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Last anti-fluoride Pinellas commissioner changes his vote

Voters have kicked out of office two of the four Pinellas County Commissioners who voted to stop adding fluoride to the drinking water. Last week, Commissioner Norm Roche decided to change his vote. And now another one has flipped.

John Morroni, the last of the two remaining anti-fluoride votes on the Commission, said that when the issue comes up for debate again, he will vote to put the mineral back in the water.

"I made a mistake and, you know, I listen to the public," he said.

Morroni explained his vote more than a year ago to end fluoridation as a response to a deluge of emails from Pinellas residents who opposed the practice.

"But that was not the position of obviously the majority of the people in this county," he said a week after Election Day brought historic losses for two of his former colleagues. "I need to revisit that and support putting it back into the water," he said.

With Morroni voting in favor of fluoride, and two new pro-fluoride commissioners, a measure to restore the practice is likely to pass unanimously. A discussion of the issue is on the Nov. 20 agenda, but the Commission will not vote on it until the 27th.

Technically, this means that commissioners-elect Janet Long and Charlie Justice will not be able to fulfill a campaign promise of voting in favor of fluoride on the first day of their terms. But the one-week difference is meaningless, Morroni said.

"The campaign is over and the reality is you don't bring up an issue that day, discuss it that day, vote on it that day, without the public knowing about it," he said. "That's not the proper way."

Posted by Anna M Phillips at 4:28:08 pm on November 14, 2012