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Water supply, fluoridation motivate Portland Water District candidates

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Water supply, fluoridation motivate Portland Water District candidates

PORTLAND — A one-year seat on the Portland Water District Board of Trustees has attracted two candidates, one with a passion for Sebago Lake and the other an advocate for discontinuing the practice of adding fluoride to drinking water.

Kenneth Levinsky and Oliver Outerbridge are running to replace Matt Sinclair, who moved away from the city with one year left in his three-year term.

Election Day is Nov. 3.  

Kenneth Levinsky

Levinsky, 56, is an education technician at Windham High School and the former human resources and public relations director for a family owned clothing store, Levinsky's.

He said he decided to run for the water district board because he believes it is an important position.

"I have an interest in our water supply," said Levinsky, who is also a freelance sports writer for The Forecaster. "I am a lover of Sebago Lake and proud of our water district's reputation."

Levinsky said he has visited Sebago his entire life, taking advantage of the recreational activities the lake offers. As a college student, he created a miniature watershed model of the lake for a class project.

His experience in business and administration would be a benefit to the board, Levinsky said. He is also interested in helping with the district's educational efforts.

Levinsky, who is married and has two school-age children, lauded the district for making progress in installing remote water meter readers, and for its cooperation with the city of Portland in getting rid of combined sewer overflow pipes.

Oliver Outerbridge

Outerbridge, 48, owns the Bonobo pizza in the West End and is also a holistic health councilor. 

He is a member of Fluoride Leave Our Water, or FLOW, a local grassroots effort to end the practice of adding fluoride to drinking water. 

Outerbridge said the practice leads to diseases, including cancer and thyroid function issues.

The American Dental Association, however, calls fluoridation of drinking water "the single most effective public health measure to prevent tooth decay."

In it's document, "Fluoridation Facts," the ADA offers data meant to debunk the claims of what it calls "a small faction opposed to water fluoridation."  The association says the practice is safe is based on "generally accepted, peer-reviewed, scientific evidence."

"Natural fluoride exists in water," Outerbridge, who is married and has one child, said. "I don't feel medicine should be added to our public water supply."

He said he decided to run because of the fluoride issue and he is interested in learning what else the water district board deals with.

"I am sure it will be interesting and demand attention," Outerbridge said. 

Kate Bucklin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or kbucklin@theforecaster.net