This case has gone all the way to the Washington Supreme Court. The case was argued before the Court on February 23, 2010, in Mount Vernon.
A divided Washington Supreme Court issued its decision on September 23, 2010, deciding 5-4 that citizens on the municipal level do not have the right to vote by way of initiative or referendum on fluoridation because it is a merely administrative issue. Read the majority opinion. Read the dissent.
Two consumer groups circulated petitions calling for an initiative vote on the subject. One initiative would prevent the addition of medication to drinking water. The other would require that any chemical added to city water be approved by the FDA.
Fluoridated water meets all the federal and state definitions of a drug. Further, this is a drug that harms people. Fluoride is a known “enzyme interruptor.” Some are harmed very quickly, the so-called “fluoride hypersensitives.” The rest of us build up fluoride in our bones over the years and gradually we are sickened. We suffer chronic diseases because of fluoridation and in many cases our life spans are shortened. Such contamination of our water should be outright illegal.
However, we are at a primitive stage in the battle against fluoridation. The issue at question in Port Angeles is whether this issue affects important policy matters and therefore is “legislative” and thus is of the kind or type of issue that can be voted on in an initiative or a referendum, or if it is the routine addition of a harmless and even beneficial chemical and thus a mere administrative issue and not the kind that citizens have a right to vote on.
A sufficient number of citizens signed the initiatives to qualify them for the ballot.
However, the city council refused to put these initiatives on the ballot, and the City sued for a declaratory judgment, a ruling that the subject matter was merely administrative and that the public had no right to vote on such administrative matters.
The consumer groups filed a counter suit for a mandamus action to force the City to put the initiatives on the ballot. The cases were combined. Port Angeles refused to wait to begin fluoridation until the cases could be resolved in court. The City won the case in the Superior Court and in the Division 2 Court of Appeals. Appeal was made to the Washington Supreme Court.
We are now waiting for a decision from the Washington Supreme Court.
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