Michigan Governor’s Race Tests Flint’s Jaded Residents

Many residents are now wary of politicians from both parties and government at large because no one seemed able to mitigate the city’s crisis.


Comments: 57

  1. This is the “new” GOP.

    If you think it is a coincidence that this all happened under a republican governor and we now have GOP lead federal government you have not been paying attention.

    The GOP can swindle and over promise their way into winning elections but they cannot govern.

    They can argue, but they cannot deliver.
    They can complain, but they cannot lead!

    Snyder and DJT are more similar than they are different.

    Vote the GOP out at the local, state and federal levels and you will see positive change.

    Flint simply will not get fixed by a republican. It just won’t!

    Vote 11/6 and in every election you are able!

  2. @Is_the_audit_over_yet

    Remember that the 1% will not agree with you.

  3. I was born in Michigan and have lived her for more than 70 years. In the course of that period I have watched as the Republican party has systematically destroyed this formally great state.

    In fact this race is about more than the Flint water crisis. Since John Engler was governor, the Republicans have used Michigan as the poster child for what they have planned to do in other states and at the national level. Whether it is the destruction of public education (thank you Besty DeVos), our crumbling infrastructure, the tax cuts that were given to businesses creating huge budget deficits, or the failure to protect our most critical resources, our Republican controlled state has failed miserably to serve its citizens.

  4. @James Avery

    Fact: Democrats have run Detroit and Flint for 50+ years.

    Thanks to Democrats, Michigan had some of the highest taxes and most regulations among U.S. states. As a result, GM and Chrysler went bankrupt, increasing taxes on every American. Detroit declared bankruptcy, due to poor management by Democrats.

    Blaming others will not change facts and reality.

    And about water quality -- Mr. Schuette was the first major (R) to call for a hard deadline on fixing Enbridge Line 5 at the Mackinaw Bridge, before Gov. Snyder. He will listen.

    https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2017/06/29/schuett...

  5. @Bang Ding Ow This completely ignores the fact that white flight destroyed Detroit (can't do much when the tax base disappears overnight) and the death of American maufacturing destroyed Flint. I don't think a Republican governance could have stopped the decline of either city

  6. @James Avery

    Trump picked some real winners for his cabinet , like DeVos and Pruitt ( NOT ! ) Betsy
    Devos, Secretary of Education , considered it perfectly proper to choose the former dean of for-profit Devry University, Julian Schmoke ,to lead her department’s section investigating
    possible misrepresentation and fraud at for-profit universities. Devos and Schmoke have taken disturbing steps toward dismantling Obama-era rules requiring for-profits , largely funded through student loans, to show evidence that school graduates , who saddled themselves with hefty debt , could achieve gainful employment in their chosen field.
    Scott Pruitt is a former Oklahoma attorney general who had made a career out of battling the Environmental Protection Agency and clean air rules, and siding with polluters. He became Trump’s pick to head the EPA. He continued to oppose EPA rules, and promoted deregulation. He was undone by his penchant
    for entitlement and government freebies,
    and resigned in the face of several ongoing
    investigations and White House pressure.
    Good riddance ! His replacement, former
    coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler, probably won’t
    be much better.

  7. How sad that the years of GOP control and neglect of the infrastructure of this state now leave voters, like Rev. Martin, feeling like, since government has not helped them, no government can help them, so what's the use of voting. Apathy only serves to preserve the status quo.

    To Rev. Martin, I'd reply that there might not be much that can be done, but your best bet is to do what small thing you can. Vote.

  8. @Glenn S.

    Stone-cold fact: Flint has been run by (D) for 50 years. (D) made the poor decisions that endangered all Michiganians .. (D) like ex-U.S. Rep. John Conyers, forced to "retire" after a sex scandal at age 88, after 54 years in Congress.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/05/us/politics/john-conyers-election.html

    The public knows how poorly the (D) manage tax collections. That's why the (D) can't win elections -- fraud and incompetence are not a good electoral platform.

  9. As the auto industry crumbled so did Flint. It was always Blue Collar it is now No Collar. The state balanced the budget by sharing less with the cities as the tax base of the city was laid off. No wonder there is despair. The fact of the matter is the jobs left and those who could move, moved and what is left are mostly poor and powerless.

  10. I'd like to take issue with the words "keen to cast" the situation as a calamity caused by the Republican state government.
    How else can it possibly be described?

