The Washington Supreme Court ruled Thursday that two initiatives seeking to stop the addition of fluoride to the public waters of Port Angeles went beyond the scope of the initiative process.
In a 5-4 ruling, the court agreed with the Port Angeles City Council, which had declined to enact or refer the initiatives to the ballot.
The council argued that the initiatives filed by citizen groups in 2006 concerned administrative, not legislative, issues that could not be challenged through the initiative process.
Gerald Steel, an attorney in Olympia who represented one of the anti-fluoride groups, said the fundamental issue was that government should not have the right to medicate public water supplies.
“The Supreme Court did not adequately appreciate that issue,” he said.
A message left with Port Angeles City Attorney William Bloor was not immediately returned.
A dissenting opinion written by Justice Richard Sanders said the initiatives should be allowed to go to the ballot.
“Without a robust right of initiative,” Sanders wrote, “the citizens of Port Angeles are without recourse in determining what types of additives the city pumps into or withholds from their drinking water.”
The city began putting fluoride in the city’s drinking water in 2006 to help prevent tooth decay.