Yesterday, I wrote about an initiative, authored by Josie B. and Kent M. Whitney, that would impose additional tax on alcoholic beverages if they collect 433,971 signatures by August 23, 2010, and if a majority of California voters support the measure when they cast their votes on the November 2, 2010 ballot.

The initiative, if successful, would increase the excise tax on distilled spirits 2,703%, on beer 8,255%, and on wine a whopping 12,775%!

The one question being asked across the state is, “Who are Josie B. and Kent M. Whitney, and why are they behind this initiative?”

V Bit Set, an intrepid blogger, looked for answers yesterday, and I have piggybacked on the initial research.

LinkedIn puts Josie Whitney, Owner, Real Estate, in the Greater San Diego Area.

LinkedIn puts Kent Whiney, Owner, 21st Century Wellness Initiative in the Greater San Diego Area.

White Pages directory puts Josie B. Whitney and Kent M. Whitney at 5220 Fiore Terrace, Apt M201, San Diego, CA 92122-5693, (858) 678-8548

Kent is listed as being 69 years old, and in addition to being related to Josephine B. Whitney, is identified as being related to Frances A. Whitney.

Josephine B. Whitney is listed as being 66 years old.

There is a 21st Century Wellness at 23861 El Toro Road, Lake Forest, CA 92630 (949) 900-8262, (949) 462-9761. It is located 64.6 miles miles from the home of Josie B. and Kent M. Whitney. Calls to the first phone number are picked up by an answering service who would not confirm whether Kent whitney was involved with the company. The second number is answered by a different wellness company , New Mecca Wellness.

21st Century Wellness in Lake Forest, CA appears to be the home of Diets Don’t Work, same address, new phone number (800) 711-6336. This phone is also answered by an answering service, and the voice was very similar to the one previously encountered. The phone was answered, “Rebecca’s House, Eating Disorder Treatment Program.” Books, workbooks, online sessions, and DVDs are sold by Rebecca Cooper.

It is not certain that this is the 21st Century Wellness that Kent M. Whitney is the owner of; Rebecca Cooper of Rebecca’s House and Diets Don’t Work lists herself as the CEO of 21st Century Wellness Inc. on her selfgrowth.com biography page.

AgentScoreboard.com puts Josephine Whitney at Independence Realty, 7777 Alvarado Road, Ste 265, La Mesa, CA 91941 (619) 469-9755. Independence Realty is located 15.46 miles from the home of Josie B. and Kent M. Whitney.

Kent M. Whitney of San Diego, CA has 22 Customer Reviews on Amazon.com. One of Kent Whitney’s reviews, of The War by Ken Burns, is signed Master Chief Kent M. Whitney. Kent M. Whitney is very involved with photography.

Most interesting are Kent M. Whitney’s June 7, 2008 Amazon reviews of You: Staying Young: The Owner’s Manual for Extending Your Warranty and YOU: The Owner’s Manual, Updated and Expanded Edition: An Insider’s Guide to the Body that Will Make You Healthier and Younger by Michael Roizen M.D. and Mehmet Oz M.D.; Whitney wrote,

“O.K. Here we are again, another GREAT read by two of the best Doctors in their class. If you want many of the facts in a format that makes sense of it all, then this book is for you. It could very well be the book that adds a few more healthy years to your life. Now that’s a big deal in my point of view. Just think, we just might spend ALL our kids inheritance with the extra time we get on this old planet! Now that is a concept worth thinking about—> PTL Kent, “

and,

“A Kick, great read, pleasant style and full of the things we need to maintain a GREAT and healthy life. Dr Oz & Dr Roizen are in the know and lead their field of Wellness!! PTL Kent.”

The Amazon reviews confirm Kent M. Whitney’s interest in the Wellness field, let us know that Whitney is a serial Lord praiser  (PTL is an acronym for Praise The Lord), and claims that he served in either the Navy or Coast Guard long enough to reach the top 1% of his branch’s enlisted force, Master Chief Petty Officer.

These are assertions Josie B. and Kent M. Whitney give for their obscenely huge proposed tax increases:

(a) Alcohol-related problems cost Californians an estimated $38.4 billion annually, including the costs of illness and injury, the criminal justice system, lost productivity, impacts on the welfare system, trauma and emergency care, and the foster care system.

