A few days ago the city of Cumberland in Western Maryland began poisoning its water with fluoride. This was heartbreaking for many fine folks in the area, but none moreso than Virginia Rosenbaum who had successfully (up to this point) kept fluoridation at bay for over 50 years! We are proud to have Virginia as a founding member of the Fluoride Action Network. I asked Bernie Miltenberger if he would give us a brief history of Virginia’s efforts, which he has kindly done below. Meanwhile, Virginia hasn’t given up and has underwritten a $30,000 federal lawsuit to halt the addition (see details below). A wonderful way we could all say thank you to Virginia would be to make a small contribution to help defray some of these costs. As Bernie tells us in his tribute, Virginia turned 80 years of age on September 3. Let’s say a happy birthday to her in a way she would really appreciate: let’s all own a little bit of that federal lawsuit!
Please send what you can. Even a small donation will be appreciated because it will be a great morale boost to know people around the country care and are rooting for her. Please send your birthday donation (small or large) to:
Pure Water Committee
P O Box 427
Cumberland, MD 21501
Their web site is: www.purewatercommitte.com and Virginia’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
A TRIBUTE TO VIRGINIA ROSENBAUM
by Bernie Miltenberger.
“I know fluoridation will be banned in this country eventually, and I want to live long enough to see it.”
For over fifty years, M. Virginia Rosenbaum, President of the Pure Water Committee of Western Maryland, Inc., and members of the Committee have kept fluoride out of Cumberland, Maryland’s water supply.
The saga began back in the 1950’s when Virginia was Editor and Publisher of the weekly Citizen Newspaper. The late Dr. Harold Malin, Chiropractor, approached her and asked for space to publish information concerning the dangers of fluoridating the public water supply. Knowing nothing about fluoride, and trying to be fair about the matter, she agreed, providing he would get someone “for” fluoridation to write an article alongside his article “against”it. He agreed, and asked Dr. Jack Arch, DDS, to write the “for”article. After three articles, however, Dr. Arch had nothing more to say, and Virginia carried a blank space where his article should have been while Dr. Malin continued to educate the public on the dangers of fluoridation.
Dr. Malin headed up the first referendum against fluoridation of Cumberland’s water supply, when the then Mayor and City Council attempted to fluoridate. One of the key workers was Frances Catlett, who still works with Virginia today in her business, as well as with the Pure Water Committee. The Citizen Newspaper’s office became the main headquarters for the referendum workers, and after the required signatures were gathered, an election was won and protective language against fluoridation was put in the Cumberland law.
Prior to the election, the Council was planning to use sodium fluoride and during the time when they had to wait on the election results, the fluoride was stored in glass containers. After the election, when the fluoride had to be disposed of, it was discovered that it had eaten though the glass containers and had to be buried rather than sold to another unsuspecting town! Suited with protective clothing like men from Mars, the fluoride was buried. Ten years later, the Committee called the EPA because it was still oozing out of the ground like green slime, and wending its way towards the lakes holding Cumberland’s drinking water; however, EPA representatives reported there was “no sign of any fluoride” when tests were made by them, but Cumberland’s water showed trace levels of fluoride, nonetheless.
For about ten years, all was quiet because the Water Commissioner who had been forced to bury the fluoride was on the Council and he did not want to drink anything this toxic. Then the next batch of politicians got into power, and it started all over again.
Once more, Virginia started her educational process in The Citizen Newspaper and the Pure Water Committee went to work trying to persuade the Council not to fluoridate. Another election was held to try to get rid of the protective language, but the people refused to do so. An election was held in LaVale, a suburb of Cumberland and fluoridation was defeated after the Pure Water Committee conducted a door-to-door campaign. Frostburg officials attempted to fluoridate, and the Committee, with the help of the “The Citizen” defeated it there as well. By this time, fluoridation had been defeated twice in Cumberland, twice in Frostburg and once in LaVale. The Committee had educated the entire Western Maryland area and fluoridation was a dead issue… for a while.
