PORT ANGELES — A process leading to a Nov. 6 advisory survey on fluoridation begins in earnest this week.
City Council members will select six questions from among 20 that will form the basis of a 6 p.m. Oct. 22 forum when they meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 321 E. Fifth St.
Those questions will be answered at the forum by a pro-fluoridation committee headed by Dr. Tom Locke, Jefferson County health officer and formerly for Clallam County as well, and an anti-fluoridation committee headed by longtime opponent Eloise Kailin, a retired physician.
The queries that the council will consider Tuesday are in the agenda packet for the meeting under “Meetings and Agendas” on the city website at http://tinyurl.com/PDN-fluoridationforum.
Here’s a sample from the pro-fluoridation side:
• How was fluoridation discovered, and why did it become so widely used by communities across America?
• What studies and reviews show that community water fluoridation works to prevent tooth decay?
Here’s a sample from the anti-fluoridation side:
• What accounts for the fact that the incidence of tooth decay in developed countries, like [in] Western Europe, has decreased at the same rate as in fluoridated cities in the United States?
• If a person wants to ingest fluoride, what other sources of fluoride are available?
• How much fluoride does it take to cause brain damage [and] lower IQ?
Mayor Dan Di Guilio said Friday that council members have heard both sides of the fluoridation debate at council meetings for the last several months, if not the last few years.
“I want to see questions that will kind of hone in on the things we’ve been hearing from both the pros and the cons,” he said.
Public comment will not be taken Oct. 22, but it will be at a 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Oct. 29 meeting, also at City Hall.
The committees submitted 10 questions each for the council’s consideration.
By Tuesday, council members will be expected to rank each question on a 1-10 scale, with a score of 10 signifying most interest and 1 least interest.
Scores will be turned in at the beginning of Tuesday’s meeting, the combined scores tallied by city staff and the results provided during the meeting, when topic is slated to come up toward the beginning of the session, after the consent agenda is approved.
The Clallam County League of Women Voters will moderate the forum.
It will include 10-minute opening remarks by each side.
The committees will have four minutes each to answer the six questions, with each side given one minute for rebuttal.
The committees will have 15 minutes for closing statements.
The October forum and public-comment meeting “are intended to be the centerpiece for public education regarding the fluoride issue,” City Manager Dan McKeen said in a memo to council members in preparation for Tuesday’s meeting.
Di Guilio hopes for a good public turnout.
“This is to enlighten the council on both sides of the issue, but I hope there is a lot of public there to help them make their own decision.”
The Nov. 6 survey will be mailed to an estimated 8,500 city residential and business water users in the city and 1,500 east of the city limit in the urban growth area, where the city supplies fluoridated water to residents and businesses.
They will include 250-word statements prepared by the pro and con committees, 150-word rebuttals, and self-addressed, postage-paid envelopes that must be postmarked by Nov. 27.
Former Clallam County Auditor Patty Rosand will supervise survey count.
McKeen said Friday that he expects the tally to be completed before the council’s Dec. 16 meeting.
Council members will use the results when deciding to continue the city’s controversial 10-year pledge to the Washington Dental Service Foundation to fluoridate city water pumped from the Elwha River.
That pledge ends after May 18, 2016.