(b) Alcohol use also costs California’s state and county governments approximately $8.3 billion annually in increased health care costs, criminal justice costs, and lost tax revenues, while the income to the state from alcohol licensing, fees, excise taxes, and sales taxes is less than $1 billion annually.

(c) According to the u.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, beer is the most commonly consumed drink by binge drinkers, and 67 percent of binge drinkers are underage. Underage drinkers account for 17.5 percent of all beer consumed annually, spending $22 billion.

(d) Beer accounts for 80 percent of the preferred alcoholic beverages.

(e) Ninety-seven thousand college-age women are raped or sexually assaulted each year under circumstances involving the use of alcohol. Half of all rape victims were intoxicated and half of their attackers were intoxicated at the time of the attack.

(f) Alcohol use during pregnancy causes approximately 5,000 children to be born in California each year with alcohol-related birth defects.

(g) The cost of services for one person born with fetal alcohol syndrome is over $2 million each year.

(h) The use of alcohol is associated with an increased incidence of digestive disease, cancer, neuropsychiatric conditions, cardiovascular disease, malignant neoplasms, pregnancy-related conditions, fetal alcohol syndrome, and high risk sex.

(i) One person dies, and there are 533 incidents of violent crime, every hour due to alcohol use in California.

(j) While the staggering cost of alcohol abuse is borne by all Californians, 67 percent of the alcohol sold in California is consumed by only 11 percent of the population.

(k) The last alcoholic beverage tax increase in California was in 1992.

(l) An alcoholic beverage tax increase is necessary to mitigate the adverse effects of alcohol use.

Josie B. and Kent M. Whitney have provided an even dozen assertions why they wish to levy an increase in excise tax of 12,775% on a bottle of wine.  Tom Wark addressed the dirty dozen justifications yesterday in his blog Fermentation.

V Bit Set found a possible stronger motivation:

“One thing that really stood out to me in the proposal was this;

(c) Fifteen percent for the funding of grants for naturopathic treatment and recovery programs for alcohol addiction.

It seems very odd that such a significant amount of grant money would be directed specifically towards naturopathic treatments.”

V Bit Set also uncovered that a Kent Whitney was the LinkedIn self proclaimed owner of 21st Century Wellness Initiative in the Greater San Diego Area.

I do know that finding out more about Kent M. Whitney’s 21st Century Wellness Initiative, what it does, where it is located, is not easy.

I do know that the initiative directs that:

(g)  Five percent for programs and public awareness campaigns to prevent the use and abuse of alcoholic beverages. The public awareness campaigns funded under this subdivision shall focus on informing the public, particularly children and young adults, of the potential health risks of alcohol use.

It appears that there may be a financial motive behind the initiative. Josie B. and Kent M. Whitney may be positioning themselves as Wellness alcohol Treatment and Recovery specialists, hoping to cash in a a stream of funding they directed toward themselves through a manipulation of the initiative process.

It is possible that while Kent is not praising the Lord, he is ignoring Christ’s first miracle turning water to wine, and Christ’s exhortations, “to take this cup, all of you, and drink it.” Wine is an important part of my culture, and my brand of Christianity. Kent’s brand of Christianity seems to be heavy on the lip, but light on the service. He is more akin to the money changers, and he should be cast out from the church. I can’t swear for sure, but it is possible that Kent is a hypocrite, and hates God, and all his good works.

I do know that Josie and Kent are neo-prohibitionists. I thought it likely, but the words from their own initiative, “Five percent for programs andcampaigns to prevent the useof alcoholic beverages.”

The state’s analysis forecasts a loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue if this initiative becomes law. Jobs will be lost. Businesses will close. Millennia of wine and food culture, the healthful benefits of responsible wine enjoyment, the traditions of Christ’s church all ignored.

This seems like a myopic possible money grab, at the expense of state revenue, and an anti-alcohol initiative, disguised as a tax increase, authored by the kind of Christian that makes real Christians embarrassed. Having said that, sometimes appearances are deceiving, and I look forward to interviews of Josie B. and Kent M. Whitney.

This will continue.