9 Jan 2017
Removal of sodium fluoride from Durango’s drinking water eligible for April’s election ballot
A ballot initiative petition drive seeking to allow Durango voters to decide if the City should discontinue the dosing of its drinking water with sodium fluoride was successful in gaining enough signatures by the deadline, according to its lead organizer.
Jim Forleo, a local chiropractor who organized the petitioner’s committee and helped write the language of the ordinance, said Friday that the petitioners got enough signatures to put the question to voters on the ballot in April.
“By 4pm today, we got it on the ballot! We get the official word on Monday, but the city clerk stopped counting at 4pm today and said we had enough signatures,” said Forleo. “Now we have to get people to vote it out!”
Forleo estimated that the petitioner’s committee collected 800 signatures by the deadline on Friday.
By Monday afternoon, the Durango City Clerk’s office was still counting the valid signatures on the petitions, according to Deputy City Clerk Chris Harlow.
“We are in the process of completing the audit of the petitions that were turned in by the committee, but by an unofficial calculation, there are more than enough signatures to put the issue on the ballot,” said Harlow. “At last count, there were 636 valid signatures.”
The number of valid signatures needed to qualify the ordinance for appearing on the April ballot is 593, said Harlow.
While the City Council could decide within 30 days if they will adopt the ordinance, the alternative will be that voters will decide in an election in April.
Inspiration to sign the petition came for many voters, even after The Durango Herald and a City Councilor publicly asked voters to avoid signing, and to not give themselves a say in whether or not they are given compulsory medication through the drinking water.
Sodium fluoride is a chemical that the City of Durango puts in the city’s drinking water for the purpose of reducing people’s dental cavities. The product is also labeled as poisonous by its manufacturer, Solvay, as well as the EPA, if taken internally. The chemical was previously used as an ingredient in rodent poisons and insecticides such as D-Con and Ratak.
Residents of Durango have repeatedly been asking city officials to discontinue the dosing of its drinking water, starting in 1957, then in 2005, again in 2009, and most recently last year by Forleo and others. Durango City Council chose to instead side with arguments presented by the Colorado Health Department, San Juan Basin Health Department and the American Dental Association.
To read a PDF document of the ordinance that would prevent city officials from putting this poison in our drinking water, CLICK HERE.
Many thanks to the following petitioners for helping to give a voice to the registered voters in Durango this April:
Devere Keen Gamble
Robert Paul Lee