"It won't be an easy feat" is a statement in a Globe article that sounds silly in light of the facts. It won't be possible is more like it, and that should make everybody associated with the Smiles group happy. Even the Globe article substantiates defeat by saying, "Of the 15 largest counties by population in Missouri, only Jasper County has more voters than people of voting age in the last census." And that's not adding in the names on the voter list in the Newton County section of Joplin.
Our communication with the Missouri Office of the Attorney General brought a useless reply to our question, "Who mandates that the county rolls be kept up to date? The Missouri Assistant Attorney General Brett Berri's reply was: "Chapter 115, RSMo places that responsibility with the County Clerk, or in counties that have chosen a Board of Election Commissioners, with that board."Our further email to him dated September 13, 2004, "But who makes sure that those people do their job?", has yet to be answered.
In a phone conversation with Fred King, head of the anti-fluoridation group, King told us that one of the members of his group had discovered a Missouri law that mandates (this word got us in trouble before when using it with the AG's office) that the polls be made accurate 90 days prior to an election. However, he couldn't remember from where this person got her information. So far, we haven't found anything in our search.
What the anti-fluoridationists need is money and the services of a lawyer who could look into having the law in Joplin changed that forces them into seeking more signatures for their petition than could possibly represent the people who legally could vote. So, although a Globe article mentioned this problem, it didn't go any further with it. The way the law is set up no group successfully would be able to petition any legislation passed by the council. That's a horror story right there. Given a vote allowing folks to hear both sides of the issue, fluoridation might have been denied...or, if not, certainly not rammed down everyone's throats without the will of the people, what once used to be a key component of a democracy.
Of course, if the Joplin Council really is interested in serving the so-called "silent majority" here as one of their members suggested that it was interested in doing, it has to initiate action to have the law changed. Obviously as things stand no one would be able to get enough signatures to force a revision vote on anything. Hopefully, that's not the situation the council condones.
The Clean Water group leaders (median age about 80) were unable to clearly think through the process. They even returned the money they had to purchase a list of voters from one of the two counties serving the city. They didn't see the need to check off those names they found on the polls that didn't live here anymore. And running into snarling pets would be the least of the petitioners problems. Until the meth problem is cleaned up around here, it's not exactly a cakewalk going door-to-door in this city.