Then in the late 80’s, another big effort was made to fluoridate Cumberland. Dr. Michael Easley, who is now the country’s biggest fluoridation huckster, was with the Maryland Health Department and was doing everything he could to get Cumberland, since every other city of any size in Maryland was fluoridated. Mayor George Wyckoff and his Council decided to fluoridate, and they proposed an amendment to the municipal charter to rescind the protective language. Under Maryland law, the Pure Water Committee had just forty days to petition for the charter amendment to go to referendum. The Committee was successful in gathering the required number of signatures to force a referendum. It was held, and the Pure Water Committee was ahead with only the last precinct to come in. It was at that time that the vote counting machine broke down and Mayor Wyckoff took a screwdriver and “fixed” it. The referendum was then lost by 500 votes! The Mayor has never refuted the accusation that the referendum had been “fixed with a screw driver”!
Members of the Pure Water Committee were devastated. Not so President Virginia. Defeat only added to her resolve. She advised the Committee members that they could gather signatures once again and force another referendum, in their own good time. Since they were going to institute the referendum, there was no forty-day time limit. They could gather signatures and register voters, passing out educational literature as they went. This was done, and Virginia checked each signature page to make sure every one was a registered voter and if not, the Committee registered them. Several hundred people were registered at this time. While the Committee was gathering signatures, the City was installing the fluoridation equipment. This time they had decided to use hydrofluosilicic acid instead of the dry sodium fluoride, which had eaten through the glass containers.
By now, Virginia had sold The Citizen Newspaper and was devoting full time to her surveying business. She was specializing in house locations surveys and was building up a very successful business in that regard. She is a licensed Property Line Surveyor, and a Paralegal. Not having the newspaper, there was no way to reach the public with the information necessary to win an election. It was at this time that Mary Miltenberger entered the picture with a proposition that they start another weekly newspaper. Virginia agreed to edit and set the type for the paper at no charge provided she could have space in it for the fluoridation fight. Mary agreed, so once again, there was a weekly newspaper, and a means of getting information about the dangers of fluoridation to the people. The paper was called “The Informer”.
In the meantime, Virginia was working on the Pennsylvania permit. She ran elevations at the dam sites, and all other surveying tactics she could muster, to protest the fluoridation permit that had to be issued by the state of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania was involved because Cumberland’s water supply is in Pennsylvania and is run by a Pennsylvania Corporation headed by Cumberland officials. She researched and wrote the legal protest against giving Cumberland the application. She got a lawyer to act pro bona when the case came to trial in Pennsylvania, and she also took Pure Water Committee members to Harrisburg to see the dam safety officials. In the meantime, the Committee got their own slate of candidates for the upcoming Cumberland election, and the Committee trudged door-to-door once again with campaign literature, along with the weekly “Informer” Newspaper.
Before the matter was scheduled for trial in Pennsylvania, and 58 days before the Municipal Election, Mayor Wyckoff and the Council turned on the fluoride. The idea behind this was that Pennsylvania had a “regulation” stating that once fluoride was in the water, it couldn’t be taken out. There had been a trial in Pennsylvania where this regulation was upheld. The politicians were reasonably sure that this would be the case with the Pennsylvania water supply for Cumberland.
This blatant disregard for the wishes of the people of Cumberland was the last straw, as far as Virginia was concerned. The Committee then really put on the blitz for the election and their candidates for Mayor and Council won hands down, as did the protective language against fluoridation. This election upset the political team that had run Cumberland for the past several decades. This time, the Pure Water Committee had submitted the language exactly as the federal drinking water act: “No substance shall be added to the municipal water supply of the City of Cumberland for preventive health care purposes, unrelated to contamination of drinking water”.
The newly elected Mayor and Council went to the filtration plant and turned off the fluoride, despite the dire warnings of thousands of dollars worth of fines from Pennsylvania. In the end, Pennsylvania settled for an agreement by Cumberland to supply free fluoride tablets to those in Pennsylvania who were on the Cumberland water supply. Of course, no one wanted the poison, so that phase of the fight was over. Another ten years passed quietly.
Today, we have another generation of people in Cumberland, most of whom know nothing about fluoride. The Pure Water Candidates did not run for a second term, but the new Mayor elected was not sympathetic to fluoridation so the question lay dormant. Many of the great fluoride fighters have passed on but Virginia kept the Pure Water Committee intact, in anticipation of the day when another Mayor would again succumb to pressures from the government, and their zealous henchmen, to fluoridate.
