Murmurs: Fluoride Foes Love Their Reflection in the Water.

  1. Flummoxed by the fluoridation fight? Fluoridation opponents are adding to the confusion. The campaign to pass city ballot Measure 26-151 in May, which would authorize fluoridating the drinking water from Portland’s reservoirs, is called “Healthy Kids, Healthy Portland.” It debuted its Facebook page four weeks ago. But on Jan. 28, fluoridation opponents launched a decoy Facebook page titled “Healthy Portland, Healthy Kids” that features posts linking fluoride and cancer. Evyn Mitchell, campaign manager for Healthy Kids, Healthy Portland (that’s the “yes” side, for those keeping score at home), is not amused. “This is standard operating procedure for the group that opposes fluoridation—confuse, manipulate and mislead,” Mitchell says. Clean Water Portland executive director Kimberly Kaminski (for the opponents) says her group didn’t create the Facebook page. “We’ll try to get them to take it down,” she says, “once we find out who did it.” [Update: The parody page is now down.]
  1. Former mayoral candidate Jefferson Smith is quietly exploring a campaign finance reform initiative as his next political vehicle. Smith, who voluntarily limited contributions during his unsuccessful 2012 mayoral race, has communicated with Secretary of State Kate Brown, the state’s elections chief; public-interest lawyer Dan Meek, author of previous campaign finance reforms; and Ted Blaszak of the signature-gathering firm Democracy Resources. Smith didn’t respond to requests for comment, but in a recent Facebook post asked, “Anyone know a kindhearted grant writer?”
  1. Five months after the end of the Free Rail Zone, fare inspectors on the Portland Streetcar have yet to issue a single citation for freeloading. The yellow-vest-clad inspectors are still in “education mode,” according to the January minutes of the streetcar citizen advisory board meeting. Compare that approach to the draconian $175 ticket TriMet hands out and the stings it conducts outside Trail Blazers and Timbers games. Streetcar officials estimate about 7 percent of riders evade fares—which is curious, given (as WW reported in last week’s Murmurs) city officials have limited data on how many people are riding the trains.
  1. The latest rash of tiny earthquakes off the Oregon Coast and in Southwest Washington has us bracing for the big one. (We’re writing this from under our desk.) There are signs the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management is worried, too. The bureau just dropped $158,302 in federal grants on a portable morgue for mass fatalities. The morgue-on-wheels comes from Ohio-based Penn Care Inc., which bills itself as “much more than mobile morgues.” The two trailers allow officials to set up remote forensic and identification sites while “respectfully storing remains.” The trailers will join the Regional Mass Fatality Response Team of the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office. Let’s hope we don’t need it.