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Readers' letters: CDC fluoride, lead claims are all wet

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claims that fluoridation chemicals would not affect water corrosivity and leaching of lead into drinking water (Advocate says lead, fluoride a bad brew, April 18). Apparently this government health authority missed the City of Portland’s own water engineering report, Fluoridation Feasibility Study, performed by the Brown and Caldwell consulting firm.

This study took Portland’s drinking water, added the chosen fluoridation chemical fluorosilicic acid and found the pH of the water was lowered by 0.68 of one pH point. This change would cause a drastic increase in corrosion and would require the addition of a second chemical to counteract the increased corrosivity of the fluoridated water. That the CDC would ignore facts contrary to its fluoridation claims is not surprising. The CDC is the leading advocate for water fluoridation. Other CDC claims contrary to factual evidence are: that fluoride is natural, when actually the fluoridation chemical is a synthetic, industrial waste byproduct that would have to go into a toxic waste dump if not used for fluoridation; that fluoride is effective in reducing tooth decay; that it is harmless to health; that it does not reduce IQ of children; etc.Water fluoridation is an outdated technology that would have been abandoned were it not for vigorous promotion by the CDC (using tax dollars). Wise Portland voters will examine the facts about fluoridation and not blindly accept CDC claims.

Roger Burt

Northeast Portland

Fluoride makes health, dollar sense

As a family physician I am often asked to untangle the issue of community water fluoridation, and recently that was no exception. Eddie, a 60-year-old truck driver, brought in his beautiful 6-year-old granddaughter for facial swelling and was appalled to find out she had a tooth abscess that would require treatment under anesthesia.

“Why haven’t we come further since I was a kid?” he asked, showing me his mouth full of caps, fillings and missing teeth. Eddie, a libertarian and anti-tax zealot, was moved by three things: Cost: 61 cents per person for fluoridation vs. thousands in dental bills for his grandkids alone. Safety: Hundreds of millions of other Americans safely benefit from it, so “why shouldn’t we?” Kids: “They shouldn’t have to suffer like I did. We need to join the 21st century!”Eddie, I couldn’t agree more.

Joseph Sullivan

Southeast Portland

Don’t force fluoride down our throats

I am deeply disturbed by two other issues around fluoridation of the Bull Run water. One is that our already high (and rising) water bills will get even higher. Note that the Voters’ Pamphlet states that the costs of building the fluoridation plant, as well as the administration of fluoride into the water, will be paid for by water ratepayers, thus adding even more to our quarterly bills.

The second is that the townships that buy our water have no vote in fluoridating and will be subject to drinking the water without a say. There are better ways to address dental issues that don’t affect the total populace.

Ansula Press

Northeast Portland

Scientists, attorneys oppose fluoridation

We are attorneys and scientists who study fluoridation law and science. Your endorsement of fluoridation shows you have not done your homework. Even a journalist should be able to understand that there is little good and much harm that fluoridation will do. See www.Fluoride-Class-Action.com/Portland.

James Robert Deal

Lynnwood, Wash.

Vocal minority gets too much attention

The fluoridation debate seems to rage over whether fluoride can be proven completely safe. This question will never be answered. Instead, life is a matter of mature choices balancing risks. For example, people get killed by MAX trains, but we keep on having MAX because MAX is a good thing, though obviously not “completely safe.”

What bothers me about fluoridation politics is how the vocal minority of opponents gets so much leverage. They know the record. City councils, soberly weighing the facts, tend to approve fluoridation. But when fluoridation goes to a referendum, it’s voted down.

Opponents raise just enough doubt that people who would be quietly OK with fluoridation skip that box on the ballot. But the opponents will always get out there and vote, even if they care about nothing else.

Rick Shory

Northeast Portland

School board needs independent voice

I strongly disagree with your endorsement of Steve Buel to replace Martin Gonzalez on the Portland School Board (Shake up things; elect Buel to School Board, May 9). I have served on the board with Martin as he has repeatedly called for action when teachers or administrators failed to meet the needs of our students. He has held district staff to high levels of accountability.

In contrast, Buel is a perennial school board candidate who blogs about how unions have all the answers to the challenges facing this district. He has no record to suggest he would set high standards for students or teachers, or hold district staff accountable for results.

Portland Public Schools is currently engaged in critical negotiations with its teachers union that will affect the district’s ability to serve its students and to effectively use taxpayer dollars to support the classroom. Portland needs independent school board members like Gonzalez who will represent the interests of students, their families and the taxpayers. Vote for Martin Gonzalez for School Board.

Trudy Sargent

Portland School Board member

Southeast Portland

Prioritize protection of most vulnerable

Right now, four important gun safety measures are under consideration by our legislators in Salem. It is time for Oregon to take the steps our federal representatives failed to take and pass the common-sense gun safety protections that are supported by a strong majority of the citizens who elected them.