  11. Shame on America. It is a disgrace that in the richest country in the world, a city can be poisoned by its water. And because of politics no less. The Flint fiasco was the direct result of cost cutting measures issued by a Czar (emergency manager) who had been put in a position of autocratic power like that never seen in a democracy before. So this Czar in all his wisdom and grace, decided that Flint could change its long term water supply to a cheaper option. Always the cheaper option. And in the process of this change they poisoned the citizens of Flint. How in the world could this be allowed to happen in the US? What is wrong with us?

  12. @Mike L

    " .. in the richest country in the world .."

    That is wrong. Norway, thanks to oil wealth and thrift, has no debt. Japan has more savings.

    Can't fix problems without facts.

  13. "They poisoned us" refers not only to a man-made crisis but also to murder. Gov. Snyder and his henchmen should be in jail, and in a just society they would be. Once again, the rich and powerful are not held accountable. The reason people don't vote? Check out Michael Moore's new movie, when Obama comes to town

  14. @Mark Rabine Thank you!! Synder and his deplorable henchmen are criminals thugs and a disgrace to humanity. I hope they suffer like the people they poisoned.

  15. When Republicans underfund and neglect basic infrastructure, and poison people the lesson is not: government doesn’t work. The lesson is that Republicans prioritize greed and tax cuts for the wealthy few over the health of well-being of the many.

  16. governor prior to Snyder was jennifer granholm, democrat, who was in office for 8 years. what did she do to maintain/upgrade the infrastructure?

    we need to stop with the party blame game and try and figure out how to work together again. differences of opinion are not right and wrong

  17. Try and try again. Not voting is choosing to be led by those you do not want. Michigan has had some able and committed leaders in the past and can again if YOU will put them in office with your vote!

  18. I don't understand and I don't want to blame the victim...but why do people in Michigan vote republican at all? Isn't doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome a definition of insanity???

  19. @pam
    To answer your question, Michigan has a huge population of mostly rural, or at most small town, white voters previously gainfully employed in the many off-shoot manufacturing companies that supplied parts to the big three auto makers. Those jobs dried up with trade agreements. To this day Republican political aspirants promise that if elected, they will return those jobs from Mexico and from overseas.
    The populace falls for it each year.
    You would like to think that they would figure it out by now.
    Not even close.
    PS. I own a farm there, for any Michiganders who seek to undermine my opinion because of the Chicago address noted above.

  20. @pam
    It's actually the definition of 'stupidity', but insanity works, too.

  21. @Pam

    A large proportion of Michigan's population are conservative Lutherans, Dutch Calvinists, or racists, of both the subtle suburban and Trumpian redneck kind.

    Also, guns.

    I grew up in Michigan.

  22. Schuette pandered shamelessly to the residents of Flint because he believed they would be foolish enough to fall for his stated interest in the water problem to vote for him for Governor.

    At this time, Michigan government is owned by the GOP top to bottom, thanks to unlimited amounts of money and political power from the west side of the state. Let us not forget some of the most egregious gerrymandering of any state helped their efforts.

    Engler destroyed the mental health system and set the course for the disaster Snyder has overseen. Bear in mind, the first thing Snyder did was give 1.6 billion to the richest people and businesses and taxed pensions, and signed in 'right to work' to destroy unions against the will of the voters.

    The GOP made their most onerous goals at thwarting the public will by adding appropriations that render them referendum proof. Some of these were some at last minute lame duck sessions.

    Hopefully, the good folks of Flint will give Whitmer a chance to make positive changes for all of us Michiganders.

  23. @tucker And Engler did that right before winter~! I'll never forget~! We lived in Hamtramck at the time, and the homeless population made up of the mentally ill absolutely skyrocketed~! At the same time, Engler was literally having 24kt gold paint trim to restore the Capitol Building. It was grotesque and I'll never forget it.

    My husband voted for Gretchen via absentee today and I will vote for her (and Dems all the way down the ticket) Nov. 6th. Legalizing weed, getting rid of gerrymandering and automatic voter registration is also on the ballot in Michigan. We should have a huge turnout and be able to right all these wrongs.

  24. To save a little money, we did damage that will cost far more to fix and destroyed people's lives.
    This country is penny wise and pound foolish.
    Tax cuts for the rich don't grow the economy, they hurt the economy.

