Well alright then. City staff have, at least somewhat officially, caved. So now the question becomes will any members of the Fluoride Four come out of their cave into the light of reason?
In a memo to the City Council, City staff have laid out five possible options for dealing with the (totally predictable) fallout from the Fluoride Four's fuck you vote. Staff, worried about their own budgets and jobs, are apparently terrified of the idea of a movement to change the governing structure of the City - such as is being floated by anti-fluoride/pro-accountability people in Port Angeles. They are worried about Port Angeles becoming - officially - a "second-class city."
So, in order to try and stop that effort, staff have proposed five options for the Fluoride Four to consider.
One: Continue fluoridation until 2026, as ordained by the vote of the Fluoride Four. Cost: Over $20,000 a year and all public trust. And hello Second Class City!
Two: Continue fluoridation over that same period, but provide a one-time, limited $100 per home subsidy to buy a water filtration system. Cost: Over $20,000 a year, plus a budgeted one year outlay of $200,000. (That's money the City doesn't have, that would be used to - partially - buy systems that wouldn't work.)
Three: Discontinue fluoridation when the current contract ends in May. Cost: NONE. The water utility would save over $20,000 a year.
Four: Arrange for yet another public vote on the issue. (Sigh.) This one an "official advisory vote" - which means, I guess, that the Fluoride Four wouldn't have their fingers crossed this time. Cost: Unknown, but the election would cost between $4,000 and $8,000. Said election would then likely result in other costs for whatever results.
Five: Stop fluoridating the water, but replace it with some sort of "Oral Health Care Initiative." This is a blank page that would allow the City Council, should they choose this option, to shape it into whatever they (as experts, right?) deemed suitable. Cost: Up to $40,000 annually for 10 years. Or, let's be honest, until the Council takes another vote to reduce or eliminate the program. (Remember, that's what kept the City Council so afraid of changing course during the last ten years - the $400,000 stoppage penalty that Karen Rogers and Crew put in place for early withdrawl. Without that threat looming, this program would be easy pickings for elimination in future budget discussions.)
So there you have it. Now here are my questions to you. Which of these seems the best to you, personally? And which one do you think the City Council will be able to muster four votes for?
(P.S. - In pondering the above, please keep in mind that one of the hardest things for a politician to do is to simply admit they may have been wrong. This is especially true of insecure politicians, who often deal with facts by doubling down on fantasy.)