Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Flint Water Crisis: Dr. Eden Wells

What could possibly go wrong?

Steve Carmody of NPR's Stateside reports:
Gov. Rick Snyder has appointed a top state official criminally charged in the Flint water crisis investigation to head a new council tasked with improving Michigan’s response to emerging public health threats.
Perhaps the thinking is that if you helped cause a public health threat, you'd be good at spotting others?

The Streets of San Francisco: Chevy Van

Chevy Van




Monday, November 20, 2017

Flint Artifacts: O-Jib-Wa Laxative Herb Tea

laxatives



Sunday, November 19, 2017

Flint Artifacts: Uncle Bob's Diner Matchbook

books about flint michigan



Friday, November 17, 2017

Flint Artifacts: Farm Motel Mug

motels in flint michigan



Flint Artifacts: Arrowhead Riders Patch

Flint Michigan



Thursday, November 16, 2017

Flint Artifacts: Joan Rivers and Peter Marshall at the Michigan Star Theatre

Joan Rivers

Friday, November 10, 2017

Flint Photos: Deuce and a Quarter



Flint Artifacts: A.C. New Fuel Pump




Flint Artifacts: O-Jib-Wa Reducing Tea

history of Flint Michigan



Thursday, November 9, 2017

Body Language

Gordon Young Journalist

Love this photo. Jake May of MLive captures the "warm rapport" Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, left, and U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint Twp. must share with each other with this photo taken at the grand opening of the Ferris Wheel building on Saginaw Street in downtown Flint. You don't have to be a body language expert to figure this one out.

On a side note, I'm with Kildee on the clothing choice. If you're going to wear a suit, wear a tie. Otherwise, why bother?


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Election Day in Flint: Mayor Weaver Faces Recall Vote

books about Flint Michigan

It's election day in Flint, and Mitch Smith of The New York Times gives an overview of the recall vote:
Mayor Karen Weaver sailed into office two years ago promising to clean Flint’s lead-tainted water and to restore trust in government, after previous leaders brought poisoned water to the city and ignored residents when they complained. Ms. Weaver declared a state of emergency, met with the president and made the rounds on cable television, quickly becoming one of America’s most visible mayors. 
But as her celebrity grew, so too did a revolt within her own City Hall. She now faces City Council members accusing her of corruption, a court battle over Flint’s long-term water source and, on Tuesday, a recall election that could snuff out her four-year term at the halfway point.
Read the rest here.


Saturday, November 4, 2017

1970s Fashion: Purple Satin Jacket


1970s Fashion: Purple Satin Jacket


Books About Flint, Michigan






Wednesday, November 1, 2017

New Buicks for Sale

New Buicks for Sale
New Buicks for Sale


Flint Water Crisis: Long-term Health Issues Caused by Lead Exposure

Flint Water Crisis

Flint pediatrician Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, who helped expose the Flint W
ater Crisis, talks to Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson about confronting the long-term health issues affecting Flint residents.
Hanna-Attisha says the city is building programs to help support children, so they can overcome future challenges caused by lead exposure. She says interventions like universal preschool and access to nutrition are key to reducing the impact. 
"We have a robust investment in early education," she says. "We have Medicaid expansion. We have mobile grocery stores, breastfeeding services, 24-hour mental health care. These are things that all children need everywhere, but these are things that we are putting in place for the kids in Flint."


New Chevys for Sale

New Chevys for Sale
Brand new Chevys for sale.


Friday, October 27, 2017

Flint Water Crisis: Curt Guyette on the KWA Pipeline Project

Flint Water Crisis

Photo Illustration by Robert Nixon via Metro Times.

If you are trying to understand how the KWA pipeline project is intertwined with the Flint Water Crisis, this story by the Michigan ACLU's Curt Guyette in the Metro Times is essential reading.
Last year, a task force appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder to investigate the causes of the disaster urged prosecutors to do a "complete and thorough review of the development and approval of KWA and of the City of Flint's commitments to KWA water purchases." 
Since then, four officials — including two of the city's former emergency managers — have been charged for allegedly using false pretenses to obtain an $85 million loan needed to finance Flint's share of the new pipeline.
And then there's a report issued earlier this year by the Michigan Civil Rights Commission, which spent nearly a year investigating the crisis to determine what role, if any, racism played in creating this completely avoidable manmade disaster.
Read the rest here.


Flint Photos: Greenway Avenue

Gordon Young Flint Water Crisis
Thanks to Jim Holbel for the photo.


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Flint Water Crisis Event with Curt Guyette and Gordon Young

Flint Michigan



Wednesday, October 4, 2017

How to Fix Flint: Replacing the pipes in my hometown won’t revive the city. It will take the equivalent of a Marshall Plan to save it. By Gordon Young

How to fix Flint
P-Nut and Raevyn work on their Civic Park home in 2010.

My friend P-Nut was shopping at the Flint Salvation Army in March with Sherman McCathern, the pastor of his church, when he got a phone call. 

It was one of his buddies from Civic Park, a neighborhood of houses primarily built for autoworkers that is now one of the most blighted areas in a city often defined by decay and loss. 

“You know your house is on fire?” the friend asked.

P-Nut and the pastor headed for their car and rushed home. When they pulled into the parking lot of Joy Tabernacle Church on North Chevrolet Avenue at the corner of West Dayton, two blocks from P-Nut’s house, smoke was wafting through the neighborhood.

“So I knew it was bad before I even saw it,” P-Nut told me. “When I got to my house, it was blazing.”

