CORNING, N.Y. — The debate over whether to add fluoride to Corning’s water has been going on for decades.
“Fluoridation is safe and effective. And it’s one of the best ways of improving the oral health of people in the community,” said dentist John Gunselman
“There are a couple good habits and a couple good decisions everyone needs to make. And if they don’t make them, no amount of fluoridation is going to change the fact that they’re going to have dental problems,” said fluoride opponent Kirk Huttleston.
The Corning City Council approved fluoridation in 2006. In 2007, a petition drive launched by Kirk Huttleston forced the question of whether they have the right to do that. In two weeks, that question will go to a public vote.
“There’s a proposition one, that, if this passes, will take the fluoridation issue out of the hands of the common council,” said Gunselman.
Voting “yes” would block any city action toward fluoridation. Voting “no” allows council members to proceed with fluoride as they were. With the election two weeks away, advocates and opponents have been putting out flyers, pamphlets, even signs, clarifying the proposal and their position.
“We’ve encouraged people to vote no on the proposition so the local control is retained by the city council and they can proceed to act on the fluoridation issue,” Gunselman said.
Fluoride advocates stress local control but admit if the city council’s authority is taken away, it won’t go to any other governmental body either. Huttleston says it will and should go to the public.
“That is not a mundane matter that should be delegated to the city council. That should be in the hands of the people that are affected by that decision. Vote yes on proposition one,” Huttleston said.
Huttleston says a “yes” vote would allow a public referendum, but admits if the people choose fluoride, they’d have to vote yet again to give the city back its authority to put it in the water.
Again, what Corning voters will be deciding on Election Day is whether or not to take away the city council’s right to add fluoride to the water supply.
PROPOSITION NO. 1, submitting a Local Law for the year 2007 to the electors of the city of Corning.
Should the City adopt a local law entitled “A Local Law to amend the Corning City Charter, as adopted by the City Council of the City of Corning 9-6-1994 by L.L No. 5-1994; approval at general election 11-8-94, in relation to the fluoridation of the water supplied by the City of Corning,” where passing of this law would prohibit council from enacting legislation to fluoridate the city’s water supply?