Flint 1/21/16

On the Flint disaster:

In sum: The Democratic government of a Democratic city destroys that city’s finances so thoroughly that it must go into state receivership; a Democratic emergency manager signs off on a consensus plan to use a temporary water source; the municipal authorities in that Democratic city responsible for treating and monitoring drinking water fail to do their job; a state agency whose employees work under the tender attention of SEIU Local 517 fails to do its job overseeing the local authorities; Barack Obama’s EPA, having been informed about the issue, keeps mum. Republican scandal.

43 Responses

  1. why do you want poor black children to drink lead, bagger?

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    • In Galt’s Gulch, everyone buys the cleanest water they can afford from the multiple competing water utilities based on their desired lifespan and what IQ they want their children to have.

      Seriously, are we arguing whether or not clean and safe water is a core function of government?

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      • I don’t think so. We’re debating what the actual problem is, and the problem is not “Elect a Republican governor and get lead poisoning in your drinking water”. Ultimately, the problem is more structural that “hey, let’s save money by poisoning children” and easy-to-make errors that were not audited at the time. The argument from many on the left seems to be that despite Democrats at every level having their fingerprints over every part of the process (and the very existence and nature of the processes involved), this never would have happened if a Republican wasn’t the governor now, and it’s just not the case.

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      • Yes.

        Do you believe the government is demonstrating competence in what you believe to be its core function?

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      • yello:

        Seriously, are we arguing whether or not clean and safe water is a core function of government?

        They way I read nova’s post, he is questioning why the deficiencies of Democratic run governments are portrayed as a Republican scandal. I don’t see anything about whether or not clean/safe water is a core function of government.

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      • No. It just might be that when you forgot your core functions in service of some other goal mistakes like this happen.

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    • Because I’m a proud member of the Acadamy of Motion Pictures.

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    • “why do you want poor black children to drink lead, bagger?”

      But we also want the roads to be safe when it snows! What to do, what to do.

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  2. Paging Nova at the Plum Line… You’re on

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  3. i’m taking some time off from the PL. i’m leaving the firm and don’t want to start my new job mad.

    tomorrow was supposed to be my last day, but i’ve got crap to do and it’s apparently the apocalypse. but feel free to take that and watch them dismiss it not due to the content, but the character who wrote it .

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  4. You broke you bought it.
    The fish rots from the head.
    The bucks stops here.
    If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

    This is what it means to govern. Taking responsibility.

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    • Or not saying stupid things in public. But the idea that people in power should take responsibility for things that are not really their responsibility in any real sense of the word and that this is somehow more important (well, really, it’s assigning blame to the tribe we don’t like that’s more important) than identifying what caused the problem, fixing it, and deciding what we do in the future. To me, Snyder seems mostly guilty of making stupid pronouncements and not taking the problem seriously enough once the evidence started to come in, even though even that is somewhat understandable, at least to some point.

      Realistically, when you’re the most visible person, you should expect to take the blame when a very visible crisis occurs. Irrespective of your involvement or any realistic ability to prevent or identify it ahead of time.

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    • yello:

      This is what it means to govern. Taking responsibility.

      So when do you think Obama will step up and take responsibility?

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    • “This is what it means to govern. Taking responsibility.”

      HA!

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  5. Glossing over just a few details, aren’t we?

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  6. The reason it’s a Republican issue is because the Republican Governor, Rick Snyder, rejected multiple newly publicly voted in persons and replaced them with those oh HIS choosing; and HIS people did what HE wanted. ALL FACTS. Not very democratic; more of a Republican dictatorship.

    And… Hi everyone! Hope all are doing fine!

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    • OH AND… HE just signed a bill in December that worries many:
      The legislation was the last bill to pass the Legislature in December, growing at the last minute from a non-controversial bill that had passed the Senate unanimously at 13 pages, into a totally revamped 53 pages that was passed with no public hearings and with only Republican votes.
      The bill prohibits local officials from publicly discussing ballot proposals or millage issues in the 60 days leading up to an election. It has been blasted by municipal and school district officials as an official state “gag order” and a violation of free speech.

      Like I said; a dictatorship via a Republican governor.

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      • Sorry, meant to include this too:
        Also in the bill is a provision that allows candidates to shift campaign money from one election cycle to another to pay off debt from a previous election cycle. The provision effectively doubles campaign finance limits just a year after the limits already were doubled by the Legislature.

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    • “The reason it’s a Republican issue is because the Republican Governor, Rick Snyder, rejected multiple newly publicly voted in persons and replaced them with those oh HIS choosing; and HIS people did what HE wanted.”

