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Clearfield vows to help anti-fluoridation efforts

CLEARFIELD — The City Council pledged Tuesday to help any citizens group that will organize a campaign to stop fluoridation of Davis County drinking water.

The council passed a resolution Tuesday offering city support, assistance and free legal counsel to any group that will try to stop Davis County fluoridation before the plan is implemented in May 2002.

Such a citizens group could petition the Utah Legislature or initiate a signature drive to put the issue back to a vote in municipal elections this November, City Council members suggested.

Last November, Davis County residents voted in favor of fluoridating their water 52 percent to 48 percent. Five of Davis County's 15 cities voted the measure down, and in Clearfield it passed by a mere 99 votes.

Fluoridation is scheduled for all cities, however, because no city's drinking-water system is functionally separated from another's.

Still, many on Clearfield's City Council want a revote. They say the vote would have ended differently if not for propaganda presented by the Davis County Health Department.

"The election initiative was illegal and invalid," Councilman Curtis Oda said during a five-minute prepared statement Tuesday.

Oda noted that elected officials in Davis County overwhelmingly voted against fluoridation because they were privy to more accurate information than the general public. Mayor Thomas Waggoner and all council members who spoke on the issue said they voted against the citizen initiative.

Oda went so far as to say that Beth Beck, then-chairwoman of the Davis County Health Board, acted "hysterically" when confronted with anti-fluoride information and purposefully gave false data to the news media and public.

Davis County Health Department director Lewis Garrett, who attended Tuesday's council meeting, said the fluoride data his department issued was accurate and he expected fluoridation costs to be lower than advertised last November.

Besides, he said, "the decision isn't up to the City Council or the health department. The voters have spoken."

Oda, among others, remained hopeful that citizen pressure could force state lawmakers to overturn the fluoride vote with a legislative mandate next session.


E-MAIL: bsnyder@desnews.com