PASCO — A grassroots group plans to attend the Pasco City Council meeting Monday to protest fluoride being added to the city’s water even though the council hasn’t scheduled time to hear them.
Pasco has fluoridated its water supply for more than seven years to promote dental health, but some people believe fluoride can cause other health issues.
The controversy was renewed in April after the city council accepted a $100,000 grant to install fluoridation equipment at a new city water treatment plant.
Although the council voted to accept the grant, members of a group calling themselves Campaign for Liberty and others now want to bring the issue up again.
“Bad timing, isn’t it?” said Michelle Murphy, a Campaign for Liberty member.
Murphy said the group began as Columbia Basin Citizens for Ron Paul during the congressman’s 2008 presidential run. When he stepped down, his national campaign group changed its name and the local chapter followed suit.
When the group met in May, they began looking for ways to influence local government. Murphy said they saw fluoridation as an issue to promote their mission to protect individual rights and began trying to get the council to reconsider.
At the council’s July 6 meeting, attorney Shawn Sant, a Pasco resident, asked for an opportunity to present information about the possible dangers of fluoridation.
But his request for the discussion was rejected on a 4-3 council vote.
Even so, Campaign for Liberty sent out a news release July 10 saying the group will be at Monday’s council meeting “to present on the issue of fluoridation of the water.”
Mayor Joyce Olson said she was not aware of the press release and had not received information about the gathering.
“If they contacted me in advance I might say we’re not conducting a public hearing,” she said. But she said she would ask other council members if they’d like to ask the group to select a few people to speak.
“We’re not prepared to do a presentation,” Murphy said. “We’re just there to deliver the packet (of information) they asked for.”
But Murphy said 50 to 100 people are expected to attend the meeting.
“It’s going to turn into a protest and we’re inviting council members to come out and protest with us,” she said.
Though the news release wasn’t sent to council members, Murphy said she informed councilmen Bob Hoffmann, Tom Larsen and Al Yenney — the three who voted in favor of allowing a discussion — about the group’s intentions.