      In order to poison the drinking water with lead, because that’s such a great idea because . . . evil?

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      • The water source was changed because Snyder didn’t want to continue paying Detroit for their water; water from river MUCH cheaper. I guess he didn’t bother to find out why no one else took water from the river.
        Evil? Yes and no. Evil for his dictatorship. Just plain STUPID on the water issue. Doesn’t help that he denied water problem until the news went nationally; a year later.

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      • Also, if properly treated, the Flint water wouldn’t have been a problem. Or if all the pipes had not been lead, something that could have been addressed by numerous Democratic mayors and governors over the years (some municipalities have addressed lead pipes and replaced them). The problem seems to have been primarily run-off from salting the roads, and the untreated water from the Flint river would actually be healthier for you (well, if boiled first) than the Flint water sent through the lead pipes, after it had leached the lead out.

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      • The pipes aren’t lead–at least, not the supply pipes. It’s the solder.

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      • The problem seems to have been primarily run-off from salting the road

        And. . . no.

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        • Mich:

          And. . . no.

          Personally I would find it helpful if you explained. If what Kevin says is wrong, what exactly is wrong, and why?

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  7. American Mima: “The water source was changed because Snyder didn’t want to continue paying Detroit for their water; water from river MUCH cheaper.”

    I don’t live in Flint, but from what I’ve been able to find looking into the issue, the plan to move from Detroit dates back to well before Snyder, and (for obvious reasons) more relevant to to Flint politicians, and of course they wanted to pay less for water. Why would Snyder, the governor of Michigan, care about a transfer of money from Flint to Detroit?

    Also, the plan was not to get water from the river. They ended up going to the river because when they let Detroit about what their plan to move a pipeline (not yet complete) to a closer municipality, Detroit (Democratic mayor) issued them a cutoff notice, indicating Detroit would cut off their water supply before the new water supply was online. As such, an interim water supply had to be tapped, and there weren’t many options, and the option chosen was the Flint river. The Emergency manager and the Democratic administrator of Flint signed off on that, and as far as I’ve been ably to tell Snyder wasn’t involved. And it gets more complicated from there, as the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality was not running the correct protocols for testing and treating the water, and the city (and presumably the Emergency Manager and Snyder, to whatever degree he was involved) were moving forward with the idea that the treatment and testing criteria were incorrect.

    But, more to the point, there is an obvious logical problem with the idea that the Republican governor wanted to move Flint from Detroit to the Flint river, given that both cities are in Michigan and he’s the governor of the entire state, not of Flint. There is no advantage to the governor’s office to save Flint money while taking it away from Detroit.

    And plenty more details. Most of them pointing to bureaucratic mismanagement, the whole fallacy of “Emergency Managers” from outside coming in and taking over the city, and so on. Some of which Snyder can certainly be said to be behind. But it was not Snyder’s idea of switch Flint’s water supply to the river (never meant to be a permanent solution by anyone), nor did the water supply switch that Snyder sign off on originally include the Flint river, but a pipeline to Lake Huron. The people primarily responsible would seem to be the Department of Environmental Quality, the Democratic mayor of Detroit and the Democratic administrator of Flint, and Snyder only really comes into the loop when apparently not disclosing publicly information he was aware of late in the game, or taking action quickly enough when it became clear the Flint water supply was poisoned with lead.

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    • Kevin,
      Please tell me at what point Snyder gets a pass with no responsibility of this devastating error?
      Democrats are being blamed? Might check who each person involved got their position. Remember, Snyder used a piece of legislation, which was done under him, that allowed him to REJECT public popular vote winners and then just choose who HE wanted. I REPEAT; this is why it’s a Republican issue. And Detroit being blamed? It was Snyder who decided to RUSH, without making the right decision to actually, really test the water first before flipping the switch, completely not thinking of unintended consequences. Detroit didn’t make that decision. And who has tried very hard to cover it up? Detroit or Snyder?
      I’m sure we will all have very much needed answers as soon as Snyder, and his accomplices, provide emails from 2013, when all the decision making occurred; 2014 & 2015 emails have been provided; which already show Snyder denying ANY problem or mistakes. That is until just recently, now that everyone knows. And water testing results, which were provided to Snyder were then ‘modified’ to show different results. Emails have already proven Snyder knew about the modifications and worked to cover them up.
      Most people are now aware of Snyder’s dictatorship and how he had gone about to do what he wishes, how he wishes and when he wishes. He really should resign. It worries me that some are so eager to defend him & blame his puppets instead. They should ALL begone with new leaders.

