Ben Unger: stung by fluoridation loss

NW Spotlight_thb

by NW Spotlight

After Tuesday night’s resounding defeat  of Portland’s fluoridation measure, Oregon State Rep. Ben Unger (D-Hillsboro) must still be licking his wounds.

As a career political operative, Unger has grown quite used to being on the winning side of campaigns.

His campaign website lists these achievements, starting with his election as student body vice-president at the University of Oregon and continuing with the Yes on Measure 49 campaign in 2007, former Oregon Attorney General John Kroger’s 2008 campaign and his own legislative race last year.

So one can only imagine Unger’s disappointment with the result of Tuesday night’s loss. He was, after all, paid as a consultant by promoters of the measure, with checks going to his company and himself. This has been confirmed  by multiple press accounts in the weeks leading up to the May 21 election.

In fact, Unger believed so much in the cause that he even donated to it.

What isn’t known at this point is the extent to which Unger’s consulting duties on this losing effort conflicted with the demands of his position in the Legislature. It raises the question: Did his constituents know that Unger would continue consulting for campaigns while serving them at the state level? Would they have voted differently if they knew that he would be devoting his efforts to the promotion of mandatory fluoridation instead of performing the constituent services that he was elected to do? And will we see more of this in the future, where Unger puts the needs of his clients ahead of the people of House District 29?

To add further intrigue to the situation, there are rumors circulating that Democrats may seek to thwart the will of voters on this matter. House Bill 3082 has a broad relating-to clause of “dental care for children.” The speculation is that amendments may be offered to this bill to pre-empt local control on the fluoridation issue and give it to the state.

Some people, like Ben Unger, are so committed to pushing their agenda that they just can’t take “no” for an answer…even when it’s overwhelming, like it was Tuesday night.

Rep. Ben Unger

  • JacklordGod

    When I saw Carlos Mencia a few years back his very first joke was “Wow, Oregon, never been here before, is toothpaste really really expensive here?”

    Part of me was sad this measure failed. It’s ridiculous this is still a contentious issue. Yet part of me was happy it failed, as it keeps a quaint yet idiotic tradition alive.

    Many now would have a hard time believing the world wide communist conspiracy in Dr. Strangelove, punctuated by fluoridation of water sapping our precious bodily fluids, was ever a real concern of anyone. In this day and age it seems entirely a ludicrous invention of the screenplay.

    Yet at one time that was an actual belief of some. Yes, the world wide communist conspiracy has morphed into the world wide global corporation conspiracy but the point here is, its a zany conspiracy all the same.

    There is a certain amount of charm in keeping crazy conspiracy theories alive. Fluoridation of water is one of the wackier ones, but this stalwart, this buttress of our cherished conspiracy history remains alive in Portland today.

    • DavidAppell

      What you consider “quaint” = 20% of Oregon children having untreated tooth decay by the age of 9.

      Who cares, right, as long as it makes you feel good?

      • JacklordGod

        While 20% have tooth decay, you manage to be an ass 100% of the time. Lighten up nitwit.

        • DavidAppell

          Do you have any concern at all for these hundreds of thousands of kids? Or do you only care about yourself, as seems to be the case?

          • guest

            Go muse on BlueOregon and stop fussing here.

          • DavidAppell

            I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a site where the replies are less substantive than on Oregon Catalyst.

            If it’s not someone babbling in a syntax I can barely recognize, it’s someone like you saying “Just go away.”

            And you wonder why everyone else sees today’s conservatism as intellctually vapid….

          • guest

            You arse so Geo Soros, DA!

          • DavidAppell

            Exhibit B.
            (Thank you.)

          • guest

            Also note the “what me worry” countenance of blingaling Ben Unger’s countenance along with the dazzliance of DA’s by googling David Appell and you’ll cede the similarity…

          • JacklordGod

            Considering the vapidity of your initial post – missing that I was making fun of Portland for its vote – this reply here is especially idiotic David.

            You are the dolt who missed the point in the first place. Please don’t go on criticizing others when it was your buffoonery that initiated the responses.


          • guest

            Then why ‘blogger’ if conservative OC is deemed by DA as intellectually vapid (lowbrow) – in essence, not worthy of his progressive (highbrow) swaggering gutteralia?

          • JacklordGod

            David – First of all, it has been established here, by yourself, that you are the one who cares only for himself. You feel you should be able to sit there, write your blog, and everyone should have to pay for your apartment and health care.

            I am the one who pays for you. I am the one who gets up and does the hard work. Work I often don’t feel like doing, so I can pay my taxes so you can sit around your apartment and suck down Mountain Dew, Cheetos, and write your blog.

            So thats square one – You are a taker, I am a provider, and you are in no place to start moralizing on the caring of others. You can’t even take care of yourself.


            How you could be such a humorless bore that you could not understand that comparing Portland’s vote to Sterling Haydens performance in Strangelove was making fun of them is beyond me.

            You are a complete buffoon David. A humorless clod who sits around his apartment spewing his moral pomposity. A blithering cultural idiot who could not figure out a Dr. Strangelove reference is directly making fun of Portland for voting down the measure.

