Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Flint Water Crisis: What Took You So Long?

"The national media, along with various activists and celebrities, are suddenly obsessed with my beleaguered hometown of Flint, Michigan, after it emerged that state officials ignored clear signs of lead poisoning in the city’s water supply. Rachel Maddow is outraged. Erin Brockovich is on the case. Jesse Jackson is there to offer spiritual guidance. Cher—yes, Cher—called Michigan’s Republican Gov. Rick Snyder a “murderer” on Twitter for his alleged crimes against the former factory town that Michael Moore put on the map with Roger & Me.

"I don’t blame them and the rest of the country for being angry. I’m angry, too. Who wouldn’t be? But I have to ask: What took you so long?"

Read the rest here in Politico Magazine.


  1. Does anyone remember, back in the 1960s, the Flint Sewer Crisis? There was a sewage plant, out by Beecher Rd. and Mill Rd., that emitted an extremely foul smell for miles around. If you called about it, they told you it was just "chemicals" used to treat the water, even though it smelled like a bad septic tank. I would have thought that would have been a public health issue.

  2. That problem lingered on well into the 1980s. Yellow-brown septic smelling clouds would waft over the West Side.

    I think they were in violation of the Clean Water Act, but it was not even remotely as much a danger as the current water crisis.

  3. I grew up downwind of that stink in the 1970's. It was truly horrible. It was at its worst every summer. I was also surprised when you could smell that stench all the way to downtown Flushing.

    When I first heard that they were using that river for drinking water, I thought it was a joke. Second thought was that whoever made that decision never lived in Flint.

  4. You have to remember that the Flint River Water Inlet is about 10 miles UPSTREAM from the Sewage Plant, and several miles upstream from the now demoslished auto factories. Also remember that all the sewage and chemicals from not only Flint, but Saginaw, Bay City, Midland, Pontiac, Detroit, etc. ended up in Lake Huron, the Detroit River, Lake Erie, etc. all the way to the Atlantic Ocean. And they weren't clean either. So let's not pretend that it's just Flint because some like negative national attention which harms us further.

  5. Let's not forget that Lake Erie was known, in the 70's, for catching on fire from time to time. Down stream from Lake Huron.


Thanks for commenting. I moderate comments, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at