Sure enough, in the year 2000, the local Medical and Dental Association once again decided to push for fluoridation. This time it was spearheaded by an import that got his experience pushing fluoridation on Native American lands. Dr. William Tompkins, DDS, a good friend of Dr. Arch who, by this time was semi-retired, headed a postcard campaign. A letter was sent to all registered voters in Cumberland, containing a postcard that was to be mailed back . When the required number of postcards had been returned, Cumberland’s attorney, Jack Price, said that the postcards could act as a “petition” and were certified as the required number of signatures.
The Pure Water Committee couldn’t believe that postcards collected in this way could act as a petition, so they took the matter to the local courts, but their case was thrown out. The Committee appealed, but the Court of Appeals said that Cumberland could do just about anything it wanted to do in this matter and if they said the postcards were petitions, that was within their authority to do so. So the Committee lost the case and the postcards held. As a result of the referendum, and a new election, the new mayor and Council took out the protective language against fluoridation in the Cumberland charter and voted to put fluoride in the water. The Pure Water Committee consulted with their attorney, who advised that the only thing to do was to go into the federal court with a case against mass medication without informed consent and the disenfranchisement of voters. However, he informed the Committee that this would be costly and he would need $30,000 to handle the case. While the Committee had some money in the treasury, they didn’t have this kind of money, and because it would take time to raise it from the people opposed to fluoridation, Virginia said she would underwrite the cost in order to allow the case go forward. She decided to take her chances that the people opposed to fluoridation would see that she was reimbursed. The firm of Trozzo, Lowery and Weston was hired to instigate the federal case (see the Press Release below).
Also in 2000, Mayor John Bambacus of Frostburg brought up the fluoridation of their water supply. However, after a public hearing, the City Council voted it down. Not satisfied with being told “no” Mayor Bambacus (a political science teacher) worked to get pro-fluoride people to run for office. He was successful, and the last election produced a Council all gung-ho for fluoridation. At the very first council meeting the new members voted to fluoridate Frostburg’s water supply. Since there was nothing in the Charter to prevent it, it could be done by Resolution without allowing time for a referendum. Frostburg is using sodium silicofluoride to fluoridate.
Since the Pure Water Committee could do nothing about Frostburg putting it in the water, they have named Frostburg in the federal suit, and they are preparing to launch a referendum in that City. Frostburg refuses to recognize postcards as petitions and have handed the Committee 5 pages of regulations they must use if Frostburg is to accept their signatures! They also want to pre-approve what the Pure Water Committee takes to referendum, and insist that the Committee report the cost of getting the signatures. An opinion of the Attorney General of Maryland has been requested concerning these requirements and currently this is holding up the referendum attempt.
Sadly, fluoridation was begun in Cumberland on Monday September 10, 2001. Prior to the actual event Virginia and the Pure Water Committee did everything they could think of to warn the public. They organized a series of radio talks by leading fluoridation opponents from around the country; ran several GGvideo videotapes on local Cable-TV; paid for several radio spots and published and distributed hundreds of educational brochures. It is hoped that this same material will help win the Frostburg referendum.
Virginia celebrated her 80 th birthday (she calls it “Life begins at 40 x 2” birthday) on 3rd of September and she said it isn’t often people get a second chance at life’s beginning! She plans to take full advantage of it. She is often asked why she continues to fight when so many are lined up against her and she always replies,
“I know what drinking toxic industrial waste does to people, and I could not live with myself if I did not do everything I could to keep it out of the water. More important, our founding fathers said, ‘We have given you a Republic, if you can keep it’. I want to help keep it. Putting toxic waste in our drinking water is medicating us without informed consent and is just another one of those freedoms the petty politicians try to take away from us. This country has been very good to me, and using some of my money to help keep the country free is a small price to pay. I will fight for our freedoms until I can fight no more, and being free not to accept fluoridation is one freedom I want to keep. I know fluoridation will be banned in this country eventually, and I want to live long enough to see it.”