As a pastor, the question of community values is part of my daily work. My congregation, like many others, seeks to live by values that put people first. We believe that the safety of our children and most vulnerable should be our first priority, even if that comes at the expense of gun industry profits.

I wish that Congress had succeeded in its duty to protect our nation’s most vulnerable citizens, but we still have a chance to take these steps for Oregon. I pray that our progress here will inspire the rest of the country, to finally bring our nation to the level of gun safety that other industrialized nations enjoy.

The Rev. Audrey DeCoursey

Southeast Portland

Protect local legacy of natural areas

I bought a house in Portland three years ago in large part because of such progressive thinking and actions as Measure 26-152. Setting aside and preserving local natural areas is something to be proud of, something we have a moral obligation to continue in perpetuity.

The Earth is in deep trouble, which can feel so overwhelming. What we’re looking at here is in our own backyard; there are no excuses. We are so very fortunate to have these spaces readily available in our day-to-day lives ... critical to a thriving community.

Money spent now is an investment in today as well as the future.

Linda Silver

Southeast Portland

Vote ensures upkeep of natural areas

When I decided to move to Portland, one of the biggest draws was the variety of nearby parks and natural areas. On an early visit, when I was still debating whether I should uproot my life and move, I spent one sunny afternoon bird-watching at the Smith and Bybee Wetlands Natural Area. I knew then that I wanted to be a member of a community that understands the inherent value — recreational, ecological, economic and aesthetic — of setting aside undeveloped lands.

Since moving to Portland, I’ve spent many more afternoons exploring the parks and natural areas that surround us. I’ve also learned that those parks and natural areas are at risk. Though voters have twice approved bond measures to purchase and protect undeveloped land, these lands are in serious need of maintenance and restoration. Measure 26-152 will provide funds to ensure that our public lands remain healthy and thriving for generations to come. This community created a legacy when the people here chose to purchase and protect these natural areas. I know I plan to stay here, and I am committed to protecting that legacy.

On May 21, I urge you to vote “yes” on Measure 26-152.

Quinn Read

Southeast Portland

Natural areas need maintenance funds

In 1995 and 2006, the voters told Metro to target the most critical areas of wildlife habitat in the greater Portland area and purchase them to add to our park system and take them off the table for development.

Between 2008 and 2012, real estate prices dropped, and Metro was able to surpass its target and buy much more acreage than planned. That’s a good thing. However, Metro’s budget for restoring and maintaining these beautiful areas was based on the earlier, lower acreage projection.

Measure 26-152 will provide the needed boost in those maintenance funds to ensure that invasive species are removed, new trees are planted, and trails and boat ramps are built.

The measure will cost the typical homeowner about $20 per year, improve water quality in streams and rivers, and make our new parklands more accessible. That’s why I’m voting “yes” on 26-152.

Michael O’Connor

Southeast Portland

Apply law and ethics to PERS reform

It is critical that we stop the erosion the Public Employees Retirement System is performing across the state. The actions or lack thereof of our elected legislative officials can change the future of our state or watch us go down the drain. What kind of legacy will they provide?

I support the statements made below by my colleague on the Clackamas Community College Board of Education, Ron Adams: I am pleased to see the Legislature move forward on PERS reform this session. I am less pleased with the level of that reform. Surely no individual will pretend this corrects the problem of underfunding, and pretend PERS is sustainable without major reform.

If the steps in SB 754 are too cumbersome, then reduce the percentages. Those increases are non-negotiable and must be paid. Results: cutting teachers, school days and public services and employees. The COLA reductions proposed are not cuts, just slightly reduced increases. Salaries and retirement bonuses created by outside funds laundered through a state agency or university are not government funds providing governmental services.

The inflated salaries are not paid with government funds and should not be included in PERS retirement calculations. Specifically excluded are retirement incentives, severance pay, retirement bonuses and retirement gratuitous payments.

Spiking techniques — radically increased overtime during the last three years of employment, or grants to OHSU doctors from drug companies or patents, are equally wrong; not illegal, but certainly unethical. Guaranteeing (8 percent) on the PERS fund, and the money match is the most unsustainable element. Legislators, do what must be done. Let the Supreme Court do its job when it comes time to judge the legislation.

Jean Bidstrup

Milwaukie

Harper is a proven asset to PCC board

Voters should return Jim Harper to the Portland Community College Board of Directors. Jim is a champion of underserved communities, a driven volunteer and a keen-eyed caretaker of taxpayers’ money. Jim Harper deserves to be re-elected to Zone 4 on the PCC board of directors.

Dana Haynes

Southwest Portland