            It is as if you are a child, who only understands simple direct language. A cultural boob who likely has never seen Dr. Strangelove, since you missed the reference, or if so thought it was a documentary.

            FOr the love of God man – Since you refuse to leave your aparttment and get a productive job and insist on being a burden to society, could you at least render yourself culturally literate in even the most basic sense of the term?

            Dr. Strangelove is a classic movie that will be referential for the rest of your life. Go see it. And no, just because it’s in black and white that doesn’t mean its a documentary.

            Oh good God, I just realized – you likely have a black and white TV anyway.

          • guest

            Hundreds of thousands you intone – albeit a FAIR estimate attending Oregon’s 3.9 million including a fostering of 170,000 illegals with 64,000 kids growing faster than untaxed weed farming metastasizing statewide.

  • Ben’s Buddy

    This isn’t Nasty Ben’s first loss. He oversaw Portland Public Schools failed bond measure.

  • 3H

    OC is so committed to bad mouthing Democrats that they can’t wait to see if the rumors are true before drawing conclusions.
    This has one of the worst pieces to come out of OC. Nothing but innuendo and speculation regarding Unger and his constituents.

    • guest

      Take in the upstairs reply to David Appell and continue thereto. May do you a whorld of good but I most folks addressing OC doubt it.

      • DavidAppell

        Exhibit A.

        • guest

          U R and undeniable Uff-da, DA!.

          • DavidAppell

            Like I said, completely unintelliglble. Like most of today’s conservatism.

            Keep it up.

          • guest

            Look at yourself in the mirror ramble mouth!

      • 3H

        Ask your self this… how many of your posts have been removed, and how many of mine have been removed?

        • guest

          You’re a left wing nut case and the exposure ought be reconsigned for muse in Brazil or at ‘lease’ buried somewhere south of Che Guevara, shillgrim.


    Investigating how State legislators make a living off of their connections that are in conflict with their public responsibilities would be a great series of articles.

    You could follow the Unger story up with one on Sen. Bruce Starr and his “business consulting” company. See what types of conflicts that reveals.

    If you really want to put a stop to this. Then we should consider increasing the salaries of these legislators to something that resembles a decent income for someone with this time commitment and authority. If you expect Rep. Unger to spend all his time devoted to the job, then we should pay him a wage commensurate with that time obligation.

    And…we may see a tremendous increase in the number of potential candidates. Bigger pool of candidates will mean better overall quality.

    If you’re concerned about paying a large salary to someone who is just looking for a job, then lets consider a stipend to each legisator based on a “wage replacement” For the time they devote to the job. Paying them the income lost because of their public service based on the past 3 years of average wage income. (With a minimum based on current pay and a maximum of perhaps $80,000/year) So a very successful businessperson, engineer, or just an everyday worker who’d like to serve but can’t afford the cut in compensation, could consider running for public office. And, some ne’er do well wouldn’t just see the position as a step up professionally and income wise.

    • DavidAppell

      How much are you willing to pay for such a series of articles?


        Are you offering to produce them?

        • DavidAppell

          Depends on the price. But I suspect you’re the type who wants information for free and think it’s supposed to magically appear.


            You don’t do well at job interviews do you

  • Bob Clark

    The organic, back-to-nature sentiment is what defeated fluoride in Portland. Plus, having traveled the World myself, Portland’s bull run water is some of the best tasting water supply on planet earth and the idea of changing it, even if innocuous, is a strong intuitive NO! If Unger and crew in Salem are going to try an end run on citizens, then they better prepare for a convoy load of citizens rallying against them in their hall ways. Even folks who may not be all that passionate about this issue, such as myself, will help lead such charge.

    In a weird sense, City of Portlanders are conservative. They are resisting change, and many of them know no other way then to support the Democrat party machine (with its public employee union due fund largesse) which has controlled the city for decades. They will continue to support this machine through voting its members into political office, the tradition; and resist change to the environment.

    The libertarians, an inconsequential group but with high aspirations, are actually for change. Hoping to free individuals, for example, to pursue alternative education outlets, beside the dominant public school monopoly. To empower the individual to find community and individual solutions through the interaction of individuals in private transactions, rather than by the force of government. This is a tough sell in an urban environment such as Portland, but one we libertarians (and quasi libertarians) invite City of Portlanders to re-explore.

    City of Portland libertarians did firmly support City of Portlander environmentalists in the anti-fluoride campaign and will continue to do so. As regards new coal export projects, libertarians are not opposed to such projects if the absolute demonstrate-able externalities can be addressed and fully compensated for. So, here again, City of Portland libertarians support individual private market transaction with common law remedial opportunity (coal export); and seek to minimize new government interference (fluoridation). Admittedly, there’s a room for differing on my interpretation here.

    • DavidAppell

      I have lived in 10 different states. In every one of them, people said they had the best-tasting water in the world.

      • JacklordGod

        OK, so we can’t determine water quality by what people say. However, can we assume Oregon has the best welfare benefits since you seem to have resided here for some time?

  • guest

    If it ain’t broke, don’t afflict it. Like sales taxes and fluoride, repeatedly dead issues that do not merit revival, bury ’em and get on with common sense like making PERS conform with private sector standards and cull the Metro and Trimet creep that’s jerking taxpayer pocket books to the tune a governmentium wa-wa tuzi.

