Patience appears to be growing thin on both sides of the Independence fluoride debate.
Six speakers signed up to address the Independence City Council during its meeting Monday night. Mayor Ron Stewart, however, said that he was frustrated, adding that the fluoride dialogue now had been going on for seven months.
“I’m getting a little tired of hearing about it,” Stewart said. “It seems like we’re getting the `same old, same old.’ ”
Those opposed to the city raising the fluoride level in the city’s water supply said they also were growing tired of the subject.
“We are as fed up with it as you are,” said Bill Baggett. Baggett suggested it was those supporting higher fluoride levels who brought the controversy upon the City Council and that it now remained for council members only to take action.
“If you pass it, our only alternative is to get busy with a petition drive,” said Baggett.
Last week the city’s advisory health board recommended that the city raise the level of fluoride in the city’s water to fight dental disease. On Monday night, Rita Morgan, while speaking to the council, said that the written report compiled by the advisory board incorrectly suggested that one expert, Paul Connett, a chemistry professor at St. Lawrence University in New York, favored raising the city’s fluoride level.
In a letter sent this week to area newspapers, and quoted by Morgan, Connett said that he did not intend that his responses to the board’s questions be considered as an endorsement of higher fluoride levels.
Also, Morgan said, Connett offered to publicly debate anyone in Independence on the issue.
After all the speakers had appeared, Stewart said that Independence City Manager Larry Blick had been asked to prepare a list of options for the council.
“I appreciate everyone’s concerns,” he added.