By Ray Holley | Managing Editor | The Healdsburg Tribune
Healdsburg voters will be asked again this year whether to continue fluoridating city water, but the wording of the initiative is the subject of a legal battle this week.
Fluoride opponents lost a ballot effort to ban fluoridation two years ago and came back this year with a new tactic. A petition was circulated that, if placed on the ballot and passed, would require manufacturers of the fluoride additive to prove it is safe before it can be added to drinking water.
Healdsburg officials say proving such a thing is impossible and the Healdsburg City Attorney recommended changing the lengthy ballot language to a simple yes-or-no on the subject of fluoridation.
The language suggested by the petition was: “Shall the City of Healdsburg institute a moratorium on all municipal water fluoridation until the manufacturer supplying the fluoridating chemical provides the public with an accurate list of all contaminants and their amounts for each batch sold to the City, a detailed toxicological report on the fluoridating chemical, and a written verification of the chemical’s safety for ingestion by all water consumers, once introduced into the water supply?”
The city attorney suggested changing the language to: “Shall the City of Healdsburg stop fluoridating its water supply?”
Anti-fluoride activists protested and charged that the city is violating state election law by substantially changing the language that was on the petition signed by local voters. Healdsburg officials counter that the language is misleading and the city has a duty to give the voters a clear and unambiguous choice.
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