PORT ANGELES — Two candidates vying for a seat on the Port Angeles City Council agreed Tuesday the city should eschew second-class status and encourage economic development and weighed in on an avigation easement for William R. Fairchild Memorial Airport.
Lindsey Schromen-Wawrin and Artur Wojnowski disagreed on how to answer a Nov. 7 advisory vote on fluoridated drinking water, annexation and other issues during a Port Angeles Business Association forum at Joshua’s Restaurant.
Wawrin and Wojnowski are running in the November general election for Port Angeles City Council Position 3, a four-year nonpartisan position held by Mayor Patrick Downie. Downie is not running for re-election.
Schromen-Wawrin, a Port Angeles native and a lawyer, was a Democratic Party precinct committeeman and recent president of the Clallam County Bar Association.
Wojnowski, a Chicago native who was raised in a Polish household, is maintenance manager for the Dungeness Meadows Home Owners Association.
“I don’t believe that we should be fluoridating the water,” Wojnowski said.
The City Council voted 4-3 last August to stop adding fluoride to the municipal water supply, ending a 10-year-old practice.
Downie, who voted in December 2015 to continue fluoridation, cast the deciding vote last summer.
“I believe that we don’t know how much [fluoride] we all need to intake,” Wojnowski said.
“And given the fact that none of us really know how much is required, personally I don’t think we should just be blanketing it. But again, that’s for everyone to decide on their own.”
Schromen-Wawrin said he had a more “nuanced view” on fluoride, saying the chemical has been shown to improve oral health and that he uses fluoride in his daily dental regime.
Schromen-Wawrin said he would personally vote no on the advisory vote but listen to the will of the voters and act accordingly, provided he has assurances that the city would not put lead and arsenic in the water.
“We’ve been gridlocked for too long and we need to move on from this issue,” Schromen-Wawrin said.
“I think at this point this issue has been tossed to the will of the people, which is not necessarily the best way to decide public health matters.
“So in that regard, I think I’d vote with what the voters said, with my caveat that I’m not going to be putting lead and arsenic in the water supply in a knowing and intentional way.”
Wojnowski said he will oppose fluoridation regardless of the advisory vote.
“People can voice their opinion voting, yes, but people who elected me would basically be voting for my stance as it is currently,” Wojnowski said.
“So I would stick to the no vote.”
Each candidate was given three minutes to make an opening statement, two minutes to answer audience questions and two minutes to make a closing statement.
The 53-minute forum was moderated by PABA Vice President Matthew Rainwater.
Schromen-Wawrin said he is running to help create a stable economy, address affordable housing and create a more accountable and collaborative local government.
Wojnowski said he is running to bring a more diverse representation and business acumen to the seven-member council.
The two candidates agreed that the city should not seek a change to its second-class designation, a measure also headed for the Nov. 7 ballot.
Schromen-Wawrin said the re-designation would give the state more control over local policy.
“It’s the wrong direction for us to go,” Schromen-Wawrin said…
*Original article titled “Schromen-Wawrin, Wojnowski talk about issues at Port Angeles council candidate forum” online at http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/politics/schromen-wawrin-wojnowski-talk-about-issues-at-port-angeles-council-candidate-forum/