Fluoridated water fight: Unwanted, vandalized, stolen campaign signs

Fluoridated water fight: Unwanted, vandalized, stolen campaign signs »Play Video
Maty Sauter, left, says someone has been putting anti-fluoride signs in her yard even though she's pro-fluoride. After removing the signs only to have them return, Sauter attached her own sign (in yellow) to an anti-fluoride signs asking that it be removed.

PORTLAND, Ore. – Just a few days before voters get their ballots to decide whether to fluoridate the city's drinking water, complaints about dirty campaign tactics have begun to fly.

Maty Sauter says her yard has been vandalized three times in the last month. The first time it happened she says she returned home to find an anti-fluoride sign in her yard.

"I was embarrassed," she said. "I don't support that point of view, and the sign's been in my yard for eight hours."

She believes her house was chosen because she lives along Cesar Chavez Boulevard with plenty of people driving by.

She took it down and put her own signs up. But she says within 24 hours, someone put up another one.

That's when she made her own sign that reads: "Stop putting signs in my yard" and "Crappy science equals the need for dirty tactics."

When Sauter says a third sign appeared, she left it but with a note: "When you find some integrity, come get your signs out of my yard."

"Obviously, we don't condone anything like that," said Rick North with the anti-fluoride group, Clean Water Portland. "You get this in any election, any campaign. Both sides are going to have signs to be taken or defaced, and that's happened again here. But that's just a distraction from the main point."

North says his group's office has gotten complaints but for the opposite reason: Stolen anti-fluoride signs.

"Four calls today of people that have had their lawn signs stolen, one defaced," he said. "But again, this is a distraction. This is not the main point. The main point is fluoridation."

"I think people have lost perspective, particularly on one side of the issue," said Sauter.

The city, including police, doesn't really have the resources to get involved.

It will all come to an end soon. Ballots go out Friday for the May 21 special election.

The fluoride debate has been a hot topic. The KATU Problem Solvers recently combed through the thick stack of research on it.

Here are those stories: