Brooksville mayor’s abuse of power unacceptable

THE ISSUE: Brooksville Mayor Lara Bradburn’s decision not to allow public input at city’s fluoridation workshop.

OUR OPINION: The Mayor needs to allow all sides to be heard on whether to add fluoride to the city’s drinking water.

When is a public workshop not a public workshop? When it is chaired by Brooksville Mayor Lara Bradburn who has obviously made up her mind on the issue of adding fluoride to the city’s drinking water.

At a Tuesday workshop Bradburn abused her power as mayor in an attempt to force her will on everyone else.

At times, if announced in advance, government workshops can be without public input; however, past workshops on fluoridation have allowed for a healthy debate with all sides getting a chance to speak. That includes the mayor, who at a fluoridation workshop in May, spent more than an hour refuting scientifically supported facts provided by the health department about the benefits of adding fluoride to drinking water.

This time around the mayor made sure only one side of the debate would be heard – her own. The mayor had her anti-fluoride expert, Dr. Paul Connett, speak for over an hour. When he was done the mayor made a few remarks, asked council members if they had any questions, and then ended the meeting.

Her fellow council members should be ashamed for not having the guts to stand up to the mayor and fight for the public’s right to speak. With more than 50 people in attendance, it was obvious the issue was important to the community.

Adding fluoride to drinking water is a serious decision and it makes sense that the public, whose health would be affected, would have the right to make their feelings known.

It would behoove the mayor to understand that governing is not ruling and there are limits to the actions she may or may not take. City residents should demand accountability from their elected leaders. Putting one’s own personal agenda over that of the people she represents is unacceptable.

History is full of examples of failed governments that refused to listen to the will of the people. Paramount is the issue of the public’s right to be heard on issues affecting their well-being. The mayor would be wise to re-examine her actions and allow for a proper debate before a final vote on fluoridation is taken.

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