Counting the tea party influence in Pinellas
Tea party activists are credited with the Pinellas County Commission's 4-3 vote against adding fluoride to water anymore (or blamed, depending on the viewpoint). But some longtime opponents of fluoridation have disagreed at the idea of the tea party turned the vote, and that includes Commissioner Norm Roche. He posted a lengthy letter to the Times on his Facebook page, including this nugget.
"The folks that appeared in opposition to the practice where not all, and in fact very few might even have been, associated with the Tea Party. Moreover, the fluoridation debate was and has been in existence long before the Tea Party emerged," Roche wrote.
In fact, at least 14 of the 23 opponents who spoke or turned in comment cards (5 declined to speak) at last Tuesday's meeting have participated tea party groups, such as Pinellas Patriots, Patriots Ink or similar 9/12 groups, according to a review of members identified on groups websites.
One message afterward told members, "Again, congratulations on your efforts to halt the practice of adding Fluoride to the county's water supply. Your perseverance and careful research paid-off."
But Roche is right that fears and complaints about fluoride have been around for decades.