Flint Water Crisis Update

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Dennis Sanders

Dennis Sanders is the Associate Pastor at First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Minneapolis, MN.  You can follow Dennis through his blogs, The Clockwork Pastor and Big Tent Revue and on Twitter.  Feel free to contact him at dennis.sanders(at)gmail(dot)com.

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85 Responses

  1. Avatar Kazzy says:

    Thanks, Dennis. Very helpful to get a nuanced and accurate report on the matter.Report

  2. Avatar Slade the Leveller says:

    I have to admit that I find Mr. Sanders’ continued defense of Gov. Snyder mystifying. A year of willful neglect, and now we should pat him on the back for trying to take care of a problem that never should have existed in the first place? Further, Snyder is congratulated for doing the same thing that celebrities are castigated for: bringing in safe drinking water and providing filters.

    What efforts have been made to entice Craig Newmark to do business in Flint? Companies like Craigslist are not just going to say, Hey! Here’s a downtrodden place that could some financial uplift. Let’s relocate to this bankrupt city with crumbling infrastructure, with a populace with high wage expectations, and see if we can make a go of it. Incentives need to be put in place, and it’s only government that can provide them.

    Perhaps Snyder’s administration is going balls to the wall with efforts such as these. I don’t know because I don’t live in Michigan, but I’m going to guess not.

    Let’s not try to soft pedal what has been an epic failure of a government to provide one of its most basic services, clean water.

    Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      We can actually assume the celebrities aren’t logistics experts, and are doing the “first thing that occurs to them”. Without coordination and logistical knowhow, disaster relief tends to be rather idiotic. (This can also be read as “It’s the state’s job, let them do it”)

      Of course, the State’s response here is CYA for kids who are already dead, they just don’t know it yet.

      Perhaps radiation would have been kinder? At least that’s a quicker death.Report

    • Avatar Kolohe says:

      “Let’s not try to soft pedal what has been an epic failure of a government to provide one of its most basic services, clean water. ”

      There’s nothing inherently governmental about water utilities, even though publicly owned and operated ones are the majority in the US.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

        This is true. Water utilities tend to be a duty of municipal governments for various reasons, but providing running water is not some inherent duty of government. Otherwise government would be on the hook for drilling wells for homes built outside of municipal networks.

        I still haven’t seen anything explaining who made the decision to not treat the river water?Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        Considering that governments have taken it upon themselves to provide water to their citizens, people, subjects since at least antiquity for a variety of reasons, I’d argue that providing clean water is one of the most basic services of government. The idea that government should provide material services and utilities for it’s citizen is actually rather old.Report

      • Likewise, while there are places where fire departments are non-governmental, I don’t think that’s particularly relevant while discussing a municipal fire department that’s been taken over by its state government, which decided to save money by purchasing papier-mache hoses.Report

      • Avatar Francis says:

        “There’s nothing inherently governmental about water utilities”.

        Yes, actually it is inherently governmental. The reasons include: (a) delivering retail water is a classic monopoly, because no one is going to pay to run a competitive line to each house; (b) most voters feel that potable water should be provided universally within the utility’s service area; (c) financing local water infrastructure is complicated and tends to need the backing of taxpayers or obligated ratepayers; (d) financing regional water infrastructure has even more complex issues of financing and free-riding.Report

        • Avatar Michael Cain says:

          We managed — for the most part — to get by with the private sector providing electricity, telephone service, and cable television under the same kinds of conditions.Report

          • Avatar Francis says:

            All of which (in California and, I’ll bet, in your state) are regulated utilities. A regulated utility is a lot of things (most of them not terribly complimentary) but “private sector” is most certainly not on the list.

            When your business plans (and profits!) have to be approved by a bunch of commissioners who are appointed by the state government, following public notice and comment, you don’t get to call yourself ‘private sector’.Report

        • Avatar Lyle says:

          If you add sewer to the water (which is done in most communities) then you do have a public health reason for providing the infrastructure, see the Ghost Map for details on a 19th century outbreak in London. But in most places with public infrastructure it is water and sewer combined.Report

        • Avatar Kolohe says:

          There is a significant public interest, but the fact that a good many of them are operated by people not directly employed by the state means that the service is not inherently governmental. (Which, as you probably know, is also a term of art, at the federal level, in determining what can be contracted out and what must be done by GS peeps)Report

    • Avatar Dennis Sanders says:

      Slade,

      First off, it is no secret that I like the governor, but I’ve also held him accountable as well. A lot of the media reports have been focused soley on the governor. While that is part of the story, it isn’t the whole story. What happened in Flint happened because of a lot of little errors that led to one big one. It was a chain reaction and not the machinations of a Republican governor.

