Divided by emotions and science, Pinellas County commissioners decided to stop adding fluoride to h2o in the series of tense 4-3 votes.
A drive by dentists to oust two commissioners behind the move has arrived not surprisingly.
Less predictable: Implications that Commissioner Ken Welch, a fluoride supporter, is aiding dentists' tries to unseat his colleagues, Nancy Bostock and Neil Brickfield.
A series of emails reveal a small grouping of local dentists' call to donate to Welch's re-election as a "cornerstone" with the effort, ways of lobby for any about face the fluoride decision, and
biting criticism of Commissioner Norm Roche, a fluoride critic, being an "uneducated fool."
Amid that, dentist Johnny Johnson of Palm Harbor wrote he attended a Welch fund-raiser and was seeking potential election rivals for Bostock and Brickfield, Republicans who voted against adding
"We must ROCK & ROLL!!! Help!!!!!" Johnson wrote.
However, if he hit send Jan. 27, Johnson inexplicably emailed the process to Roche.
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Roche browse the email and saw evidence of a political campaign involving one colleague (Welch) against another instead of a further discussion about improving dental hygiene inside the county.
"I cannot and will not - either directly or indirectly - be related to any opposition effort against some of my Board colleagues," Roche warned inside a Sunday email.
Roche, a Republican who recently joined the county's Election Canvassing Board, cited that role as a legal requirement of distancing himself through the activity associated with political
Roche didn't return a note seeking comment, and Johnson wouldn't normally accept be interviewed in regards to the email.
Brickfield expressed surprise to possess read that Welch could are likely involved in the campaign against him.
"There's for ages been a culture on the Pinellas County Commission that incumbents do not get associated with races with incumbents," said Brickfield.
The dentists never have registered a political action committee, but they have met regularly concerning how to upend the vote. Most health experts credit fluoride with helping improve oral health
The group split without success to back a referendum to overturn the fluoride votes. Welch, a fluoride supporter as well as the board's only Democrat, opposed a ballot measure as risky. He's made
it clear the 2012 election will be a referendum on fluoride.
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"I'm not organizing some other campaign, I'm organizing my very own campaign," Welch said. "Other candidates are coming forward in their own business, and it is not a secret the elimination of
fluoride are a wide issue on this county."
Johnson attended Welch's campaign kickoff Jan. 26, and wrote that Welch's "first point" in the speech was fluoride. Johnson recommended lining up experts to fulfill with commissioners to higher
explain fluoridation. Younger crowd urged contributions to Commissioner Karen Seel, a Republican who backed fluoridation, and Welch.
Another attendee, Mark Weinkrantz, a Democrat on East Lake's fire commission, said Welch never spoke a good agenda to oust Brickfield or Bostock.
"As far as Ken being associated with any operation? I'm certain Ken has preferences who he would work with, I know anybody would," said Weinkrantz.
At Welch's campaign kickoff in the Hangar Restaurant in St. Petersburg, Johnson met former state Sen. Charlie Justice, a Democrat, whose expected run for your commission spawned from anger on the
fluoride vote. Johnson also attempted to tap into former lawmaker Janet Long, another Democrat considered likely to run for commission following your fluoride votes. But she wasn't around.
They might face Bostock and Brickfield, respectively.
After Johnson's initial email, rhetoric escalated. Roche chided dentists' resolve for helping poor children when most don't accept Medicaid patients. Johnson replied by having an apology and
worried the e-mail would impugn the dentists' effort as "poor and under-handed."
Then dentist Ed Hopwood of Clearwater - who denies any Welch involvement organizing opposition - upped the ante against Roche.
"He is an uneducated fool who's playing the political game for the best of his ability," Hopwood wrote, zinging Roche if you are "incapable of having past secondary school."
Concluded Hopwood: "Hang within, we are going to be best when Roche has stopped being at work."
Roche is up in 2014.
Bostock brushed off of the re-election threat, saying she can defend her vote as giving people "individual freedom" to choose whether or not to consume fluoride.
But after acrimony dominated the commission next year, she desires a more civil tone before November's election.
"We don't really need all of this sort of infighting," she said, "because it does not serve anyone."