PORT ANGELES — The City Council unanimously agreed Friday afternoon to deliver two anti-fluoride initiatives submitted Sept. 8 to the Clallam County auditor for signature verification no later than Tuesday.
The initiatives won’t necessarily be going to the ballot — that takes further action by the council — but they will be ready to go if a Superior Court judge rules they are eligible.
At Friday’s special meeting, the council also approved other parts of an agreement between attorneys for the city and supporters of two initiatives opposing fluoridation of the city’s water supply.
Agree to let court decide
The two sides agreed that a “declaratory judgment” from a Superior Court judge is appropriate to determine whether they are valid to be put on the ballot, City Attorney Bill Bloor said.
So the city is under no further obligation until the judge’s ruling is received, he said.
A decision on the declaratory judgment could take up to six months, during which time the city’s fluoridation program will continue.
Bloor said the two sides agreed that final legal briefs are due by the first week of November and that they will cooperate to get a hearing date as soon as possible after Nov. 27.
The Nov. 27 date was chosen because Gerald Steel, attorney for the petition supporters, will be on vacation until then, Bloor said.
The two groups of petition supporters agreed to consolidate their legal actions to have the petitions put on the ballot and to include the Washington Dental Service Foundation in the legal action, he said.
The city received petitions from two separate anti-fluoridation groups on Sept. 8.
Members of the ballot initiative committee Our Water — Our Choice! submitted the Medical Independence Act, which would prohibit medication of people through drinking water.
Members of the ballot initiative committee Protect Our Waters submitted the Water Additives Safety Act.
It would prohibit the introduction of anything into the city’s drinking water intended to act as a drug unless it is approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration.
The council voted 6-0 with one abstention on Sept. 13 to seek a “declaratory judgment” on whether the two petitions are valid to be placed on the ballot.Council members also voted then not to send the two initiatives to the county auditor’s office for signature verification, an action that was reversed Friday.