Anyone with a smidgen of sense will know that the Flint, Michigan water disaster is the result of some seriously shady behaviors on the part of Governor Rick Snyder and his administration’s trend of finding low-income communities, blaming them for Michigan’s woes, and assigning them “emergency managers” who strip all semblance of democratic power, act as autocrats, liquidate resources in staggeringly wasteful ways, and make far-reaching snap-decisions with no oversight or restrictions. The decision to switch the water source was one of these, an attempt to save a few quick bucks at the cost of undrinkable, actively poisonous water… for which Flint residents are STIll being told to pay.
A brief timeline of the Flint crisis, for those who haven’t been paying attention: in April 2014, in an effort to save money, Flint began drawing its water from the Flint River instead of relying on water from Detroit. The move is supposed to be temporary while the city waited to connect to the new Karegnondi water system, which will be bringing water from Lake Huron. Residents immediately complained about the smell, taste and appearance of the water, and also raised health concerns. Fast forward to the summer of 2014, when three boil-water advisories were issued in 22 days after positive tests for coliform bacteria. October 2014: A General Motors engine plant stopped using Flint water, saying it rusted parts. When heavy industry stops using a source of water due to contamination like that, even the densest should get that something’s wrong. March 27, 2015: Flint officials claimed that water quality had improved and that testing found it meets all safety standards… only they weren’t using the right standards for lead contamination but this wouldn’t be discovered until October. Sept. 24, 2015: A group of doctors urged Flint to stop using the Flint River for water after finding high lead levels in the blood of children. State regulators insisted the water is safe (see the previous comment about standards). Sept. 29, 2015: Gov. Rick Snyder pledges to take action in response to the lead levels. It’s the first acknowledgment by the state that lead is a problem. Notice that it took 18 MONTHS for any actual acknowledgment of a problem to come out of the Governor’s office. It wasn’t until the beginning of this month, January 2016, one and three-quarter’s YEARS after exposure started, that any action was taken. This is plainly a case of incompetence and culpability on the part of the Snyder administration.
But such simple, straight-forward facts couldn’t possibly be accurate! No, no, what we need here is a special investigator to get to the bottom of what REALLY happened… preferably one that knows which side his bread is buttered on.
On January 25th, Michigan’s Attorney General Bill Schuette appointed former Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Todd Flood to lead an investigation into the Flint water crisis, but some are questioning his impartiality due to past political donations, including ones to Governor Rick Snyder. Michigan campaign finance records show Flood donated $3,000 to Snyder during the 2010 and 2014 election cycles. Flood said he had given to both Democratic and Republican candidates. Campaign finance records show he gave $1,200 to former Governor Jennifer Granholm, a Democrat, and also $1,360 to former Democratic Representative Ellen Cogen Lipton. He’s also given to a smattering of local judge candidates. However, in statewide elections, his donations have trended Republican. Aside from Snyder, he gave monetary support for former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Maura Corrigan, who was nominated by Republicans, and $8,350 to former Republican Attorney General Mike Cox. He also gave $13,519 to a PAC associated with Stu Sandler’s Decider Strategies, which lists the Michigan Republican Party among its current and former clients.
Mr. Flood is not currently serving as a public prosecutor or in ANY official state role, which means he’s not accountable to the public in any way. Unless Mr. Flood disclosed his client base, no one would know who might be benefitting of impacting his ability to make tough decisions… including one Republican governor who stands to gain from having a man positively inclined toward him and his party making those decisions and investigations.
The Governor of Michigan has made a hash of his whole time in office, but few of his blunders have been of such epic and damaging proportions. I guess it’s natural that he’d bring in a flunky to whitewash away his culpability in this fiasco, but even in that, he’s made a mess of it. If you’re going to sneakily absolve yourself of blame, it helps if you’re, I dunno, actually SNEAKY about who you appoint. I guess he can’t even get being a dirtbag right.
If you would like to help out the people of Flint, MI, by making a donation to the water fund, we have coordinated with activists on the ground and have come up with two quality charities you can donate to (that unlike GoFundMe will not take a cut of the proceeds):