Friday, February 26, 2016

Flint Water Crisis: What Did They Know and When Did They Know It?

Chad Livengood of the The Detroit News writes:
"Two top advisers to Gov. Rick Snyder urged switching Flint back to Detroit’s water system in October 2014 after General Motors Co. said the city’s heavily chlorinated river water was rusting engine parts, according to governor’s office emails examined by The Detroit News. 
"Valerie Brader, then Snyder’s environmental policy adviser, requested that the governor’s office ask Flint’s emergency manager to return to Detroit’s system on Oct. 14, 2014, three weeks before Snyder’s re-election. 
"Mike Gadola, then the governor’s chief legal counsel, agreed Flint should be switched back to Detroit water nearly a year before state officials relented to public pressure and independent research showing elevated levels of lead in the water and bloodstreams of Flint residents."
Read the rest here.

Flint Artifacts: A.C. Spark Plug Advertisement in Collier's


Flint, Michigan Meet San Jose, California

If you think the problems in Flint and other struggling cities are entirely the fault of local leaders and not a reflection of fundamental problems with the U.S. economy and how we fund and support cities, you really should read this story about San Jose in The Atlantic. Even if you don't agree with it, the article provides a sobering overview of the issues affecting American cities. It's focused primarily on Prop. 13 and other issues specific to California, but it illustrates some distressingly common themes —dwindling tax revenue, infrastructure needs, and reduced city services.

Alana Semuels writes:
One would think that the richest city in America would have better roads. And more police officers. And more adequate housing for the poor. 
And yet, San Jose, which has the highest median household income of any major city in the country, at $77,000 a year, and is home to billion-dollar companies such as Cisco and Adobe Systems Incorporated, also has some of the worst roads in the country, a shrinking police department despite a growing population, and, until the city shut it down, one of the largest homeless encampments in the nation.

The Joys of Comment Moderation

Ah, it's nice to be back to the original Flint Expatriates blog after a long flirtation with Facebook, where 50 percent of all comments seem to be from angry conspiracy theorists whose lives apparently revolve around their hatred for Michael Moore. It was a depressing sojourn. Glad to be back, working closely with my colleague known as "comment moderation."

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Flint Makes the New York Magazine Approval Matrix for All the Wrong Reasons




Exclusive Interview with Rep. Dan Kildee on the Flint Water Crisis, how to save America's cities, and the 2018 Governor's race


I recently interviewed Rep. Dan Kildee to discuss the Flint Water Crisis, long-term solutions to Flint's problems, and the 2018 governor's race. The full Q & A is now available at Next City.

Young: The water crisis is just the latest catastrophe in Flint. In the last 30 years, the city has struggled with joblessness, crime, poverty, and blight. Why do these bad things happen to Flint?

Kildee: It’s a manifestation of a philosophy of government that puts the people in places like Flint at the very bottom of the list of priorities. It's an overarching approach that is just dismissive of their interests, as if they have nothing to offer. The Snyder administration and other political leaders who share this approach absolutely view policy questions the same way corporations view their profit margins — short-term, dollars and cents first. Everything else is just noise to them. They treat Flint like a problem to deal with, or an annoyance, but certainly not a community of people that have hope, that have aspirations for their kids.


Read the full interview here.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Flint Photos: Two Men, a Woman, and a Large Cat


Okay, this is allegedly a photo taken at the Buick factory. Anyone have any info on this oddity? If not, feel free to wildly speculate. Possibly something related to the Buick Wildcat? Or perhaps just the typical hijinks after a three-martini lunch?

Note: No animals were harmed in the creation of this post.