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 flyer Water 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.