ROCKPORT — Things seem to be getting a little chippy between the anti-fluoride and pro-fluoride advocates in advance of the Tuesday, May 5, vote on whether the town should continue fluoridating its drinking water.
Police said they were summoned to the Rockport Public Library at about 7 p.m. Thursday on a report that three anti-fluoride protesters were blocking access to pro-fluoride advocates who were trying to attend a Board of Health panel discussion in the library.
Police said a police detail en route at the time of the report did not witness any interference upon arriving at the library. The detail remained on the scene for the rest of the meeting.
Pro-fluoride advocates took out a full-page advertisement in the Gloucester Daily Times on Thursday and Friday urging residents to vote to keep the town’s water fluoridated and referring to anti-fluoride advocates as “anti-public health fearmongers.”
Also on Friday, Alan MacMillan, a member of the town’s Conservation Commission and an anti-fluoride advocate, submitted a letter to the Times in which he said about a half-dozen fluoridation opponents were handing out literature at the library’s two entrances Thursday night when one individual berated them and then called the police, falsely claiming they were blocking access to the building.
MacMillan also said opponents to the fluoridation of the town’s water were denied participation in the Board of Health panel discussion.
Selectman Paul Murphy said Friday that he attended the forum and didn’t encounter any interference from the anti-fluoride group, but added that he heard about it from others.
“If that’s the case, that’s very disappointing,” he said. “You can certainly disagree on issues, but when you block people’s access into a public building, that’s not right. I think Rockport’s better than that.”