Count the 49,000 residents of Pinellas Park well served by their City Council members, who on Tuesday night unanimously rejected the irrational fears of a small minority and ensured the city will once again have the medical benefits of fluoridated water.
Pinellas Park was put in this spot by four shortsighted members of the Pinellas County Commission — Nancy Bostock, Neil Brickfield, John Morroni and Norm Roche. Late last year they turned back the clock on decades of public health gains when they sided with a vocal but ill-informed antiscience tea party faction to stop adding cavity-fighting fluoride to the county’s water.
Some of those same opponents showed up Tuesday night in Pinellas Park, but all four council members and mayor wisely followed the advice of the established medical community. Now staff will seek a state grant to cover the $108,000 cost of implementing the city’s own fluoride system, and barring that, find the money in the budget year that starts Oct. 1.
Pinellas Park is not alone in rebuffing the four county commissioners and choosing science and public health over fearmongering and misinformation: St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster, speaking to the Suncoast Tiger Bay Club on Wednesday, pledged that the county’s largest city has no intention of going the way of the county’s “silly move” and will keep fluoridating its water. That’s good local government, times two.