Elected officials must ignore activists and listen to own voters

Seel

Karen Williams Seel, a member of the county board of commissioners in Pinellas County, Fla.

A recent US blog article made some very pertinent points about the role of elected officials, such a local body councillors, on important social health issues like fluoridation.  These officials have a responsibilty to avoid pressure from misinfomred activists and must instead  listen to their constituents.

Karen Williams Seel, who wrote the article Fluoridation: Elected officials have a critical duty is a member of the county board of commissioners in Pinellas County, Fla., USA. Three years ago, the board voted 4-3 to stop fluoridating its water supply but reversed that decision in 2012 after voters defeated two incumbent commissioners who had voted against fluoridation. In both instances, Seel voted in favor of fluoridation.

She wrote:

“As Americans increasingly seek health information online, elected officials and other policymakers need to recognize that anti-fluoride activists have created a web-based panoply of false fears. For many fluoride critics, these online messages are the source of their concerns. This spring, for instance, a New York resident wrote a letter to his local newspaper, saying he “was surfing the Web and came across information on water fluoridation and the dangers that lie within this practice.”

And

“Public officials have a responsibility to listen to their constituents. We also have a duty to not allow false fear to drive public health decisions. We should direct our constituents to reputable websites like these sites. We shouldn’t let “guess what I read on the internet” be the reason that we abandon a proven, safe practice like water fluoridation.”

Rotorua District Councillors should take Seel’s points on board as they confront their own decisions about Rotorua’s fluoridation and how to consult citizens on it (see Council votes for referendum on fluoridation).

They should also beware of the”Tribunal” trap the Hamilton City Council fell into which effectively led to them being captured by politically and ideologically motivated anti-fluoridation activists, ignoring the information from scientific and health professionals, and ignoring the views of voters. A mistake which eventually led to pressure for another referendum and a reversal of the council’s faulty decision.

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6 responses to “Elected officials must ignore activists and listen to own voters

  1. What a load of codswallop . . . once again . . . just regurgitated propaganda Ken . . . :{

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  2. So, Greenbuzzer, you have an opinion but no evidence to support it?

    Why am I not suprised.

    However, it does discredit your opinion, doesn’t it?

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  3. Greenbuzzer expresses feelings. Science continues not to care.

    Like

  4. Activists (as you call them) ARE the voters.

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  5. Really? Then how is it that 72% of Pinellas County voted for term limits yet Pinellas is still the only county in Florida that refuses to enforce its county commission term limits, even after the unanimous 2012 Supreme Court decision that such limits are constitutional. While term-limited Pinellas Commissioners Susan Latvala, Karen Seel, John Morroni and Ken Welch continue to battle the people in the courts, they also continue to serve on the commission.

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  6. Voter, you may have come here by mistake as your comments don’t seem to relate to the article. However, some clarification. Sure, activists are also voters – but a very small minority of the real voters. And on this issue the activists tend to be international. In our local situation the voters belong to one City yet the council was bombarded with submission and pressured by activists from outside the area – even international activists like Connett and Waugh.

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