      As to your complaint about his letting people know what water he’s given, I share that because people and especially some in the media have given the immpression that the governor hasn’t done much. No, it’s not more than what celebrities are doing, but it is something that government should be doing and he is doing it.

      I am from Michigan orginally and my hometown is Flint. I still keep up with things in Michigan and I can say that the state government is doing a lot. It could have done it earlier, but it is doing it.

      Finally, yes government can provide incentives for businesses to move to cities. But frankly, governments have been doing things to help rust belt cities like Flint for decades and the results have been poor. Government needs to provide infastructure, but for that to happen, you also need tax revenue which means you need business and people. If you don’t have that, then you aren’t going to get the roads and sewers that are needed for a thriving city.

      Flint is my hometown, so I know this is an epic failure of government, not just the state, but local officials and the federal government as well.

      This is not a simple “Republicans-don’t-care-about-government” story. It would do you well to read and learn more.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        The Fed complains that Detroit is a vast expanse of sprawl.
        Are we compelled to pay for other people’s stupidity, even if we put it under the heading “infrastructure”?Report

      • Avatar Slade the Leveller says:

        From Who Poisoned Flint, Michigan?

        The transfer from Detroit to Flint water was just another bottom-line move. Flint was switching over in 2017 to a new pipeline that would serve the middle of the state with water from Lake Huron. (The city council cast a symbolic 7-1 vote in favor of the new pipeline. The state would later try to use this as a protective fig leaf to claim the city had approved drinking river water.) Detroit’s emergency manager asked the state to intervene in the switch, and when that failed, the utility told the city of Flint that its contract would be terminated in one year. The problem then was what to do between 2014 and 2017. Snyder’s Flint emergency managers – four cycled in and out like scrubs in an AAU hoops game – chose the Flint River rather than renegotiating with the petulant Detroit water utility. The initial results were not promising. One resident described her water to me as “the color of morning pee.” When an aide to [state Sen. Jim] Ananich complained to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, she says she was told, “It’s called the Clean Drinking Water Act, not the Tasty Drinking Water Act. We’re doing our job.” Acceptable water standards had become a fungible term in Flint.

        Let’s not forget that Lansing was aware of complaints a full year before the story broke nationwide. If the state government wants to take responsibility for governing one of its subunits, then it has to take governing seriously, which means doing more than making sure the budget is balanced at the end of every year.Report

        • Avatar Dennis Sanders says:

          It’s also important to note that the complaints were about the color and smell of the water. The lead complaints came later. Not that the state shouldn’t have taken the complaints even then.

          Part of the problem that you are exemplifying is looking at this only from an ideological viewpoint. You can argue that ideology has its place in the argument, but there are other factors at work. It’s easy to look at this as nothing more than Republicans who only care about the government or are racist or what have you. I also think it’s too easy to come at this from a conservative viewpoint that blames Democratic policies. Ideology might play a role, but a lot of what happened was more bureaucratic than ideological. But there are a number of issues going on here as I’ve explained.

          I will also add that the media hasn’t done a good job of totally explaining this situation, leaving out certain things or trying to get things to fit into wild theories.

          There is a lot to be mad about. But it is not so easy as “let’s be mad at Republicans.”

          I don’t expect you to agree and that’s fine. But I wish you were willing to take into account that things are not so simple as black vs. white hat.Report

          • Avatar Kim says:

            When you’ve got a systemic problem that you can’t fix because you broke it that fucking badly, sure, pull up all the floorboards and find all the problems.

            Mind you, I expect Republicans to be doing that just as much as Democrats (playing the two against each other is fine, particularly on small matters, but… we just lost a city’s worth of children. that’s no longer “who screwed up the 9-11 calls?”).Report

          • Avatar Slade the Leveller says:

            I most certainly am not approaching this from an ideological viewpoint, and I don’t really see where you’re getting that from what I wrote. My ideology is sound government. The Republican led state government appointed a city manager to run the affairs of a city that democratically elected people to run it, no doubt Democrats. If you’re going to usurp power then you’d better be good at what you do. In this case, the only thing that changed was the party of the people mismanaging Flint.Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

            There is a lot to be mad about.

            Mad…at who?

