In April, Fluoride-Free San Marcos submitted a petition calling for voters to decide whether or not the city should continue adding fluoride to its water.
“Citizens have the right to petition and change what they’d like to change in the community and have the people vote on it,” the group’s Kathleen O’Connell said.
But it wasn’t that simple. The city said the petition was invalid because of a technicality. The case ended up in court, and last Friday, a judge said the city needed to respect the rights of the petitioners and put the proposition on the ballot.
Earlier this week, the City Council voted to put fluoridation and a second proposition regarding petitions on the ballot. The city isn’t talking about those two ballot propositions because there are cases pending in court.
One thing that is clear: The petitioners aren’t happy with the language in the proposition.
“It’s a complete meaningless proposition,” O’Connell said. “It gives the city loopholes. With this kind of language, they would be able to receive fluoridated water. Nothing would change.”
San Marcos Mayor Daniel Guerrero says the wording was needed because of the effect the vote could have on regional water plans.
“There were a lot of variables that needed to be considered and thought about long-term, not just in regards to the city of San Marcos but all of our regional partners as well,” Guerrero said.
O’Connell doesn’t agree. Her group is asking the state Supreme Court to step in.
“Water issues are very complicated. This one is simple: Stop adding the industrial waste,” she said.
For now voters will have a say. It’s just not clear if their say will deliver the desired results.
San Marcos voters will find two propositions on the November ballot. The first would keep the city from adding fluoride to the municipal water supply. The second would clarify the requirements for citizen-initiated charter amendments.