Port Angeles: Both sides in fluoride flap think last week's marathon hearings good for their respective cases
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES -- Both fluoridation supporters and opponents thought their cases were well-presented to the City Council during two evenings of public hearings.

Now both sides are awaiting the decision of the seven-member council that assumed the posture of a ``jury'' during the more than nine hours of testimony and legal wrangling.

Mayor Richard Headrick said any decision by the council will be announced at a special meeting before a 6 p.m. regular meeting Tuesday.

The council will meet from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday to deliberate and vote on whether to uphold a March staff finding of nonsignificant environmental impact toward fluoridation.

The City Council voted 6-1 in February 2003 to accept a Washington Dental Services Foundation grant of as much as $260,000 for installation of a water fluoridation system and public education efforts.

If either side is unhappy with the council's decision Tuesday on whether an environmental-impact report is needed, the next step would be a court lawsuit.

Court-style hearings

But neither side appears to be thinking lawsuit as it awaits the council's Tuesday deliberations following the court-style hearings -- complete with cross-examinations -- last Wednesday and Thursday.

``I thought we presented a clear and complete case that public water fluoridation is safe and effective,'' said Dr. Steve Chapman.

Chapman, a pediatrician, was part of the group that first presented the fluoridation proposal to the city's Utility Advisory Committee in January 2003.

The group, which later went by the name Clallam Citizens for Dental Health, also included dentist Todd Irwin and dental hygienist Cyndi Newman.

``I'm frustrated that it's taken this long,'' Chapman said.

But Clallam County Citizens for Safe Drinking Water member Barney Munger of Port Angeles said fluoridation opponents made their case to the council, too.

``The city's determination of nonsignificance was lacking in enough relevant factual information and material disclosure as they relate directly to Port Angeles,'' he said.

Munger is one of the appellants, along with the groups Clallam County Citizens for Safe Drinking Water, Protect the Peninsula's Future and retired physician Eloise Kailin of Blyn.



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