the power, and you guys already give it up?”

As for Gov. Jerry Brown?

“I’ve already said that the only way to raise taxes is to ask the people,” Brown said.

So, if the new supermajority passes a tax, will he veto it?

“Well, we’re not into the threat game,” Brown said. “This a time of celebration and coming together.”

What may happen are deals where tax loopholes get closed or fees raised in exchange for reforms in the state’s environmental and workplace regulations.

Sweet tooth: Thanks to a $4 million campaign – and a little inadvertent help from President Obama – the beverage industry crushed the closely watched, penny-an-ounce soda-tax ballot measure in Richmond.

The African American community turned out in near-record numbers for Obama in Richmond, and polls showed most intended to vote “no” on the tax to fight obesity.

Given Michelle Obama’s push for healthier food choices to reduce childhood obesity, the irony wasn’t lost on Richmond councilman and retired cardiologist Jeff Ritterman, the tax’s main backer.

“The disappointment for us in Richmond is that some African American and Latino leaders haven’t understood that the soda tax will improve the health of their community members,” Ritterman said.

Mark Mosher, whose San Francisco consulting firm Barnes, Mosher, Whitehurst and Lauder ran the anti-soda-tax campaign, said Ritterman’s predominantly white Richmond Progressive Alliance didn’t help its cause with flyers declaring that obesity kills more people in Richmond than homicides.

As one elderly African American focus group member told Mosher’s campaign, “The biggest problem isn’t sugar – it’s lead, as in bullets.”

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