ballot ballads

Updated: Local Musicians Pick Sides in Fluoride Fight

The Dandy Warhols and other Portland heavy-hitters play a concert to benefit the ballot campaign against fluoridation this Sunday at Rotture/Branx.

By Jonathan Frochtzwajg October 2, 2012

Portland City Council’s approval September 12 of a measure to add fluoride to the city’s drinking water has provoked a torrent of criticism, both from those opposed to fluoridation, period, and from folks who think the question should at least go to a public vote. The odds are good that you’ve already encountered one of the many volunteers presently gathering signatures to get an anti-fluoridation measure on the ballot in 2014.  

Now, Portland’s musicians are entering the fray. A concert this Sunday benefitting the no-fluoride ballot campaign features an impressive lineup of local big-names, including the Dandy Warhols, Y La Bamba, Skip vonKuske (of the Portland Cello Project), Marty Marquis (of Blitzen Trapper), the Builders and the Butchers, and DJ Anjali. Even apparently apolitical bands, like campy surf-rock act Guantanamo Baywatch, are lending their support.

According to its Facebook page, the “Public Water, Public Vote” fundraiser was organized by the Dandy Warhols' Zia McCabe

"This event will...send a message to our government that the artists and citizens of Portland are willing to stand up to them when they are not serving our city and her people they way they should be," McCabe writes on the page.

The show bill for the event indicates it's sponsored by the newly created anti-fluoridation organization Clean Water Portland, the anti-corporate Alliance for Democracy, and, somewhat puzzlingly, Voodoo Doughnut. 

The “Public Water, Public Vote” benefit concert takes place at Southeast Portland clubs Rotture and Branx this Sunday from 1pm to 2am. Bands and DJs will play inside and out (the weather report calls for a sunny 77 degrees in our continuing Indian summer!). The event’s organizers are requesting donations on a sliding scale from $10 to $20. For more information, visit the Clean Water Portland website.

Updated October 3 at 12:30pm: The Dandy Warhols' Zia McCabe, who organized the "Public Water, Public Vote" benefit concert, stressed in an interview with Culturephile today that she, the musicians performing in the show, and the event's sponsors are protesting not fluoridation itself, but the process by which the Portland City Council OK'd it.

"Though I personally may be against putting fluoride in the water, I organized this event to protect democracy on a bigger scale," McCabe said. "There are a lot of pro-fluoride people signing the petition to get the referendum [who] believe we should vote on something like this...[They] understand that at some point, there will be something that they're against, that city council has voted for, and it's gotten so used to voting without us noticing that they won't have a chance to stand up for it, and have their say, and have their vote." 

For more about Portland arts, visit PoMo's Arts & Entertainment Calendar, stream content with an RSS feed, sign up for our weekly On The Town Newsletter, or follow us on Twitter @PoMoArt. Blog content reflects the views of the individual author and not necessarily SagaCity Media, Inc.   

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