Sunday, June 16, 2013

Fluoridation Four: Shelved in August 1971 (127)

January 12 - a

This post is the fourth of four, one each on four episodes of public debate on fluoridating Davis water.  An overview of the four is given in post # 120, May 26, 2013.

So far as I know, fluoridation left the Davis public agenda after 1964 and did not return until 1971.

January 12 - b

At the January 4,1971 City Council meeting, some members--reflecting recent community interest--asked about the cost of fluoridating Davis water.

In what seems to have been a critical and surprising juncture in the meeting, city attorney James Callaway Jr expressed the opinion, in the words of the Enterprise report, that any fluoridation “decision should be made at the council level rather than via the initiative petition process, ruling out a popular vote on the issue.”

This story’s reporter then writes: “Callaway  , , , was not asked to elaborate on this opinion . . . No audience member disputed his position.” 

Given that three public votes on this topic had been held seven and eleven years previously and the results were either negative or highly divided, this might be viewed as an amazing development.

What is especially striking is that the major figures here were parties to the earlier elections. Callaway had been the city attorney in that period. The long-serving Norman Woodbury was on this Council and had been the leader of the 1964 pro-fluoridation campaign.

But the direction in which this topic nonetheless then headed communicated that the Council was not going to impose fluoridation, even assuming it had the authority.

It acted to avoid a new fluoridation confrontation by becoming very concerned about the cost of such a program.

Indeed, the view that prevailed held that the City could not even afford to hire someone to estimate how much fluoridation would cost!  With that, the topic was shelved (but certainly not killed--as time has shown).

*                      *                      *
The “too expensive” reason for shelving fluoridation was, of course, a charade, I think.

Viewing 1971 Davis in wider perspective, we see a town in full-throat/full tilt booming and explosive growth. All manner of money was flowing in every direction, including into City coffers.

The Enterprise’s “end of the year”  treatment of 1971 tells it all. Readers will recall the Enterprise end-of-the-year stories I reproduced in the posts for 1960 and 1964. Each is a substantial summary of the events in their respective years (posts numbers 121 and 125).

But both are dwarfed by the 1971 “end of the year.”

The town was so bursting with growth that the Enterprise thought it needed for the first time to put out what it called a special “Year-end edition.” Rather than a story, this was a “16-page section reviewing 1971 activities.”

As described in a promotional story for it (reproduced here captioned December 30), beyond a list of events, there are “in depth articles . . . on the significant developments during the year . . . ,” as well as other features.

I am not going to reproduce this 16-page item. But I do want to provide the story in it that the Enterprise said was the most important--and that I would agree was (and is) the most important.

That story is: Growth. It is captioned December 31 - a and December 31- b. From the perspective of today, it is an amazing read.

Despite all the extreme detail in these 16 large pages, I could not find any mention of fluoridation! I guess it was not among “significant developments.”

In the midst of an amazing boom in almost all institutional realms, who has time for fluoridation bickering?

January 12 - c

January 12 - d
January 12 - e

June 2

June 8

December 30

December 31 - a

December 31 - b