  25. Since everyone will immediately point to politics, let’s all be aware that Flint was controlled by Democrats for decades, until it was in financial ruin. The State needed to appoint a financial manager to basically run the city. Bad decisions were made on the abrupt change from the Detroit water system to the Flint River, but only those looking to place blame on politics will believe that Gov Snyder was sitting at his desk thinking of ways to “poison” Flint. It’s absurd.

  26. @Midwest Josh Thank you for the GOP talking points. Flint's economic problems are a result of an eroding tax base due to decades of job losses. The "bad decision" was made by Snyder's appointed Emergency Manager, and idiots who didn't follow proper protocols to treat the water. I've never seen anyone say Snyder did this intentionally (red herring), rather that this was a result of gross incompetence and a governing philosophy of austerity without regard to the safety and lives of the people. Period.

  27. @Midwest Josh And during those years, Flint had its problems, but no one died from public health disasters and their coverups. During those times there was "Flint City" pride and the possibility of a good paying job.

    Then GM closed plants, the local economy collapsed, and the emergency manager appointed by Snyder took it from there. Also consider Flint is a Democratic bubble in a Republican county, where many health decisions get made.

    There weren't just "bad decisions" made by Snyder's proxy, there was a systemic cover-up after bad decisions. That is what's so baffling and infuriating. The "geek governor" and his agents followed no common risk management protocols during the whole process, then ignored, lied and ridiculed signs of impending disaster. It was not until health symptoms began appearing that investigation and mitigation began.

    People died and others will live with the health effects forever.

    No one credible thinks Snyder was trying to poison Flint, but his administration is on record for committing prosecutable offenses. He was more than happy to trumpet his management skills, so this is on him and his administration by his own claims.

    Don't ignore the fact that a Republican governor and Republican state house have done little to mitigate the problem in the years following. If you want to boil this down to politics, just look at the total picture. If the Dems did little to prevent it, the Repubs perpetrated, then covered up the crime.

  28. @Midwest Josh @Midwest Josh And during those years, Flint had its problems, but no one died from public health disasters and their coverups. During those times there was "Flint City" pride and the possibility of a good paying job.

    Then GM closed plants, the local economy collapsed, and the emergency manager appointed by Snyder took it from there. Also consider Flint is a Democratic bubble in a Republican county, where many health decisions get made.

    There weren't just "bad decisions" made by Snyder's proxy, there was a systemic cover-up after bad decisions. That is what's so baffling and infuriating. The "geek governor" and his agents followed no common risk management protocols during the whole process, then ignored, lied and ridiculed signs of impending disaster. It was not until health symptoms began appearing that investigation and mitigation began.

    People died and others will live with the health effects forever.

    No one credible thinks Snyder was trying to poison Flint, but his administration is on record for committing prosecutable offenses. He was more than happy to trumpet his management skills, so this is on him and his administration by his own claims.

    Don't ignore the fact that a Republican governor and Republican state house have done little to mitigate the problem in the years following. If you want to boil this down to politics, you have to look at the total picture. If the Dems did little to prevent it, the Repubs perpetrated, then covered up the crime.

  29. Wouldn’t it be reasonable to install reverse osmosis water systems for drinking water in every household in Flint, MI? Reverse osmosis removes metal ions including lead and other chemical contaminants. Whirlpool sells a residential system that costs about $150 to install and less than $200/year to maintain with replacement cartridges. This allows for a 3 gallon storage tank that is constantly refilled as it’s used. This would be more economical and environmentally sustainable then cases of plastic bottles.
    https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/home-water-treatment/household...

  30. @M Perez The pipes were ruined and need to be replaced. Doing anything short of replacing the pipes is a waste of money, imho. They could have been half done by now. It's an absolute disgrace.

  31. No politician gives a hoot for Flint. These politicians are snake-oil salespeople who come around every 4 years with promises to fix everything when elected. Once the elections are over, it's back again to the status quo - doing nothing for Flint! Politicians have nothing in common with Flint residents-period!

  32. Flint does not have a water problem. Flint had and has an infrastructure problem. There was nothing wrong with the water Flint switched to. Failing to properly treat the water allowed lead in the existing plumbing to enter the water supply. Most, but not all, of the lead plumbing belongs to property owners, not the city. Property owners did not replace the dangerous, outdated plumbing because they were too poor to do so. Now the water mains leading up to homes, owned by the homeowners, are being replaced, apparently at government expense. There were lead fittings in the city owned mains, but that was not the primary source of the lead contamination.

