Beginning tomorrow (Tuesday Feb. 17) and for the next two weeks, the special anti-fluoridation PSA seen above will be aired locally during the popular Dr. Oz TV program. Dr. Oz appears on Fox weekdays from 3 to 4 p.m. in the Austin area. Narrating the 1-minute message is Ed Begley an actor best known for his television role on St. Elsewhere and a dedicated conservationist in his own right. The International Academy of Biological Dentistry and Medicine has generously underwritten the first two-week block of air time.
Because we feel it’s important that this message reach a wider audience than can be achieved through the viewership of a single program, we are launching an INDIEGOGO campaign for funding to purchase more Austin TV spots in multiple venues. We’re offering a variety of healthy lifestyle perks to contributors of $15 or more, but donations of any size are welcome. Those who are able to help, please make your donations through the INDIEGOGO website. Thank you!
This PSA by Ed Begley, star of the St. Elsewhere TV series and a prominent environmental activist, has been shown in various venues since its YouTube debut last April–most recently in Dallas on the Dr. Oz show.
Austinites will soon get their own chance to see Begley’s message on daytime TV. Beginning this coming Tuesday, February 17, it will run for two weeks during the Oz program (perhaps longer if sufficient funding exists). Dr. Oz airs here on Fox from 3 to 4 p.m. weekdays. Be sure to watch.
The first two weeks’ airing of the PSA’s has been generously underwritten by the International Academy of Biological Dentistry and Medicine. An Indiegogo campaign to raise additional funds will be announced soon.
On February 12, Walt Olenick became the first member of Fluoride Free Austin to speak before the new Austin City Council. His talk was respectful, informative, and consumed less than the alotted 3 minutes.
His object, in this first 2015 appearance at City Hall was simply to make the Council members aware that it’s commonplace in Austin to have doubts about the value of fluoridation. To reinforce the point, he handed out the flyerWater Fluoridation is NOT a Fringe Issue in Austin, available from our website. The flyer cites and graphically illustrates the results of a 2012 survey by KEYE-TV (our CBS affiliate) in which roughly half the Austinites surveyed said they consider fluoridation a waste of money. What could be more mainstream than that?
Disappointingly, nobody on the dais had a single comment or question about the material presented, in stark contrast to the other seven citizens’ communication speakers, with whom they interacted freely. Clearly the word is already out: fluoride is a subject to be approached with extreme caution. (One councilmember had reason to feel particularly uncomfortable–the notion that fluoridation opponents are “crazy” had been the springboard for a vile smear campaign against an opponent.) And now here was half of Austin unmasked as sharing those same outlandish views. Instant cognitive dissonance!
Still, the immutable facts are before them, and we shall see what we shall see. Will the new Council open their minds enough to allow some enlightenment in and then vote for what’s right rather than what’s politically expedient? Or will they freeze into the hard mold of political careerism that has so long worked against the interests of Austin’s everyday citizens? Only time will tell.
Little did we know, when we posted our Fluoride Follies entry of June 21, 2013, that the blog would be down for an indeterminate period. The dead time was the result of a convergence of unforeseen events, but even during the hiatus, life went on. Three major events occurred in Texas during that time, and I’ll summarize them here. (Portland, Oregon’s spectacular 2014 victory over the promoters of forced fluoridation–including a 100% bought-out City Council and Mayor–was covered on our website).
The first big change came with the adoption of a new form of Austin municipal government which gave Austinites district representation for the first time. Previously, all of the 7-member (including the Mayor) City Council was chosen at large, through city-wide voting. That system not only made running for office cost prohibitive for all but the wealthiest but created a Council of members clustered in an upscale area, without specific connection or responsibility to the residents of other parts of town. In November 2013, following an intensive public education campaign by the grassroots group Austinites for Geographical Representation, Austinites went to the polls to vote in a new system: one comprising 10 geographic districts to represent our 860,000-plus population, plus a Mayor still elected at large. (It’s fit to add here that the outcome went very much against the desires of local Democratic Party power brokers.)
Following that triumph, exactly one year later, our first Austin City Council under the new system was elected this past November. More on the new Council in future posts.
Finally, up the road in Dallas, there was energetic year-long anti-fluoridation campaign led by Regina Imburgia with the staunch support of Dallas City Councilman Sheffie Kadane. Imburgia organized groups to speak regularly at City Hall; held public educational events with high-profile guest speakers including Dr. Paul Connett; and creatively publicized the cause via Facebook pages of Activists for Truth and Safe Water North Texas and the website dogsagainstfluoridation.com. Her team’s efforts won the hearts and minds of Dallasites, but not that of the Council, which, as mostly career politicians or wanabees–acted in their own self-perceived interests rather than those of the people who elected them. On January 28–in defiance of a recent poll showing 72% of the public opposed to fluoridation—they voted 13-2 to adopt a 3-year purchase contract for fluorosilicic acid with Mosaic Co. Apart from the remarks of Sheffie Kadane and self-appointed spokesman for the fluoride industry Rick Callahan, there was no discussion. Not a single other Council member (out of 15) had a word to say or a question to ask. Adam Medrano, timidly seconding Kadane’s motion to deny the Mosaic contract, was Kadane’s sole ally; Scott Griggs and Dwaine R. Caraway, earlier considered potential supporters, were last-minute bailouts. You can watch the entire proceedings–including the anti-fluoridation speakers’ presentations–in the video at the top of this page.
Given the energy, creativity and determination of the Dallas activists, we can be sure they won’t let the matter rest with a decision so against the public will. We look forward to hearing more from them in the future.
Good news for our followers: after an absence of a year and a half, our popular Fluoride Follies blog will soon be back in regular publication. The blog disappeared abruptly in 2013, when GoDaddy discontinued the Smart Space platform on which it had been running. I had just enough time to download the several hundred entries, html markup intact, and stow them away in hope of the day when it could be restored somewhere, somehow. That day finally came when, at last December’s Texans for Accountable Government meeting, I was high bidder at a silent auction for 10 hours of web services by multi-talented consultant/entrepreneur Darrell Malone, Jr. Mr. Malone, of Endeavor Marketing Solutions here in Austin, expertly rebuilt the blog on Word Press and threaded it back into our web page. Today we are back in business: Fluoride Follies can once again be accessed through the blog button at www.fluoridefreeaustin.com. Many thanks are due to Mr. Malone for his great work, and to TAG executive director Justin Arman, who recommended him.
A lot has happened in the time we’ve been away. We’ll do some catching up in future posts.