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      • Where did I say Snyder gets a pass? He does not not. But neither should anybody else involved, or the processes or procedures that led to it. Everything should be looked at objectively in order to prevent this sort of thing from ever happening again, not just used as a war cry to establish tribal supremacy against the Evil Other.

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    • The Federalist had a good, relatively even-handed article on Flint the other day.

      http://thefederalist.com/2016/01/19/hillary-clinton-cant-blame-michigans-governor-for-flints-water/

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      • BTW, I very much agree with nova from earlier today:

        It just might be that when you forgot your core functions in service of some other goal mistakes like this happen.

        One of the practical implications of government trying to solve all problems is that it makes it a lot harder for government to solve the problems it actually can and exists to solve. Another reason to lament the political and cultural success that the left has enjoyed in the last 100 years.

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      • I agree that that is a pretty even-handed summary of the events as I’ve pieced together from a variety of sources. He specifically points out that the city council was a rubber-stamp for the EM as they had no authority of their own. The use of Flint River water as a stop-gap was incredibly ill-advised and the foot dragging after the problems arose is inexcusable. However, what is really telling is how callous and dismissive the official responses were. It’s odd that the very first e-mail voluntarily released by the governor is redacted in its entirety. I expect its contents to come out in court.

        One of my Facebook ‘friends’ whom I have never met in person is a personal injury lawyer in Michigan and he has been ranting for years at the destruction to civic structure that Snyder and the Michigan Republican legislature has been sowing.

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        • yello:

          …and he has been ranting for years at the destruction to civic structure that Snyder and the Michigan Republican legislature has been sowing.

          I don’t know much about Michigan as a whole, but it is hard to imagine the “civic structure” being any more destroyed than that of Detroit, and that destruction is due pretty much exclusively to decades of Democratic monopoly control. 1962 to the present.

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        • pretty much exclusively to decades of Democratic monopoly control. 1962 to the present.

          The hollowing out of America’s industrial base by short-sighted bean counters running the US auto industry into the ground oblivious to the threat from higher quality foreign competitors doesn’t count any?

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        • yello:

          The hollowing out of America’s industrial base by short-sighted bean counters running the US auto industry into the ground oblivious to the threat from higher quality foreign competitors doesn’t count any?

          That can count for some economic challenges. But the failure of the city to deal with those, and other, challenges, resulting in the destruction of the civic structure lies squarely at the feet of the politicians who let it happen.

          Earlier someone here said that “This is what it means to govern. Taking responsibility.” Do you think that is true?

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  8. More (really need to read it all, and also assume if a person isn’t specified as a Republican then they are probably a Democrat ):

    http://www.vox.com/2016/1/20/10789810/flint-michigan-water-crisis

    Ultimately, it blames Rick Snyder for appointing the emergency managers (while never saying explicitly the problem is the state appointing emergency managers to come rule city’s with quasi-dictatorial powers in the first place, not the party affiliation of the person who appoints them). It also mentions but never seems to want to point out that that the EPA (of which Rick Snyder has no control), or Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality done their job, this would not have happened.

    Also, doesn’t point out that none of this would have happened had Detroit not issued the cut off notice to Flint in the first place.

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    • The EQ did their job. That’s the report Snyder’s admin/puppets changed the numbers. Just like Snyder told the physician testing the kids that her results were wrong and even had those results changed, including removing some entirely, those with highest amounts of lead, And that was done a year ago.
      I’m done here. I simply cannot understand how all the evidence showing Snyder’s involvement in the whole mess, including coverup, gets a big fat pass by so many of you. And even to the point of easily overlooking his dictatorial actions. Seems the only thing important here is The Democrats and Detroit are to blame. Sad, very sad.
      Good luck all

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      • ” simply cannot understand how all the evidence showing Snyder’s involvement in the whole mess, including coverup, gets a big fat pass by so many of you.”

        Because you’re mostly setting up strawmen? And don’t want to look at it in any other way than Republicans intentionally doing terrible things to make terrible things happen because they are terrible?

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    • Basically, democrats have run MI forever… they are desperate to claim that (a) they aren’t at fault and (b) government works. They have to go all-in on the idea that Governor Burns wants the black children of Springfield poisoned.

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  9. And all that being said, Flint is hardly alone in it’s environmental lead problems:

    http://www.vox.com/2016/1/19/10790534/lead-soil

    Damn stuff is everywhere!

    “Brooklyn, it turns out, is basically a gigantic toxic wasteland.”

    And it’s not just a metaphor!

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  10. ““Brooklyn, it turns out, is basically a gigantic toxic wasteland.””

    Aw, those Park Slope millionaires and the hipsters in Williamsburg must be disappointed…

    Like

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