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2/18/2017 - The Report of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission on Flint came out yesterday and not surprisingly found that the handling of the crisis suffered from racial bias. Of course Governor Snyder did not have much to say aside from the usual boilerplate. You can read the report HERE.
1/27/2017 - The Detroit News is reporting (mere minutes ago) that evidence is starting to link area Pneumonia deaths to the Flint Water Crisis (in case the evidence hasn't been horrible enough already). 90 people died from pneumonia in 2014 which was a 70% increase from the previous year.
1/18/2017 - Ask anyone nationwide what the biggest news in Michigan was this year, most likely they will respond with either the Election or with the Flint Water Crisis. Ask Governor Rick Snyder what matters most in Michigan and about 34 minutes into his "State of the State address" he will get to Flint and talk about it for only about 2 minutes.
Yes, despite being at the center of a self-created PR disaster around Flint and bungling helping Flint citizens time and time again, Snyder still can't get it together. It isn't only that he only talked about Flint for two-minutes, he talked about Flint as if he were taking a victory tour and as if Flint could be used as a national model for crisis response (he even talked about how replacing the pipes have created 827 jobs - thank goodness we had that H20 problem). Snyder didn't devote one second to address the additional steps that are still needed to solve the Flint Water Crisis. Not one second?
And it gets even worse, instead of taking responsibility, or addressing the very real remaining problems in Flint, Snyder used what happened in Flint to talk up his infrastructure agenda (golly gee, all of Michigan is at risk from faulty pipes, so let's all get to work).
Surreal, absurd, embarrassing. I know a tough nerd who needs to find some empathy. In other news, Elijah Cummings is still trying to get the GOP to subpoena the documents that Snyder has refused to provide to investigators through FOIA and other mechanisms.
1/13/2017 - On January 10th, one day prior to the Flint Town Hall meeting on Water Quality (where the city tried to limit the participation of Flint residents by setting an attendance cap) a separate meeting was held in Chicago between Governor Snyder and the EPA, The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, and researchers like Marc Edwards.
Unfortunately, this meeting was a closed-door "invitation-only" meeting because as the EPA put it, "The summit was not a decision-making meeting and there was no attempt to come up with any consensus opinions. It was an opportunity for scientists who are studying Flint’s drinking water to compare notes and discuss their conclusions about the state of the water system’s recovery."
So, I am wondering why, in the midst of a continuing year-long crisis which has been defined by a lack of transparency, would you refuse entry by the press or choose not to stream the meeting?
I get that the EPA released the discussed data after the meeting, but why in the world would you not allow the citizens of Flint to at least hear what the participants were saying?
1/12/2017 - So, yesterday was the day Flint held its Water Town Hall meeting. Probably the main takeaway was that the Flint Water Treatment plant needs around 100 million dollars of investment and around two years of work before it will be able to treat water again. Years into what seems a never-ending crisis, Flint residents were told to continue to use filters, that it would be three years before all of the lead water service lines would be fully replaced, and that all of the money necessary for the repair efforts has yet to be secured.
On the good side, water quality expert Marc Edwards said that bacteria levels had been significantly reduced in Flint's water. Mr. Edwards, a Virginia Tech researcher, has been a real ally throughout this long ordeal. The attempt at fast replacement of the water lines has been delayed because of lack of funding.
1/9/2017 - Trump's nominee for heading up the Nation's Education efforts hates public education and is for privatizing everything from prisons (disaster) to schools (disaster). Let us not forget that she and her family were behind the group that helped spring "Emergency Managers" on the State of Michigan too as Newsweek elucidated today.
1/4/2017 - Okay I (and many others) are calling an official Shenanigans on the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. First they tried (unsuccessfully thank goodness) to make the upcoming "Town Hall Meeting" about water quality in Flint "invitation only" and now they are capping the event at 300 people. When your decisions have adversely affected 99,000 residents, you should not get to make the rules about how Democracy happens. Given the residents of Flint have spent a year on bottled water and using filters, the least you could do is attempt transparency and humility.