    The blood lead levels of the people of Flint were lower than I had as a child growing up in the 1960s. That almost all children growing up in urban areas were exposed to, routinely. Adults were exposed to the same contamination.

    https://labblog.uofmhealth.org/body-work/study-examines-blood-lead-level...

    In the 1970's amidst great howling, we removed lead from gasoline, thereby greatly reducing everyone's blood lead levels. Lead exposure today is primarily due to poverty. Old plumbing and old lead-based paints.

    The NY Times approach to this story is misleading. How we as a society protect our water, our air, our entire environment is central to the turmoil we suffer with as a nation. We are not doing a good job protecting poor people in this nation. Ignoring root causes is not helpful.

  33. @Michael H. You are mistaken, if not lying. While it is true that lead in the tap water came from lead pipes, this wouldn’t have happened had the authorities not failed to treat the water with corrosion inhibitors - the water was acidic. The equivalent of an alka seltzer would have prevented it. The switch from Detroit River and Lake Huron to Flint River water was just about money.

  34. This remains a national disgrace and yet the trump administration keeps moving forward with easing environmental restrictions including on coal which airborne fills the air, streams and lakes with mercury, lead and nitrogen oxides. Mercury contaminates all that "Michigan Pure" water to the point that the fish are unfit to eat. Doesn't anyone in government care about anything anymore other than power.

  35. Dear good people of Michigan

    Vote vote vote
    Never miss an opportunity

    Don’t vote for those that poisoned your family and destroyed your home

  36. @Deirdre *applause* My husband voted today. I wish I could have - I can't wait~!

  37. Lead, and now PFAS worries in many communities. Which candidate is carrying and drinking Flint water as they campaign? Water from other suspect sites?

    Aside from the blame games, which candidate is talking realistically about taxes to fix all these problems of infrastructure? Explaining the difference between regressive and progressive taxes, sin taxes, and the share of taxes born by individuals, small business and corporations? Which candidate is asking when this president, this Congress is going to do something about infrastructure problems every state has- oh, guess any funding for that went to the tax breaks for that 1%- that is not drinking Flint water.

    And for heaven sakes- surely after four years, reusable water bottles, thermos jugs, tanks...a water truck- should have replaced those plastic water bottles.

  38. While we need unions, is it possible that the auto workers union had grown so strong that its demands became unrealistic ... such that when the federal government passed NAFTA, naively thinking that we could help Mexico, without hurting our own economy, the auto companies quickly moved many manufacturing plants away from places like Flint with its powerful unions to Mexico?

    Isn’t it possible that the Michigan GOP was willing to ignore regulations (not understanding the reasons they were needed) so the state could save money and present itself as business-friendly, in an attempt to attract new businesses and jobs to Michigan?

    Some see a fine line between paying workers fair wages and having safety regulations, and being business-friendly

    Rather than trying to cast more blame on one party or the other, our country needs to cut back on the money we give other countries (especially since much of our aid money goes into the pockets of corrupt officials. See the 7/9/15 Buzzfeed article “Ghost Students, Ghost Teachers, Ghost Schools on how our money meant to build schools in Afghanistan disappeared. Or read the 4/3/14 NY Review of Books article “Murder in Uganda” on how aid money meant for children’s vaccines, schools, hospitals, road building and forestry projects went into the pockets of government officials.). We need that money here at home. We need to help cities like Flint replace their corroded plumbing and to rebuild much of our own infrastructure.

  39. @ann NO. Rich people are starving the working class. The last thing we need are the unions to lose power. Their wages set the pace for everyone and everyone is already working at a loss while rich people rake in tax breaks.

  40. all it would take to fix the water problem is for a couple of our esteemed billionaires to pony up using the $$$ they have reaped from the tax cuts.

    Sad that folks in an American city can't drink the water. very sad.

  41. The residents of Flint and have a low voter turnout rate. They don’t even exist to politicians.

  42. If the people of Flint haven't yet figured out that republicans don't care about them, then there's not hope for them.

  43. Snyder and his administration are responsible for Flint, not “both parties”. They ignored the problem and lied to the EPA. At least one of them is being tried for manslaughter. Snyder skated on that charge. Republicans are on their way out in Michigan.