            If you are asserting that we all should be mad, just not at the governor, or mayor, or city council, or emergency manager, or legislature, then who should we direct our fury at?
            The Goddess of Fortune?

            Or are you saying that this was the fault of no one in particular, but each had a small portion of blame?

            Of course that’s what happened. That’s what happens in every single catastrophe, always and everywhere. Every plane crash, train derailment, ship sinking, battlefield loss, bridge collapse is always the result of a confluence of factors, a sequence of events which needed to align perfectly.

            Always!

            Yet we create chains of command and metrics of responsibility and organization charts, precisely to assign responsibility and blame.

            This is what the word “accountability” means- so we can know who is to account for what outcome.

            Someone was in charge of all these nuanced details, someone was at the tip of the organization pyramid, someone sat at a desk and had all those dozens of people reporting to them.

            I swear to God, this is what caused me to become a conservative back in the 1970s, when I saw things like this and heard nothing but dull bureaucratic buck passing, and thought to myself, “if this were a business, heads would roll- but in gummint, they just pass the buck”.Report

          • Avatar Kim says:

            Dennis,
            if you’re getting complaints about the color of the water…
            Well, I don’t know Flint, but I do know pittsburgh. When the power goes off, our water runs red with rust. (I suppose they’re using an electromagnet to pull the rust out the rest of the time).

            Wouldn’t you worry?

            We have Multiple Complaints of things Going Dreadfully Wrong, including a boil advisory, before the lead was found. At some point, someone ought to have gotten sacked. Even GM was pulling out of using city water, for god’s sakes! And they weren’t drinking it!Report

            • Avatar Cid22 says:

              Actually only the engine plant pulled out because of the high chlorine (added by the Flint Water Treatment later) in the water as it was rusting the engine parts…the other two locations stayed on the same system as everyone else.Report

      • Avatar Francis says:

        “I’ve also held him accountable as well”.

        No, you haven’t. Only the voters and the US Attorney’s office have that power. At best you’ve written extraordinarily mild criticisms that do a fine job of sharing the blame around.Report

        • Avatar Damon says:

          No, “at best”, he’s provided a much more accurate and nuanced view of the complex situation that lead to this crisis and identifying those who are to blame for each part of the issues…something not presented in the mass media anywhere. And that’s exactly what he’s done.Report

    • Avatar Barry says:

      Seconded. Snyder is now doing something after having caused the problem and denying it.Report

    • Avatar Barry says:

      “In Michigan, municipal and county governments are subdivisions Michigan state government. People have considered the EM law anti-democratic and even a coup, because it takes away the power of elected officials who are chosen by the citizens of cities. But those cities and other entities are not autonomous; they are a part of the state government. ”

      Some autonomous are more autonomous than others.Report

  3. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    Interesting about the structure of the MI municipal government.Report

    • Avatar Kolohe says:

      Aren’t the structure and features described standard for Dillon’s Rule states?Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

        I suppose they are. Learn something new everydayReport

      • Avatar Michael Cain says:

        Michigan, like many states, has a combination of Dillon’s Rule and home rule for cities. How power is divided between the state and local governments in that situation varies. This draft paper (PDF) makes an argument that whether a state is a Dillon’s Rule state or not has little to do with the actual degree of local authority.Report

      • Avatar PD Shaw says:

        I think he’s talking about the idea of sovereignty. I think there are a few different things here.

        First, when states want to perform services at a localized level, they set up branch offices (like the DMV). OTOH municipal corporations are set-up with the expectation of having a degree of independence and a more generalized portfolio.

        Dillon’s Rule tells us whether the municipal corporation has a power to do something. If the question is “Can my city go into the business of supplying drinking water?” Then Dillon’s Rule says there has to be state legislation that specifically authorizes this activity. In state’s that give municipalities home-rule authority, essentially the question is reversed: “Is there a law that prevents my home rule government from supplying drinking water?”

        What I think is the more important point is that local governments, unlike state and federal government, lack sovereign power. Whatever power a local government has, it can be taken away by the state. The City of Flint could be dissolved by the State, split up into different towns, or have its name changed if the right state laws were passed.Report

        • Avatar Michael Cain says:

          The City of Flint could be dissolved by the State, split up into different towns, or have its name changed if the right state laws were passed.

