Fluoride Action Network

Court sides with Port Angeles over fluoride; group will ask for state Supreme Court review

Source: Peninsula Daily News | August 2nd, 2008 | By Paige Dickerson

TACOMA — A Port Angeles anti-fluoride group will ask the state Supreme Court to review a decision by the state Court of Appeals which ruled that two initiatives were rightfully thrown out in 2007.

The state Court of Appeals favored the city of Port Angeles in its ruling on July 15.

It agreed with Kitsap County Superior Court Judge Karlynn Haberly, who threw out the two initiatives in January 2007, saying both dealt with administrative instead of legislative matters, which is beyond the scope of the initiative process.

Since May 18, 2006, between 0.7 parts per million and 1.2 parts per million of fluoride has been added via daily monitoring to the Port Angeles water supply.

Protect Our Waters, which had petitioned to have a “Water Additives Safety Act” either adopted by the Port Angeles council or put to a public vote, will seek the Supreme Court review, the group said in a written statement this week.

The state Supreme Court denied a direct appeal Nov. 2.

In September 2006, the citizens group Our Water — Our Choice!, petitioned the City Council to have the “Medical Independence Act” either adopted by the council or put to a public vote.

The measure would have prohibited medication of people through drinking water.

Protect Our Waters, also sought to have a “Water Additives Safety Act” either adopted by the council or put to a public vote.

That would have prohibited the introduction of anything into the city’s drinking water intended to act as medication unless it is approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration.

Although the appeals court ruling meant that the city was entitled to attorney’s fees from the groups, the city did not request any, City Attorney Bill Bloor said.

“The next step that could happen is they could request that the state Supreme Court review this decision, but they cannot appeal the ruling,” Bloor said.

“Whether this moves on or not is not up to the city at this point.

“Everybody always calls this a fluoride ruling, but the court didn’t really rule on the fluoride, it ruled on whether the method the groups used was valid.”

Protect Our Waters

The group www.yes4cleanwater.org will fund the request for the state Supreme Court review, said a written statement issued by Protect Our Waters.

“The court failed to treat either initiative as an effort by citizens to control, in the one instance, standards for application of medication to an entire population of citizens,” the group said in the statement.

It also “failed to acknowledge that citizens may have a right to determine what medication is being administered to them,” the group said.

A representative of Our Water — Our Choice could not be reached for comment.

No new evidence or testimony could be considered at the Court of Appeals, Division II, hearing.

The court considered only the existing record from the Kitsap County 2006 ruling.

The written opinion was by Judge Joel Penoyar with both Judge Elaine Houghton and Judge Robin Hunt concurring.

The ruling said that the initiatives relate to operation and supply of water through the municipal water system, which citizens have no right to control.

The decision didn’t deal with the issue of public water fluoridation, but rather with whether the two petitions were legal.

Beginning in August 2005, Port Angeles resident Paul Lamoureux and a group calling itself Concerned Citizens for Port Angeles, gathered more than 4,250 signatures supporting adoption of initiative and referendum powers.

The ordinance enacting the initiative and referendum was adopted by the City Council on July 5, 2006.

The fluoridation is the result of a contract signed in March 2005 with the Washington Dental Services Foundation.