It isn’t often that elections in Sheridan hinge on just an issue or two. In past years, candidates have had the luxury of framing the election by what they want to accomplish — economic development, higher paying jobs, upkeep and infrastructure improvements. That likely won’t be the case this year.
If the letters to the editor, questions asked at the candidate forum and the unsolicited public statements being released are any indicator — fluoride will likely make or break candidates this November.
Earlier this summer, Clean Water Sheridan — an anti-fluoridation group — announced it had hired legal counsel to stop the additive from being put into the city’s drinking water. The group had a cogent argument. It wasn’t steeped in conspiracy theories or debated science; they planned to argue instead that the City Council had no right to overturn a 1953 ballot measure (see today’s Press story on page 3).
But recently, the group found out that the vote was advisory, not a binding opinion to the council. While some may look at the discovery as the end to the group’s chances of stopping fluoridation, it’s really an opportunity.
If voters truly don’t want fluoride, the November election will likely be the next shot to reach that goal. After all, council members have come down on both sides of the argument so far. Without the legal case, anti-fluoride voters need an advocate on the council. They need somebody willing to bring the petition Clean Water Sheridan has been circulating before the governing body.
Otherwise, the council has no obligation to accept and consider what the petition means.
If the group can get at least two supporters on council, one of those two council members could raise the issue of the petition and the other could second the motion to bring it before the council.
The group still may not have a majority willing to undo the vote that put the fluoride addition in motion, but it could be enough to spark the debate again in a public forum.
No matter which side of the fluoride debate you find yourself on, your opinion and therefore your vote could be a deciding factor this fall.