An initiative to take fluoride out of Crescent City’s water system is on the November ballot — but the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors has lodged a formal objection to the vote.
In a letter to City Manager Rod Butler, Supervisor Martha McClure said the board is concerned the majority of users affected by the initiative are not able to vote on it.
Only residents within the actual city limits can vote on the measure because the water system is city owned and operated. McClure said this leaves county customers without a voice.
“Roughly two-thirds of the actual users of water services are located outside the city,” McClure wrote. “All users of the city’s water system should be constitutionally entitled to vote on this.”
The initiative was placed on the ballot after local residents Katherine Kelly and Connie Morrison gathered the required valid signatures from at least 10 percent of the city’s registered voters.
McClure said the 174 valid signatures gathered by the women are a small fraction of the approximate 6,000 customers served by the Crescent City Water/Sewer Department.
The city received the board’s letter Tuesday. With the election just two months away, City Manager Rod Butler said he’s not sure there’s much the city can do at this point.
“It’s so late in the process that as far as keeping it off the ballot, I don’t see it happening,” Butler said.
However, Butler suggested county residents who feel strongly about the defluoridation initiative could get involved with the local campaigns.
“They can contribute funds, do door to door campaigning, write advocacy letters and things like that,” Butler said.
According to County Counsel Dohn Henion, the county hasn’t determined whether it will initiate any legal action if the measure remains on the ballot.
“It’s a bridge we haven’t crossed yet,” Henion said.
Supervisor McClure said the board discussed sending a letter to the city at its last meeting and has yet to take any further action. McClure said the goal of the letter is simply to alert the city that some people are unable to vote yea or nay.
“I would just like them to consider that this is silencing the majority,” McClure said Tuesday.