Paul Kangas says he's running for President of the United States in 2008, and part of his platform involves Lithia water. He says if the American people drank a daily dose of Ashland's own mineral water, the crime rate would go down.




"What is the connection between crime and minerals?," he asks in an essay on Lithia water on his Web site. "Counties that have lithium-rich waters have the lowest crime rates in America. People who live in these areas tend to become more educated, more affluent, more calm, families stay together longer and the people live longer."




Lithium is one of the major elements in Ashland's Lithia water. Recognized as a medication to treat bi-polar disorder, Kangas thinks it can be used to make America a more peaceful nation.




"A majority of people in this country have a diet that lacks lithium," he said in an interview on Friday. "It's why the crime rate is so high."




Some, such as the American College of Nutrition in Clearwater, Florida, agree with him.




"Low lithium intakes from water supplies were associated with increased rates of suicides, homicides and the arrest rates for drug use and other crimes," according to the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.




Kangas, who is hoping to capture the Green Party nomination for president, said health care is the nation's most pressing political problem and neither republicans or democrats can be trusted to deal with the issue effectively. He ran for a city supervisor seat in San Francisco in 1976. In 1983 and 1986, respectively, he ran for United States Senate and the House of Representatives as the Peace and Freedom candidate.




"All they will do is give more money to doctors, who will just give us more drugs," he said.




He said the American people should instead focus on preventative medicines, such as supplementing diets with minerals that have become scarce because of overly-intensive farming practices.




"People don't believe in taking vitamins and minerals," he said, noting that he takes 15 milligrams of lithium on a daily basis. "If you are missing one of the 60 minerals the brain requires, you can't operate."




Lithium is one of the minerals he says many people are missing.




"Doctors have tried to turn it into a drug," he said. "They give people 450 milligrams, which is way too much. Just a trace amount is all you need."




The Hermiston native became familiar with Lithia water when he would hitch-hike from the Bay area to his parents' home in Eastern Oregon in the 1960s and '70s.




"Ashland was a big part of my education," he said. "I never saw lithium in water before. It was an eye-opener. I wanted to start a bottling plant. I thought it was odd that it wasn't being sold."




Ashland officials said the water cannot be sold because of the high contents of other minerals in the Lithia water.




But Kangas, who works as a private investigator, said teenagers in trouble with the law could be given Lithia water. "There's a huge market right there," Kangas said.




He plans to come to Ashland in August and hopes to speak at a peace conference at Peace House on August 21, "if they allow me to speak." He also hopes to schedule a meeting with the Ashland City Council, School Board and with the chief of police.




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