Fluoride Action Network

Healdsburg voters likely to face a slew of local ballot issues

Source: The Press Democrat | June 18th, 2016 | By Clark Mason

This fall, Healdsburg voters are expected to have plenty to ponder on their ballots.

On Monday, the City Council is poised to place three issues on the November ballot, including asking voters to scrap the limit on the number of new homes that can be built annually; increase the hotel bed tax to help pay for affordable housing; and decide whether to stop adding fluoride to the municipal water supply.

Those are some of the local topics mixed into a ballot that will include choosing the nation’s president and voting on whether to legalize marijuana in California. And there also will be countywide issues to consider, such as whether to extend the life of community separators, which are buffers against urban sprawl, as well as whether to ban genetically modified seeds and plants.

Councilman Gary Plass worried the city may be flirting with potential “ballot fatigue.”

“There could be too many things on the ballot,” he said Friday, adding that sometimes it causes voters to just cast “no” votes.

… Finally, the council on Monday will consider putting on the ballot the question of whether to stop fluoridating city drinking water, or possibly wait to get more information on how it would affect municipal operations.

Although fluoridation is common in many American communities to prevent tooth decay, Healdsburg is the only city in Sonoma County that adds fluoride to its water, a practice that it instituted more than 60 years ago.

Healdsburg voters in 2014 overwhelmingly voted by 64 percent to keep adding it to their water.

But a determined band of anti-fluoride activists again circulated petitions this year and obtained more than the minimum 596 voter signatures to place the issue on the ballot again.