1/3/2017 - MLive made this list (including a video) of developments to look for in the coming year in regards to the Flint H20 crisis. On the list, the ongoing Schuette investigation, the upcoming Water Summit, and the Flint water treatment plant coming back on-line.
12/30/2016 - The movie was called "Roger & Me" and it was Michael Moore's groundbreaking 1989 documentary bringing national attention to Flint after it was abandoned by General Motors (outsourced). Unfortunately, despite Moore's best attempts, Flint fell back into obscurity and despair where it more or less sat until one year ago the water crisis brought it back into the national eye. Regional MLive editor Bryn Mickle is 100% right that we need to make sure Flint never becomes invisible again until its problems are solved (I promise to keep posting here).
12/29/2016 - The controversy over AG Schuette's office signing-off on one of the key documents in their indictment of two Emergency Managers continues to generate controversy, as the Detroit News reported today. Will it turn out to be a case of fire following smoke or end up a tempest in a teapot as Schuette's office suggests?
12/28/2016 - Turns out, according to this Detroit News article, part of Michigan AG Bill Schuette's indictment of two emergency managers was based on documents that his own office signed off on (doesn't surprise me).
12/26/2016 - I missed this excellent piece in Wired about how Flint is just the tip of the iceberg by Ben Paynter.
12/22/2016 - So, as the FREEP reported, the buck clearly stops...with emergency manager appointees when it comes to the Flint Water Crisis. Why hasn't Gov. Snyder implemented the recommendations of his own Flint Water Study? Why doesn't he have to provide all relevant documents to investigators? Demand Change!
12/22/2016 - So, for some insane reason, the Governor is exempt from FOIA requests. Supposedly, the Michigan legislature was supposed to deal with this and it was passed out of the House and died in the Senate. Today, The Grand Haven Tribune suggested it might be time to demand that this change. Given that Governor Snyder has been allowed to not provide documents at both the State and Federal level, demanding change seems a good idea! Write your State Representative today!
12/20/2016 - AG Schuette just handed down indictments against a few more patsy's in the Flint Water Scandal but still nothing directed at Gov. Snyder himself. Schuette concludes in this Detroit News story, that the emergency manager law might be to blame (no!). But my favorite quote of the day was this one from this Wall Street Journal story on the indictments:
"Anna Heaton, a spokesman for Gov. Rick Snyder, who appointed both Messrs. Earley and Ambrose to help fix Flint’s finances, said Tuesday the governor is open to reviewing the emergency-manager law, a recommendation made by a task force he convened on Flint in the fall of 2015."
12/19/2016 Salon.com documents that Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R Utah) has indeed called a close to the committee investigation into the Governor's handling of the Flint Water Crisis. The investigation is closing despite as Salon put it: "without receiving crucial information from Republican Gov. Rick Snyder." Tweet Representative Chaffetz @jasoninthehouse or send his office an email to let him know what you think (especially if you are in Flint).
12/18/2016 The Detroit News put out this new 17 minute documentary from the POV of Flint Residents one of whom said that living in Flint for the last year has been like "being in a war but without violence."
12/16/2016 Okay, so we know that the Congress has decided that it is time for the investigation of the Flint Crisis to end but as MLive explains, it would be hard to say the Congressional Investigation got to the bottom of what happened.
12/16/2016 - Thank Goodness Federal Aid will finally be disbursed to deal with Flint's Water Crisis (I Wonder why Hurricane or Tornado Aid gets disbursed so much faster?) Despite this good news, the GOP is putting it's criminal probe into the Snyder Administration to bed over the strenuous objections of Democrats. Read More.
9/4/2016 So, the legal bills keep growing, especially when you add in the costs of the prosecution of the legal case against Governor Snyder for the Flint debacle. Read More.
9/4/2016 So, the Governor is also part of a long-term trend towards keeping more and more tax money at the State instead of city level, explaining why cities are often left in such Hobbesian situations. Read More.
This is a link to the Flint Benefit Album: Go here to pay first
The need is obvious, great bands, great cause!
Also, ask Gov. Snyder to replace the pipes NOW!