          Is that really the case in Michigan? As I noted elsewhere, things vary from state to state. Here in Colorado, where I’m more familiar with some of the details, the people in a given unincorporated area can elect to create a city, draft a charter, and file it with the Secretary of State. At that point they exist, and the General Assembly can’t dissolve them or forceably merge them with another city, because the basic home rule city provisions in the state constitution forbid them from doing that. Counties, OTOH, are pure and simple creatures of the state government. When I was on the staff for the state legislature, I was involved in a project involving the counties and had/got to read the dozen principle state supreme court opinions on the matter. Over a period of decades, every few years one or more of the counties would attempt to claim some form of sovereignty, and eventually get smacked down by the court.Report

          • Avatar PD Shaw says:

            The state government can dissolve the municipality by amending its Constitution. Maybe that’s a banal point, but the states can do anything they want with local governments, but they can be subject to whatever process imposed on itself. They may need to amend the Constitution, pass enabling administration, or exercise some administrative authority.

            In the new in Illinois has been the fact that all local school boards (except Chicago’s) can be determined by the state board of education to be insolvent, which means they can be taken over by the state, have their elected board members removed, district merged or divided, etc. Its a precondition for bail-out money. Republicans want the Chicago school district to be brought into this program as a condition for a bailout; Democrats see the vast and potentially radical powers that such legislation would give a Republican governor. A law will not be passed, though in theory it could.Report

  4. Avatar Kim says:

    The kids are already dead, they just don’t know it yet.
    Why throw good money after no money?

    Likewise, is saving Flint a good idea? I don’t know the cost of fixing all the plumbing, but it’s gotta be large.Report

  5. Avatar Damon says:

    Nice post Dennis. It’s very interesting comparing this to the recent NPR post, which ignored a lot of what you wrote, and where the Mayor of Flint was interviewed, who basically blamed the problem on their racist governor and the racist EM law and that he should resign.

    Who’d a thunk it?Report

  6. Avatar Roland Dodds says:

    I first heard about this case via Sanders here at OT, so many thanks for that.

    I wonder how the Republican candidates will address this issue at the debate tomorrow. I would be shocked if they don’t even bring it up. I also imagine many of their responses will follow this line of reasoning:

    “See, government can’t do anything right!”

    No reflection on why government did this and why it happened in a poor, mostly black city like Flint. Just lots of anti-government talking points.Report

  7. Avatar John Connor says:

    Just a quick question – did or will the people of Flint have an opportunity to democratically remove and replace the people that made this decision? Will their voice be heard, maybe through some type of voting action, as to their future going forward? Or will an authority continue to be imposed on them by a higher branch of government?Report

  8. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    Really, this seems more of a excuse-making than explanation. This sounds exactly like one of the bureaucratic blame shifting and fogging of responsibility that ironically was used to justify the EM process in the first place.

    The thrust here is that
    1. It’s complicated.
    2. It’s filled to the brim with detail. And nuance! Loads of nuance!
    3. There were strange anomalous factors, completely unforeseeable and freakish.

    But really, would anyone here accept this from a subordinate?

    They, the state and municipality, had access to all the information and technical experts they needed;
    They had all the legal power they needed to get things done.
    Other comparable municipalities all over the world have mastered the astounding feat of providing clean water, for centuries.

    Seriously. These guys have no excuse. They didn’t use the tools at their disposal, and failed at their most basic and essential metric.Report

  9. Avatar PD Shaw says:

    Interesting update. But what I’ve not seen discussed anywhere, as someone familiar with Illinois environmental regulations, is the licensing requirements. All community water supplies in Illinois have to be operated by a certified drinking water operator. Providing drinking water services, like treating sewage or abating asbestos or operating a landfill is a technical activity that is conducted under the supervision of someone with a technical background. In most states I would assume there is licensing. And when something goes back, the state and feds go looking for that person who signed-off as the operator.Report

  10. Avatar Lyle says:

    Actually the yellow/orange color suggests iron in the water. A lot of older homes also have galvanized pipes and the differing chemistry of the water would affect that. As the Kettering letter suggests part of whether lead is a problem may be dependend on where you tap into the water main relative to where it taps the next larger main. If far away (say you were the last house on the main) water would sit far longer than if you were right next to the the tap. With the number of vacant homes and lots in Flint, it could be that water sits takes a long time to get thru the system. (Note the letter suggests it took over a month for the Lake Huron water to displace the Flint River water in the system which does imply a significant residence time for water in the system)Report

    • Avatar PD Shaw says:

      We’ve had similar water issue locally without the lead issue (so far). A suburb got tired of paying the city for drinking water and the city’s use of water to influence development and annexation. Even after the City made a final offer to charge suburban residence the same as city residence, the suburb formed its own water supply. Not aware of lead pipes.

