According to this story, ballot measures instituting a soda tax were defeated in the Richmaond district in San Francisco and in El Monte, California. Sounds like good news to me, but not only is the author unhappy with the outcome of the ballot elections, he can't talk about it in terms of whether the actual tax would be beneficial or not. Instead (according to the graphic accompanying the article) he talks about all the good things that could have been done with the money spent (by something called "Big Soda") on the advertising campaign to defeat the measures--so many playgrounds, so many jump-ropes--if it had been spent on truly civic-minded (I guess) things instead.
How about not trying to solve all problems by raising taxes? The author seems genuinely bothered by the prospect of money in private hands and not subject to government confiscation. That's the only way I can explain the strange argument made here. People spending their own, hard-earned money also buy jump-ropes and organic vegetables.