I usually end my public presentations (on waste-resource management and fluoridation) with three messages.
1) To Citizens:”Don’t let the experts take your common sense away.”
2) To Politicians: “Put your faith back in people.”
3) To Activists: “Have Fun!”
“Having fun” may sound a strange message since it is a pretty grim process fighting against the odds every day, but, in my view, it is the only way to fight unless you are going to burn out with bitterness or cynicism.
There are several ways we can have fun.
First, it is fun to work with such wonderful people around the country and around the world -some we have never even seen or met. Second, if we are not seen to be enjoying this, people won’t want to join us. Third, it is fun to celebrate others’ victories as our own. Hence this message.
By a dreadful oversight I forgot to publicly celebrate an important victory which occured at the beginning of August (at about the time I was getting back from Australia/Japan).
In early August, the councillors of Oneida, NY, voted not to fluoridate their water. Below I have reproduced the report that appeared in the Oneida Daily Dispatch and printed on the FAN web page (http://www.fluoridealert.org/communities.htm).
The 5-1 vote surprised even active opponents of fluoridation. According to Don Behr, one of the people who worked so hard to get this result, it was “overwhelming”. He added, “The councilor whom I thought would surely be in favor of fluoridation, voted solidly against it and two councilors explained that THEY would not prescribe medication for the populace when the dentists who could, would not do so.
One asked publicly, (and said he had discussed with dentist friends of his), “what business have I, a retired tire dealer, prescribing medication for 20,000 people, especially since you won’t?”
I am sure Don Behr would appreciate your letters in our belated celebration and share them with all the people who worked with him to make this possible. His e-mail address is: .
Let’s have more victories and more celebrations! Have fun!
Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, New York)
August 8, 2002
Oneida council votes 5-1 against change in water
By MIKE BILODEAU
Dispatch Staff Writer
ONEIDA – Fluoridation of the city’s water supply was defeated at Tuesday night’s Common Council meeting, ending a city-wide debate that was started last year.
Only Third Ward Councilman Erwin Smith voted “no” to the resolution that sought to decline the authorization from state agencies to introduce fluoride into the city’s water.
The way the resolution was worded, a “yes” was a vote against fluoridation, while a “no” was a vote in favor of it.
Smith said that he was concerned about area children who might not have access to dental care. Smith said he spoke to teachers and nurses about children in area schools.
“Teachers have said that children are coming into school with toothaches, and they can’t concentrate on their school work,” Smith said. “I see fluoridation like the seat belt and helmet laws. People don’t like wearing seat belts or helmets while riding bicycles, but we know they save lives.”
The rest of the council voted “yes” to the resolution, which defeated the idea of fluoridating the city’s water by a 5-1 margin.
After the vote, Oneida Mayor James Chappell, who does not get a vote, said he would have also voted “no” along with Smith. Chappell said that over 160 million people in the U.S. have fluoridated water.
“I can’t believe that state and federal agencies have us all hoodwinked, and have ignored the health concerns and the side effects of fluoride,” Chappell said. “My most important concern is the children.”
Second Ward Councilman Ted Hanifin said that he didn’t want to force fluoridation on people who did not want it.
“I don’t believe it’s right to vote on what people are going to ingest,” Hanifin said.
Sixth Ward Councilman James Griffing said his house is serviced by a well, and he was not directly affected by fluoridating the water supply. He voted “yes,” because he said he didn’t feel it was right to force fluoridation on people who did not want it.
Fifth Ward Councilman Donald Moore thanked city residents who gave their opinion on the measure.
Chappell said that as education improves on fluoridation, the city may entertain another vote on fluoridation in the future.