      The problem was they were switching from an aboveground water reservoir to an underground well. The coating on the pipes came off; the treatment approach was inadequate. Two years later, residents still complain about odor, colors and particulates in the water, and complaints of damage from the water. The state regulators have said the water is safe, but most residents complain the water is undrinkable.

      One thing I’ve taken from what I’ve read is the distinctions between water being safe from a health perspective and being aesthetically drinkable, and water that can be safe to drink, but contain enough iron and manganese to be damaging to equipment.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        PD,
        Oftentimes they won’t tell you if the water is really safe. Pittsburgh’s water runs high with lead (still, just barely under legal minimums). WV’s water often runs hard, and that’s kidney stones for all.

        Drinkable and won’t kill you is NOT “won’t cause health issues”

        … we won’t talk about the actual pollutants in pittsburghs’ rivers…Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      How in hell does it suggest that? Where I’m at it’s a simple electromagnet (I’m pretty sure) that pulls rust out of the water [when the power goes out, the water runs red]. And that rust’s red, which is the normal state of the normal admixture of iron II and III oxides.Report

  11. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    I’ve stated a few times that I’m curious as to who decided not to treat the water from the river. I think I have an answer.

    First off, it is pretty clear that switching to the Flint River as a source of water was not, in itself, a bad call. The water was safe according to both the EPA and the MI DEQ (Dept. Environmental Quality). So there is nothing untoward about that decision.

    The problem, from what I can tell from the links @joe-sal provided, is that there was a disagreement between the EPA and the DEQ regarding what kind of treatment the river water needed. The EPA wanted corrosion control added, the DEQ didn’t think it was necessary, and the two agencies got into what amounts to a pissing match for far too long (there were other things they disagreed about as well, like testing protocols, etc.).

    Now, the DEQ, being a state agency, the governor is ultimately responsible for their actions (and I agree with @chip-daniels that we are far too willing to let the people in government wiggle out from taking responsibility, either because of political alignment, or because we let them drag it all out until it all blows over), but I can see that the governor had a quandary (assuming he was even paying attention to this issue), does he listen to his people on this, or the feds?

    Clearly, in this instance, he should have listened to the EPA, but that is obvious with the benefit of hindsight. The fault lies not with Snyder choosing to listen to his staff, but with him choosing a person who was more interested in politics than sound science to run an agency that depends heavily upon said science for decision making.

    Either way, this is on Snyder, but not because he is an evil republican, but because, much like the Challenger Disaster from 30 years ago, he placed politics over science.Report

    • Avatar Francis says:

      The relationship between EPA and state environmental agencies is incredibly complex. To simplify, federal environmental laws impose a joint relationship where EPA largely acts as an advisor, financier and back-stop. States, after all, are always arguing that they are co-equal sovereigns unless there is a clear invocation of federal supremacy. This is reflected in the various laws that EPA implements. In the area of water delivery, EPA can act unilaterally only after it makes certain findings that boil down to a determination that the state agency is acting so incompetently that it is putting its own citizens at imminent risk.

      As you might imagine, this is not a step that EPA takes lightly, especially with a Democratic president and a Republican governor. Governors can be very prickly (to put it mildly) about EPA take-over of state operations.

      So the EPA emails Joe Sal pointed to above are entirely consistent with my experience. EPA is telling the state agency to get its act in gear. But consistent with the deference that is owed to the states, EPA is letting the state agency to continue to make its own decisions.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

        Thank you for the expansion on that Francis. That aligns I believe with the idea that agencies at loggerheads was a factor.Report

    • Avatar Dennis says:

      Either way, this is on Snyder, but not because he is an evil republican, but because, much like the Challenger Disaster from 30 years ago, he placed politics over science.

      That might well be the case, but how many pols pick people for departments for no other reason than they contributed to their campaign?

      Not saying it was right, just that it isn’t that unusual.Report

    • Avatar Dennis says:

      I think the thing that has been bugging me since the beginning is that we want to make this very complex crisis very simple. So all the focus has been on what the governor knew and when he knew it instead of pulling back and seeing the wider picture. I do agree with Oscar that Synder does get some of the blame correctly- not because he was heartless- but because of not choosing an effective head for DEQ and in some ways not really paying attention to this until it was too late. But it runs off the rails when that is all we focus on and not the actions of the City or the federal government.

