Still smarting a week after the Olivehurst Public Utility District board voted to stop fluoridating water, the First 5 Yuba Commission decided Thursday to ask the board to reconsider, and also consider internally whether there was a way to ensure future grants didn’t suffer a similar fate.
Some commissioners openly expressed disappointment or even anger with OPUD’s move, saying it was insulting after the commission voted four years ago to give the district $113,500 in grants to begin fluoridation.
“To me, it reeked of an arbitrary and capricious decision by a public board,” said Dr. Joseph Cassady, a commissioner member and Yuba County’s chief health officer.
Cassady said he favored of requesting all public documents and correspondence that led to the board’s decision.
“This county deserves better than that,” he said.
Other commissioners said while the decision was unfortunate, they would look into ways to prevent such a situation in the future. The commission approved, unanimously, sending a letter to ask the district board to reconsider its 3-2 vote.
Commission member and Yuba County Supervisor Mary Jane Griego said she would also like to see if there is a way to use the equipment OPUD used and give it to another public entity.
“I think there is a lesson here, and we need to go back to the drawing board,” she said.
But even after the item was discussed and voted on, the topic didn’t end. On a separate item, the utility district had requested funding for summer swimming programs, drawing a sarcastic response from Cassady.
Noting both water and concrete swimming pools could be defined as health hazards — as fluoride opponents had argued to the OPUD board — it would be irresponsible to give the district money for them, Cassady said, in a lengthy diatribe.
Griego said Cassady’s attitude was poor. The board deferred action on the pool funding to next month’s meeting, saying the proposal by the district had to be fleshed out first.