  44. Liberals get blamed for not protecting Flint’s citizens, with particular infamy reserved for federal EPA water experts who fell somewhere on a spectrum from dereliction of duty to outright felonies. Don’t liberals support using government resources to protect and serve the people? Where where those forces for “good” during this crisis?

    At the same time, conservatives manage to achieve win after win.

    First, they spend years poisoning the rhetorical well that government is bad. Ronald Reagan, who by the way was actually president, repeatedly said: “The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help.”

    But rhetorical attacks are only the warmup. The second act features starving government programs meant to serve the public so they fail to achieve their goals. It’s not just Flint. Every community has public school teachers who spend an average of $479 each year on classroom supplies—materials that should be provided by the school system (Edweek.org, May 15, 2018).

    Finally, conservatives can point with “evidence" that government is the problem and needs to be reduced. Or in the words of Grover Norquist, "I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.”

    Of course, government fails because it’s too frail.

    It's long past time to redress these wrongs and reclaim government by and for the people.

    November is coming.

  45. @David Potenziani Nevermind the fact that liberals were not in power when this happened? Nevermind the fact that when "conservatives" are in power and say "win after win" it's usually code for decimating our environment.

    November may be coming, but my husband already cast his vote for Dems. We deserve at least a chance that things could be fixed and saved from the clutches of so-called conservatives.

  46. Why should the residents of Flint believe anything the lying governor says. He poisoned them and their children. He's a despicable human being who should suffer the consequences of his actions.

  47. The Flint disaster has been going on so long we forget who was U.S. president in 2014 when the disaster began to unfold. Criminality and incompetence knows no party affiliation, gender, race, age, or place of origin.

  48. Gee, and here Republicans keep telling us that such things ought to be left to the states. Odd how you guys flip and flop on your principles, cheerfully trimming those sails as the breezes blow...

    But wait. Golly, I’m being unfair. No doubt I missed the part where upon taking office, Trump stepped in to solve the problem.

  49. The President didn't appoint the emergency manager - the governor did. The State government managers ignored all of the warnings from local health department and environmental front line workers who saw it happening in real time. The only reason the State got involved was because national news organizations talked about it. General Motors switched to different water supplies when their machines started seizing up with Flint's water a whole year before the State a knowledged the issue.

  50. Can you imagine this happening in Ann Arbor, where we live and drink-- water! Our water is passable, not chemical or lead free as is the case with most municipalities, but it it is not poison. Snyder lives at the corner of Main Street and Washington Street here in Ann Arbor, in a lovely brick townhouse. And he drinks our water. And hasn't set foot in Flint.

  51. Unlike preachers and politicians, prostitutes do not hypocritically pretend to be honorable, humble, humane and empathetic. The people of Flint were the victims of failure at every level of theology and government. Neither those who claimed to represent Caesar nor God cared about them and their plight. Neither man nor woman can live without clean fresh drinking water.

  52. I was amazed the incumbent governor was in a close race after years of basically poisoning children on his watch. He should have been ousted then. His appointees turned a blind eye and then the cover up and finger pointing. I remember listening to Gov. Scott's press conference, a man with zero accountability.

    Maybe Gretchen Whitmer won't be the savior they need but not voting will definitely make it worse. Every single person who cares about safe drinking water for their children needs to send a strong message by ousting those responsible, not sit back in anger. That does absolutely nothing except continue the same blind policies. Voting is still the best solution; only then do politicians listen.

  53. There is a simple, fail-safe test that will definitively determine if the Flint water supply is potable. Let’s call the test “The Flint Freshwater Challenge.” Have the Flint water activists contact the Michigan governor, the officials in his administration responsible for resolving the crisis, especially those who assured residents that the water is now safe to use, and the two gubernatorial candidates standing for election next month. Then ask them to spend three days living with a Flint family in each neighborhood touched by the crisis and actually using the water. Of course, the Michigan officials will be responsible for their own food and non-water beverages. They can sleep on the couch. And, this is important, the officials are not allowed to use bottled water during the three-day test. Have the activists contact the local newspapers and television stations so they can send reporters and camera-persons to report on and film the officials drinking the water, using it to maintain oral hygiene, and showering over the three-day test period. (Camera-persons, we need video of the officials standing in running water behind a shower curtain). I’m confident that the national media will also want to send reporters to cover this event. Do you think Michigan’s officials will take “The Flint Freshwater Challenge”? I’m pumped to find out.

  54. Flint's citizens will never have redress until the rot is voted out from top down.