    • DavidAppell

      It is broke — 20% of Oregon’s children under the age of 9 have untreated tooth decay,

      This is what the anti-science anti-fluoride liberals & conservatives have wrought.

      • guest

        Enya believe, the broken phonograph record plays on and on without skipping a bleap. Go sail away, DA!

  • lalahulu

    Fluoridation is most harmful to infants, young children, the elderly and sensitive subgroups. It’s the reality of this “drug”. Plus it’s ineffective, stats reveal the non-fluoridated communities have better dental health than fluoridated communities. It’s time to do some research and update those memory banks with factual info.

    • DavidAppell

      The science already says otherwise.

      • guest

        Tale that to Chuck Wiese!

  • Hart Noecker

    If Ben Unger wished to create the image that he cares about the health of children, he shouldn’t have voted to increase air pollution by 32% via the CRC freeway expansion.

  • James Reeves

    Do you wonder why only 5% of the world fluoridates drinking water?

    Do you wonder why the many states with the longest fluoridation record have the worse teeth?

    For example, Oregon is 27.4% fluoridated with 16.0% complete tooth loss. Compare that to Hawaii, which is 8.4% fluoridated with only 9.6% complete tooth loss.  It shows how ineffective fluoridation is. 

    You can check the data on any state at the following CDC site:

    • Juan might imagine

      Saltpeter the world’s water supply and the population bomb fizzles.

    • DavidAppell

      Your analysis is simplistic and scientifically meaningless. There are many factors that affect tooth loss in those older than 65 (which is the age category you’re quoting), such as history of fluoridating (in regions where those elderly lived), income and wealth, education level, and more.

      When the scientific analysis is done right the data show a strong benefit to fluoridation.

      • James Reeves

        As they say, the proof is in the eating. Why do so many states with 50 to 60 years so fluoridation ultimately have such poor records of tooth loss.
        For example,

        Florida is 77.7% fluoridated with 16.7% complete tooth loss,

        Illinois (98.9% fluoridated with 19.1% tooth loss),

        Kentucky (99.8%, 23.7%),

        Maine (79.6%, 31.9%),

        New York (72.9%, 17.0%),

        West Virginia (91.7%, 37.8%),

        etc., etc.

        Compare those to Hawaii, which is only 8.4% fluoridated with only 9.6% complete tooth loss.  It shows just how INEFFECTIVE fluoridation is. 

        You can check the data for any state at the following CDC site:

        • DavidAppell

          James: I have already caught you.

          Either you know nothing about statistical analysis, or are misrepresenting the statistics.

          Your “complete tooth loss” numbers are for those 65 or older.

          Why should those be considered representative of a (often recently) fluoridated state?

          For example, Hawaii surely garners a larger than average number of retirees — who are probably wealthier than average. Who therefore probably have less tooth loss than average.

          Correlation does not equal causation. That you pretend not to know this is utterly typical of the kind of lousy science put forth by anti-floridation activists like you.

          • James Reeves

            You can hem and haw all you wish, but we all understand the increased tooth loss over a lifetime for fluoridated citizens. It is just one more indication of the ineffectiveness of fluoride.
            Hawaii is not the only tourist state. How about Florida? Don’t they have wealthier citizens who, despite consuming fluoride, have a much worse outcome than Hawaii.

            Good try.

          • DavidAppell

            I am not hemming-and-hawing at all: I think your statistics are crap, not scientific at all.

            I hardly think your crappy statistics are better than all the many studies from real and honest scientific organizations, like the National Academy of Sciences….

            I think people like you are directly responsible for a lot of suffering, responsible for many kids who are suffering troublesome dental problems because you lie about and distort the evidence. You should be ashamed of yourself.

          • James Reeves

            The statistics are not mine. They are from the CDC.

            In many ways, the fluoride issue is similar to the tobacco issue may years ago. For years, the government, doctors, dentists and others appeared in television ads promoting cigarettes. The truth was known, but the big money side was able to prevent the truth from being spread. The public knows that there is no money to reward any anti- fluoride scientist. The big money comes from the industries selling their toxic waste fluoride to communites instead of having to dispose of it in a safe way. It is uncertain how this supports the national and state groups, but it is certain that the proponent groups have plenty of money to give grants to entice new cities and are able to hire public relations companies to ensure that the truth never surfaces. These companies also act as lobbiests to ensure that the legislators vote their way.

            But, the people are wising up, resulting in proponents losing 80% of elections. Like tobacco, the truth about fluoride is evident and spreading. Everyone should research the facts showing what an outdated and dangerous practice fluoridation is.

    • DavidAppell

      “Hawaii and Utah are the only states where less than 10 percent of the population has access to tap water containing fluoride additives; such water is available only on military bases in Hawaii. As a result, the state’s children have the highest rate of tooth decay in the nation.”

      — Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 3/19/2005

      • Sherwood B. Funnyha-ha

        You and Lars Larson might meet at a fluoride bar where you can express your mutual passions for both fluoride and Walmart.