The wheel that gets the grease

Re: Fluoride decision

I’m sure The Press will be deluged once again with letters about fluoride, so I will only make one point about the city council’s decision to stop adding fluoride to our water. The ire of the populace was focused on them for making the decision to fluoridate unilaterally, not because it was the wrong decision. And now our new council has done exactly the same thing.

The survey was a bad idea from the beginning because regardless of the results, it’s still the council making the decision for all of us. They can say that they are just doing the will of the people, but which people? A response rate of 34 percent is not good for a mail-in survey. They typically hover around 50 percent. This means that the people responding had strong opinions about fluoride and were expecting the survey, which likely skewed the results.

It also means that there are at least two-thirds of the population of Sheridan, whose opinions are not reflected by the results. It’s laughable for Councilor Beaver to say that the survey was the most cost-effective way to get the data. A statistician will tell you that your results are only as good as your inputs. GIGA — garbage in, garbage out.

How much should meaningless data cost, councilor? The last council was petitioned repeatedly to put the fluoride question on the ballot. Not a special election, on the ballot during an election year. They flat out refused repeatedly. 2016 had record participation. The cost of adding the fluoride question would have been minimal, and the results would have actually meant something. This council is doing exactly what previous councils did: they are feeding us chicken droppings and telling us it’s chicken salad.

David Myers