LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Public financing levels playing field
THE JOURNAL proposed to get rid of public financing in its Aug. 7 editorial. The League of Women Voters of New Mexico believes this is the wrong approach. Everyone is frustrated by the spending of big independent PACs, but doing away with public financing won’t solve this problem. Instead, it would affirm a system in which candidates spend most of their time raising money from a small group of well-heeled donors, often from out of state.
Public financing, on the other hand, rewards grassroots organizing and requires the engagement of thousands of voters who must contribute $5 to the mayoral candidate they support. Most often, this is done through a door-to-door campaign, where personal contact replaces slick solicitations and glitzy fundraisers.
The league supports a fair, equitable and reasonable combination of public and private funding of campaigns for New Mexico state elective offices. Participation in public financing should be voluntary.
This approach is a lot of work for candidates, but for those who have a passion for politics and no easy access to wealth, it at least makes it possible to walk onto the playing field. Without it, there are many who would never consider running for office.
For citizens who give $5, it might be the only time they’ve ever been involved in a campaign, short of voting on Election Day. And, in these days of declining voter participation, why wouldn’t we want to encourage this kind of involvement, rather than maximizing the tendency of candidates to cater to the rich donors?
The league believes in maximum voter participation in the electoral process, and this is one way to encourage that participation. Democracy has always been based on expanding, rather than shrinking, the number of active, informed participants. JUDITH K. WILLIAMS League of Women Voters-N.M.
Base fluoridation decision on facts
OPPONENTS OF fluoridation at the recent water utility board meeting mentioned diabetes, bone disease and cancer as matters of their concern (“Fluoride decision delayed until Sept.” Aug. 24). The American Cancer Society states: “There is no strong evidence of a link between water fluoridation and cancer.” A research article asserts an association between fluoride and diabetes when the level of added fluoride is 1 mg/liter or higher. The U.S. Public Health Service now recommends adjusting fluoride to no more than 0.7 mg/liter, not 1 mg as previously advised. The bone disease of skeletal fluorosis is associated with levels of fluoride in excess of levels considered safe — above 0.7 mg/liter.
In other words, there is presently no scientific basis for an association of fluoride with diabetes, bone disease or cancer when the fluoride level in the water is adjusted to 0.7 mg/liter. At that level, tooth decay is reduced by 25 percent in children, as well as adults, as this article correctly stated.
Board member and City Councilor Trudy Jones stated that “adding more chemicals to our water … (is) medical engineering and that’s something we don’t have the right to do.” Another opponent of fluoridation said, ”I’m asking you not to medicate my water.” Would these individuals want the board to take the chlorine out of our city water, and put the population at risk of cholera and typhus? Adding fluoride to the city water is not medication any more than is adding chlorine to the water. Both of these chemicals help prevent disease.
I hope the water utility board will base its decision regarding this matter on sound science and not merely the “passionate opinions expressed” at these board meetings. STEPHEN M. FELDMAN DDS Associate professor, University of Louisville School of Dentistry, and retired director, dental program, Louisville Health Department Albuquerque