CLEARFIELD — The city of Clearfield won’t use taxpayer money to try to stop the fluoridation of Davis County water after all.
The City Council declined to endorse a resolution Tuesday that would have lent city financial support to any citizens group that would initiate a petition drive to stop fluoridation in Davis County.
Only two weeks ago, the council unanimously voted to create the anti-fluoride resolution but after a fortnight’s reflection voted the measure down 3-2.
Those voting against the measure cited media scrutiny, public pressure and the fact that Clearfield residents voted for fluoridation in November as reasons for their change of heart.
“We’ve had enough press over this to last a lifetime,” Councilman Ivan Anderson said.
The controversial resolution’s defeat didn’t come without some fireworks.
Councilmen Curtis Oda and David Monson stood in staunch support of the measure, which encouraged citizens to initiate a petition drive that would return the fluoride issue to a vote in the county’s 15 municipal elections next fall.
“We want a revote,” Monson said, adding that the Davis County Health Department had been “one-sided and biased” prior to the November election that saw Davis County voters approve fluoridating their water 52 percent to 48 percent. The initiative passed by 99 votes in Clearfield, but it failed in five other Davis cities.
“We can’t lend monetary assistance when a vote has been taken,” Anderson said.
Oda and Mayor Thomas Waggonner also had some choice words for former County Board of Health chairwoman Beth Beck, who authored a scathing guest editorial ridiculing the Clearfield resolution in a local newspaper.
“If you (Beth Beck) have presented the facts about fluoride as you did the facts in your (editorial) we are all in a lot of trouble,” Waggonner said.
Despite his criticism of Beck, Waggonner opposed the resolution and said he wouldn’t sign the measure if the council passed it.
“I think what we ought to do is just drop this whole thing,” he said.
And after much debate, the council did drop it with only Oda and Monson sticking to their guns after two weeks of public scrutiny.
The pair argued that despite the November vote and fluoride’s benefit for rotting teeth, the mineral’s deleterious health effects and cost made a revote necessary. They also argued that the substance shouldn’t be forced on people through drinking water.
Oda said he was sure that someone would suffer ill effects from fluoride, which is toxic in large doses, and would sue Davis County and local municipalities for forcing fluoride on them. He said the resolution would keep Clearfield out of such class-action lawsuits.
His pleas, however, eventually fell on deaf ears.