BY NOW, you have probably seen and read their ads, have had phone calls from them and have spotted their posters in drug and grocery stores everywhere. They are the giants of the beverage industry, the makers and distributors of throwaway bottles and cans, who have organized under the deceptive name of "Clean Capital City Committee." Color them green -- their campaign is on its way to becoming the most expensive ever mounted around town. At last count, they had spent at least $1.1 million and were expected to top the $1.2 million record set by Mayor Barry in his reelection campaign last year.

The ad pitch includes some strange testimonials: one by someone who says she delivered her lines for a $40 fee, but who says she actually supports passage of Initiative 28. Another ad features the comments of Howard University economics professor Lenneal J. Henderson, who warns of higher beverage prices if the initiative passes and who claims that it will have little impact on trash and litter. Unmentioned is the fact that the professor has been on the industry group's payroll as a consultant since March.

Money is talking against the initiative, and doing quite a job. Will the residents swallow all the distortions about pricing that are being fed them by these paid "witnesses"? Or will they see through all those dollar bills to the tons of metal and glass that they are buying over and over again and paying to have collected over and over again? Smart shoppers -- those who think about who's buying support in a big way here -- should let Initiative 28 have a chance to work, by voting yes on Nov. 3.