City voters side with dentists; Gillespie mirrors statewide votes on Constitutional Amendment issues
A fright about fluoride led by activists brought out voters, who agreed with their dentists and rejected a City of Fredericksburg charter amendment that sought to prevent the city from putting a fluoride additive into its water supply.
Opposed by the entire local dental community and many doctors, voters turned out to vote “no” to the anti-fluoride proposal by a 1,258 to 729 margin.
Voters also voiced their preferences on a slate of 10 state constitutional amendments, passing 8 of them. Statewide, 9 of 10 passed.
Dental professionals claimed studies cited by activists and “scare tactics” were unproven and they tapped into fears and paranoia.
“I am really proud of our dental community,” said Arnold Cuellar, DDS, a retired dentist who spearheaded a late campaign to let voters know where the profession stood on the issue. “They had nothing to gain other than personal satisfaction of knowing it was the right thing to do. The community really supported us.”
Cuellar said he and other dentists worried a social media campaign by Clean Water Fred went mostly unanswered. He said the dental community did not do much to “counter this misinformation.” Approval of the charter amendment “would have been a definite setback to our community’s dental health,” he said.
Activists for Clean Water Fred cited studies they say point to neurological damage, lower IQ in children and other claims, all from the addition of about .3 parts per million added by the city. That amount roughly doubles the amount of naturally occurring fluoride in the city’s water supply, which the city has added for the past 70 years.
The group used terms like “hazardous waste,” and claimed the addition of fluoride deprived residents of having a choice.
Yet local dentists made an advertising plea to locals, stating, among other things, that for every $1 spent on tap water fluoridation, about $38 is saved by residents in future dental care costs.
Activists also have used a similar campaign to stop municipal water fluoridation in San Marcos, Buda and other towns.
Clean Water Fred claims those who want additional fluoride may apply it topically with a number of products.
Several items that were among the 10 proposed Texas Constitutional Amendments also drove Gillespie County voters to the polls.
Proposition 4 passed by the a 3-to-1 margin. The proposition made it even more difficult for lawmakers to ever pass a state income tax. The proposition would require a two-thirds majority in both the state senate and house to impose an income tax, whereas now it could do so with a simple majority.
Texas relies mostly on property taxes and sales taxes to fund its government while 43 states, and even some localities, use some form of an income tax.
Another popular ballot measure was Proposition 5, which dedicates the full amount of a sales tax on sporting goods to Texas state parks and historic sites. The legislature has routinely dipped its hand into the revenue produced by that tax and used it for other purposes.
“Texans overwhelmingly voted to permanently ban a state income tax as Proposition 4 passed by a three to one margin,” said State Rep. Kyle Biedermann, who endorsed Prop 4. “This is a victory for all Texans, and proves once again that Texas will continue to be a low-tax state, helping our economy thrive.”
“In addition, Propositions 2, 5 and 8, which I supported, passed by a wide margin,” Biedermann said. “This will help benefit our district relating to parks, future water projects and flood issues. The people of Texas set our state up well for the future with their votes last night.”
On Wednesday morning, with 100% of counties reporting, statewide results for the 10 amendments were as follows:
Prop. 1 (hold more than one office) – Yes 35%, No 65%
Prop. 2 (water infrastructure bonds)– Yes 66%, No 34%
Prop. 3 (appraisals after a disaster) – Yes 85%, No 15%
Prop. 4 (no state income tax) – Yes 74%, No 26%
Prop. 5 (state parks) – Yes 88%, No 12%
Prop. 6 (cancer research) – Yes 64%, No 36%
Prop. 7 (increases to school fund) – Yes 74%, No 26%
Prop. 8 (flood infrastructure) – Yes 78%, No 22%
Prop. 9 (precious metal tax) – Yes 52%, No 48%
Prop. 10 (service dogs) – Yes 94%, No 6%
Gillespie County’s votes on the constitutional amendment election mostly mirrored state totals, which were tallied as follows:
Prop. 1 (hold more than one office) – Yes 44%, No 56%
Prop. 2 (water infrastructure bonds)– Yes 64%, No 36%
Prop. 3 (appraisals after a disaster) – Yes 86%, No 14%
Prop. 4 (no state income tax) – Yes 83%, No 17%
Prop. 5 (state parks) – Yes 90%, No 10%
Prop. 6 (cancer research) – Yes 59%, No 41%
Prop. 7 (increases to school fund) – Yes 71%, No 29%
Prop. 8 (flood infrastructure) – Yes 74%, No 26%
Prop. 9 (precious metal tax) – Yes 53%, No 47%
Prop. 10 (service dogs) – Yes 96%, No 4%
Voter turnout for Gillespie County was 23.3%.
There are 19,416 registered voters in the county and 4,529 took part.
In the city charter ballot, here were 999 persons who voted early or used mail-in ballots and 982 voted on Election Day.
A heavy amount of requests for emergency ballots led to a late-night count for the county elections administrator. See story here.