Voters To Decide San Marcos Fluoride Measure

Aug 24, 2015

Last week, members of the Austin City Council heard a proposal to halt the practice of putting fluoride in the city’s water supply, but, ultimately, they found no persuasive evidence of any harm from the practice.

However, the City of San Marcos is still very much in the middle of a battle over its water fluoridation program – a battle that’s gotten all the way to the Texas Supreme Court.


San Marcos resident Kathleen O’Connell says any amount of fluoride in her water is too much fluoride.

“If you get to the root of the matter, what this chemical is, you know?” she says. “It’s coming from phosphate fertilizer chimneys.”

O’Connell and a group called the Communities for Thriving Water Fluoride-Free San Marcos want the fluoride removed. They got enough signatures from registered voters to get a proposition on the November ballot over the issue. The City of San Marcos rejected the signatures on a technicality.

Austin-based attorney Brad Rockwell submitted that petition on behalf of the group. He says the petition was rejected, and that the city sued the group to collect on attorney’s fees.

However, a Hays County judge ruled that the city’s reason for rejecting the signatures was wrong. Meanwhile, the city has put a proposition on this November’s ballot, but it’s not the one petitioners wanted.

“Instead [the city] enacted what I would call sort of a fake anti-fluoride measure on the ballot that said effectively, ‘Should the city direct its agents and employees not to fluoridate water?’” Rockwell says. He points out it’s not the city that fluoridates the water. The Guadalupe Blanco River Authority does that.

The city also has a proposal on the November ballot that would raise the bar on petitions to change to the San Marcos charter.

The petitioners are asking the Texas Supreme Court to validate their ballot measure. The City of San Marcos faces a deadline today to send the Supreme Court a response to that request.