By Terrance Heath
I was reminded of Flint, Mich., where the Republican-dominated government, “run like a business,” left the citizens disenfranchised and dealing with discolored, foul-smelling water, contaminated with E. coli, other coliform bacteria, Legionnaires’ disease bacteria — and lead. This month marks two years since a decision made in the name of “fiscal responsibility” ultimately led to Flint’s lead-contaminated water, when the city’s water source was switched from the Detroit water system to the Flint River. When the city council heeded citizens’ concerns and voted to switch back to the Detroit water system, the city’s state-appointed “emergency manager” simply vetoed the decision. For 18 months, governor Rick Snyder’s administration dismissed the residents’ complaints, while supplying state workers with bottled water.
On Wednesday, a judge in Flint authorized charges against three officials involved in the water crisis. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced criminal changes against state officials Stephen Busch and Michael Prysby, and city employee Michael Glasgow. Busch and Prysby work for the state’s Department of Environmental Quality, and Glasgow is Flint’s water quality supervisor. All three are charged with tampering with evidence, as well as misconduct, neglect of duty and violating Michigan’s Safe Drinking Water Act.
Conspicuously absent from the criminally charged, in the minds of some, were Flint’s emergency managers Ed Kurtz, who signed the agreement to switch water systems; Darnell Early, who rejected the city council’s vote to return to Detroit’s water system; and governor Rick Snyder, who claims to have been entirely unaware of the disaster unfolding on his watch.
Flint resident Nakia Wakes, who believes Flint’s contaminated water cased her to have two miscarriages, called the charges “only a start.” She told CNN, “I won’t rest until the governor is charged.”
Continue reading: Truth And Consequences in Flint, And Beyond