When asked what is the secret of her success, Virginia replies, “Never take no for an answer.”
God Bless Virginia Rosenbaum & God Bless America! She is an inspiration to all of us.
Bernard W. Miltenberger
P.S. This was written before the dreadful bombings on September 11, where our freedoms were more visibly threatened.
THE FEDERAL LAWSUIT.
August 30, 2001.
The Pure Water Committee of Western Maryland, Inc., through its law firm, Trozzo, Lowery and Weston, filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Cumberland, the City of Frostburg, both municipal corporations under the laws of the State of Maryland, and the Evitts Creek Water Company, a quasi-public corporation that is the operating entity utilized by the City of Cumberland. The forms were filed at the U. S. Federal Courthouse in Greenbelt Wednesday and are asking injunctive relief against the fluoridation of each municipality’s drinking water supply.
The plaintiffs in the case are all residents outside the Cities of Cumberland and Frostburg, who are forced to use water supplied by one or the other defendant because of their inability to use well water either under state health department regulations or lack of ability to drill a productive well. The plaintiffs are being medicated through the city’s water supply without informed consent, as they cannot vote for or against fluoridation since they reside outside the city limits.
Plaintiffs are asking the Court to grant a Preliminary and Permanent Injunction enjoining the Defendants, and each of them, from fluoridating the public water supplies beyond their corporate limits. They are also asking for a judgment for Plaintiffs, Court costs, attorney fees and any other relief deemed appropriate.
The suit states that the plaintiffs will suffer irreparable injury if defendants are not enjoined during the pendency of this lawsuit from fluoridating the public water supplies of those areas outside the corporate limits of each respective defendant municipal corporation, as the dangers associated with fluoridation (i.e., fluorosis) are cumulative and permanent. Once fluoride compounds are ingested and damage the skeletal, dental and systemic systems of the body, such damage cannot be retroactively removed or cured. Further, as Plaintiffs have no viable option to receive unfluoridated water, there is no remedy less drastic than injunctive relief that would serve the interests of justice.
The suit also states that the threatened harm to Plaintiffs outweighs the harm a Preliminary Injunction would inflict on Defendants, because Defendants may cease fluoridating the water supplies of Plaintiffs by the mere turning of a valve, while Plaintiffs have no viable option for removal of the fluoride compounds from their water.
The facts of the case are: The cities of Cumberland, Maryland and Frostburg, Maryland are each located in Allegany County, Maryland. Allegany County is located in the westernmost part of the State of Maryland and is closely bounded on its northern and southern borders by the States of Pennsylvania and West Virginia, respectively.
Water is furnished residents in both Pennsylvania and West Virginia as well as Allegany County, and the City of Cumberland maintains and obtains its water supply from Lakes Koon and Gordon located in Bedford County, Pennsylvania under the auspices of the Evitts Creek Water Company, Inc. Frostburg’s water comes from Piney Dam located West of Allegany County in the corporate limits of Garrett County, Maryland, and Somerset County, Pennsylvania.
In June 2000, the Mayor and City Council of Frostburg voted by resolution to fluoridate its public water supply and in March 2001, actual fluoridation commenced by introduction of sodium fluoride into the public water supply. In June 2000, the Mayor and City council of Cumberland, Maryland, by resolution voted to fluoridate its public water supply and actual fluoridation is imminent by the introduction of hydrofluosilicic acid.
The suit states that when used for prevention of dental caries, fluoride is a drug and in the form of fluorine compounds sodium fluoride and hydrofluosilicic acid, is a medicine for the prevention of dental caries administered through the water supply without informed consent of the plaintiffs.
The Pure Water Committee is also gathering signatures in Frostburg to force a referendum vote to see whether or not the water users want sodium fluoride added to their drinking water for medicinal purposes without their individual consent. Cumberland has not yet added hydrofluosilicic acid to their drinking water so that the next step by the Pure water Committee will depend on the actions of the Mayor and City council. The Committee has asked Cumberland to declare a moratorium on adding the toxic industrial waste until tests can be run by the Environmental Protection Agency to prove it is safe for human consumption. No tests have ever been conducted and there is no empirical evidence that fluoridation is safe or that it prevents dental caries.