City of Sonoma


Sonoma Valley's Lauren Ayers (July 4th 2013)
Sonoma Valley’s Lauren Ayers, founder of Fluoride-Free Sonoma County (Fourth of July 2013)

 In a 3-2 vote Monday March 2, 2015, the Sonoma City Council rejected water fluoridation. Mayor David Cook, and council members Gary Edwards  and Rachel Hundley, voted to send the letter. Council members Laurie Gallian and Madolyn Agrimonti voted against.

The water fluoridation was on the agenda at the February 18th meeting but, while a majority of the Council supported sending a letter of rejection, City Council member Rachel Hundley wanted to send a more strongly worded letter to the Board of Supervisors, and asked that the letter be sent back to staff for appropriate changes.

Hundley felt the draft letter’s wording wasn’t “Sonoma-centric” enough, and wanted the letter to include some of the concerns raised by Council member Gary Edwards.

Talking about fluoride at the February 18th City Council meeting, Edwards said, “I’ve talked to doctors. I’ve talked to quite a few folks. I don’t really want to have it in my food. I don’t really want it in my wine. I don’t want it in my meal.”

On March 2nd, Edwards argued that water fluoridation would not solve the root cause of tooth decay, which is sugary drinks. “We’re not taking care of the real issue, which is this particular product,” he said, pulling out a bottle of Coca Cola as a visual aid. Edwards said, My problem is the delivery system [i.e. putting it in Sonoma tap water],” noting that there are better ways of getting fluoride to anyone who might need it to reduce cavities.

Mayor Cook was quoted in The Press Democrat (March 3,2015): “I’m a farmer,” he said. “We worry about our land. We worry about the water underneath us. When we’re talking about putting fluoride in the water, I would vote against that.”

If the proposed fluoridation project is approved by the Board of Supervisors, all Sonoma County Water Agency customers would received fluoridated water. Those customers include, among others, Windsor, Santa Rosa, Valley of the Moon, Forestville, Rohnert Park, Cotati, Petaluma, and the North Marin Water District.

Sonoma buys about 95 percent of its water from the Sonoma County Water Agency.

The Restructured Agreement for Water Supply is a detailed agreement by and between the Sonoma County Water Agency and its seven prime customers. The unanimity required by the Restructured Agreement took eight years to achieve. Amending the Restructured Agreement to allow water fluoridation also would require unanimous consent of the signers. That unanimous consent became less likely with the Cotati City Council vote to reject fluoridation (November 11, 2013). Now the City of Sonoma joins Cotati, and other city councils and water districts may follow suit.

SOURCES: Eloísa Ruano González, The Press Democrat: “Sonoma council to take up fluoridation debate” (2/17/2015); “Sonoma council split on fluoride” (2/18/2015); “Sonoma council takes on three contentious issues” (3/1/2015); “Sonoma opposes county plan to fluoridate water” (3/2/2015).