61 % of Voters in San Marcos, Texas, voted for ending Water Fluoridation
nsnbc : San Marcos, Texas, ends almost three decades of potable water fluoridation after 61% of voters, on November 3, this year voted against the practice that is outlawed in most European countries. The vote was San Marcos first ever citizen-led charter amendment and passed in 18 out of 19 of the city’s voting precincts.
The campaign to end the fluoridation of potable water in the city was led by the Fluoride-Free San Marcos Coalition. On April 2, 2015, a group of coalition activists turned in more than 1,600 voter signatures, more than the roughly 1,000 necessary to force a vote for an amendment to the city charter. However, the City of San Marcos refused to accept the petition as required under state law, instead arguing that the petition did not meet City of San Marcos guidelines.
The coalition reports that it responded by threatening to sue the city for non-compliance with Texas state law. The City of San Marcos took action to sue the petitioners individually, in what the activists’ attorney, Brad Rockwell, referred to as”hysterical and punitive” lawsuit. The petitioners counter-sued for the judge’s order to place the amendment on the ballot.
Fluoride-Free San Marcos Coalition organizer Sam Brannon reports that in July of 2015, Texas’ 22nd District Court Judge Bruce Boyer ruled in favor of the petitioners, and the City of San Marcos filed an immediate notice of appeal. This case still sits in the appeals court. However, on August 24, 2015, San Marcos City Council placed Proposition 1 on the November 3rd ballot, with their own fluoride-free language. It’s not the language activists were seeking, stating that City officials carved out language that would allow them to accept fluoridated water from the City’s water supplier. Brannon states:
“We thought it was still worth supporting while our amendment is hung up in Appeals Court. And 61% of voters spoke out in favor of ending fluoridation. We believe that our City Council will honor the people’s wishes and move swiftly to end this practice in San Marcos.”
On December 1st, the San Marcos City Council is set to take action to adapt the contract with the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority, which operates the City’s water facilities, to reflect the fluoride-free wishes of voters. Brannon notes that there is still more work to do, including addressing Proposition 2 which passed with 55% of the vote. Brannon stated:
“Prop 2 was placed on the ballot by Council to prevent future citizen-led charter amendments from reaching voters, and we believe it passed due to the measure’s confusing language. … Texas case law makes its clear that cities may not add requirements on top of state law for charter amendments. We’ll probably wind up in court over this, too. It’s a terrible waste of taxpayer money, and an inordinate burden on citizens to have to use the courts to force the City that claims to serve them to follow state law.”
Brannon would note that he envisions a more empowered community in San Marcos because the action taken by some 80 volunteers who worked to pass this measure. He added:
“We’re proving that citizens do have power. We’re proving the process works, in spite of the resistance of city officials. Once we’ve finished successfully running the traps, we’ll have a repeatable process that others can follow when they feel the City is not responding to their needs. This was a very big win for the people of San Marcos.”
Brannon believed that in spite of the City’s resistance, the will of the voters will ultimately be embraced by city officials. Referring to the fact that the city is known as a “clean water community” Brannon said:
“Being known as a ‘clean water city’ will actually be a selling point. San Marcos will be the first city between Austin and San Antonio that has stopped adding what the EPA refers to as hazardous waste to our drinking water. That’s a bright-line distinction between this community and those that surround us. ‘Clean water’ is a unique market advantage, if they’re wise enough to use it.”
The case against Fluoridation is one of many ongoing cases in the United States. The fluoridation of potable water is highly controversial. While the case for fluoridation is based on the chemical’s effect against tooth decay, opponents argue that fluoride mitigates tooth decay when it is used topically, as in tooth paste.
Ingestion of fluoride has been associated to a large number of adverse effects, including fluorosis, affecting both bones and teeth. Moreover, there is a growing body of evidence that correlates fluoride to a cohort of neuro-developmental disorders including ADHD and autism spectrum disorders.
Fluoridation of drinking water is not any longer practiced in most European countries due to lack of evidence for the efficacy of water fluoridation, and in some countries due to the adverse effects. The Netherlands explicitly changed its constitution to assure that the practice could never be used again.
CH/L – nsnbc 13.11.2015