      As much as people want to see it in red vs. blue terms, in reality there were many actions by many people that lead us down this road. The question is how does government do better? How do you help once the damage has been done?

      Snyder has a role and his legacy will be tarnished. But if that is all we focus on, then we aren’t helping society, especially the people of Flint.Report

      • Avatar Damon says:

        Indeed Dennis,and as I said somewhere else, your posts have brought more nuance to this story than has ever been reported in mainstream national media. This is a warning to those who would believe the national media as always getting the facts right. They almost never get the whole story.

        The governor does indeed share blame, but the real blame goes to the decades of city administrations that failed to address this problem and, by getting into a fiscal down spiral, never would have been able to correct it without untenable political consequences.

        People are much happier with the “simple” solution, whether that’s blaming it on the feds, the gov, the city, racism (either side), but it never is.Report

      • Avatar Barry says:

        “I think the thing that has been bugging me since the beginning is that we want to make this very complex crisis very simple. ”

        No, *you* want to make a simple crisis complex, to allow your favored group to dodge the blame.Report

  12. Avatar nevermoor says:

    This story gets uglier and uglier every day.

    I look forward to hearing how no one could have known there was a problem despite this.

    But concerns raised over water quality were enough for officials in the state’s capitol of Lansing to decide to give state employees the option to drink bottled water from coolers, rather than from water fountains. Coolers were placed next to the fountains on each occupied floor, according to the documents, and were to be provided “as long as the public water does not meet treatment requirements.”

    Report

  13. Avatar nevermoor says:

    Also, too. The switch from Detroit was NOT a simple cost saving measure.

    But an email obtained by the Bill Johnson group and first reported by Motor City Muckraker suggests that the move might not have been necessary to reduce Flint’s water costs. Then-Detroit Water and Sewerage Department Director Sue McCormick proposed to continue providing water to Flint at a savings of $800 million over 30 years, or 20 percent less than the switch. In other words, Flint could have kept the Detroit water and still saved more money than it did. A spokeswoman for McCormick confirmed the email and reporting to ThinkProgress on Monday.

    Report

    • Avatar Cid22 says:

      From my understanding and I don’t have documentation is that Detroit sent over 6 proposals and the price kept coming down keeping in mind Detroit was also in financial trouble and were part of the problem….so I think it is important to go to the City of Flints website to read about them changing to the Flint River..which has been their back up water source for a very long time.

      CLICK ON THE FAQ to see the meeting notes and the documentation of their decision

      The Reason We Changed…

      The decision to switch to the Karegnondi Water Authority as the City’s permanent water source was made following extensive research and in-depth engineering studies. After entering into a contract with KWA and the subsequent termination of the existing water service contract by the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, the same diligence was given in determining what source water to use while waiting for the community supported KWA water to arrive. The City concluded from this work that the Flint River presented a safe and financially responsible alternative water source. The decision to use the Flint River as an intermediate water source was approved by state regulatory officials in 2014 whereby the City was permitted by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to proceed with treatment of water from the Flint River.

      The document below features questions presented by concerned citizens and the city’s responses to those questions:

      Click on FAQ to see who attended the meeting..

      City of Flint Water System FAQ

      https://www.cityofflint.com/public-works/water-quality-concerns/Report

  14. Avatar Dan Bower says:

    Dennis Sanders replies to some criticism of his essay. “We report–you decide”

    Dennis Sanders,Report

  15. Avatar Dan Bower says:

    Dennis Sanders:
    It’s also important to note that the complaints were about the color and smell of the water.The lead complaints came later.Not that the state shouldn’t have taken the complaints even then.

    Part of the problem that you are exemplifying is looking at this only from an ideological viewpoint.You can argue that ideology has its place in the argument, but there are other factors at work.It’s easy to look at this as nothing more than Republicans who only care about the government or are racist or what have you.I also think it’s too easy to come at this from a conservative viewpoint that blames Democratic policies. Ideology might play a role, but a lot of what happened was more bureaucratic than ideological. But there are a number of issues going on here as I’ve explained.

    I will also add that the media hasn’t done a good job of totally explaining this situation, leaving out certain things or trying to get things to fit into wild theories.

    There is a lot to be mad about.But it is not so easy as “let’s be mad at Republicans.”

    I don’t expect you to agree and that’s fine.But I wish you were willing to take into account that things are not so simple as black vs. white hat.

    Report