Long before Flint had a water crisis, it had an arson problem. And decades before Cher and Snoop Dogg arrived on the scene with their PR teams, or the journalists and presidential candidates showed up, my hometown was vanishing in ways both large and small. Shifting global economic trends aren’t big on taking union industrial strongholds along for the ride, and Flint was left behind to fend for itself. Obviously, it hasn’t fared well. Decades of double-digit unemployment, population loss, and artless budget cuts equal crime, abandonment, and burning buildings.

All Flintoids — as we sometimes call ourselves — can catalogue the places that meant something to them that have disappeared. My personal list includes Homedale Elementary, the East Side school my mother and I attended less than a mile from the massive automotive complex known as Buick City. The school was torched and then demolished in 2010. The factory is long gone, too, along with thousands of G.M. jobs. My grandfather’s elegant brick office building downtown, where he earned the money that kept our family afloat, is a parking lot. And the pool where I learned to swim is a grassy field in Kearsley Park.

Now I have to add P-Nut’s house to the tally. Sure, it was just a two-story saltbox that needed a lot of work in a neighborhood that might not exist in twenty years. But it had a meaningful past and, I foolishly thought, a future. It was a symbol of hope for P-Nut. And for me. And hope is a tenuous thing in Flint.

When I got the news, I flashed back to a cold December morning in 2010. I was sitting in the lobby of City Hall in Flint, waiting to shadow the mayor for a story I was writing about my hometown. I was alone because the receptionist I had gotten to know over the previous year had been laid off, a victim of the city’s relentless quest for a balanced budget.


A disheveled guy with an armful of manila file folders tucked under his arm walked into the lobby. He had to angle his head toward the offices behind the desk and call out, “Hello, anyone home?” A staffer finally emerged and asked if she could take a message for the mayor.

“Well, I’ve given up on Flint,” the man said, “and I wanted to see if he could give me a reason not to give up on it.”

The staffer took his name and number, promising to pass his message along to the mayor. The guy left with his folders, more disappointed than angry.

I couldn’t really relate to his request at the time. I was cautiously optimistic about the city’s future. But after years of steady decline and the ongoing water crisis, I understand him a lot better. In fact, I think I’m becoming that guy now, desperately searching for some evidence that things will ever get better in Flint. And worried that I won’t find it. For someone who once naively thought he could help solve the city’s problems, it’s not an easy thing to admit.

As a journalist who has written about Flint for more than a decade, I’ve been lucky to meet dozens of smart, inspiring residents like Pastor McCathern and P-Nut who are fighting to save this troubled spot on the Michigan map. But I’ve also talked to enough economists, urban planners, and politicians to know that all their efforts will never be enough to pull Flint out of its socio-economic free fall. It will take a monumental national effort to reinvigorate Flint and cities like it. That means an investment of federal and state money that gives Flint a chance to prosper but might not pay dividends for years. And I fear our bitterly divided country does not care enough to make it happen.

I hope I’m wrong. I don’t like thinking that bad things are likely to keep happening in the city where four generations of my family lived. But I also know that Flint is a place where reality destroys the best laid plans, and optimism gets its ass kicked on a regular basis.



Saturday, September 30, 2017

Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City by Gordon Young

Books about Flint Michigan

"One can read Teardown and go 'My, my, my! What a horrid town! Thank God I don't live there!' Oh, but you do. Just as the 'Roger & Me Flint' of the 1980s was the precursor to a wave of downsizing that eventually hit every American community, Gordon Young's Flint of 2013, as so profoundly depicted in this book, is your latest warning of what's in store for you — all of you, no matter where you live — in the next decade. The only difference between your town and Flint is that the Grim Reaper just likes to visit us first. It's all here in Teardown, a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once great American city."
— Michael Moore, filmmaker, author, activist

Purchase Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City here.


Thursday, September 28, 2017

Streets of San Francisco: 1963 Corvair On Cortland Avenue

Flint



Monday, September 4, 2017

Happy Labor Day from Flint Expatriates


Fisher Body Plant #1 in 1937.


Saturday, September 2, 2017

A Strange Place


"It's not a mystery; it's just the past."

— Martin Cruz Smith, Gorky Park


Monday, August 28, 2017

Civic Park in Decline


A screenshot of Civic Park in Flint from the Flint Property Portal. The purple sections indicate publicly owned property, which frequently means parks and abandoned houses and lots.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

American




Harold C. Ford on "Detroit"


Harold C. Ford reviews Detroit in East Village Magazine:
As I drove myself home from the empty house at Rave Flint West 14 at 1 a.m., I passed The Keg Bar at the corner of Van Slyke and Hemphill Roads. The parking lot was filled beyond capacity; some 50 cars overflowed into adjoining parking lots. The fenced-in outdoor terrace was abuzz with 40 to 50 happy, imbibed patrons while many more were inside. The juxtaposition of a rollicking packed pub and an empty movie house showing a film about the deadliest civil rebellion in Michigan history, one that unfolded a mere 65 miles down the highway, was dispiriting.
Read the rest here.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Flint Photos: Flint Springs Water and Ice Co. Wagon




Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Adventure




Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Flint Artifacts: Chevy Logo




Streets of San Francisco: There's No Place Like...




Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Need for Narrative

This got me thinking about Flint, and all the stories written about the place, by me and many others.
"As far as I could tell, stories may enable us to live, but they also trap us, bring us spectacular pain. In their scramble to make sense of nonsensical things, they distort, codify, blame, aggrandize, restrict, omit, betray, mythologize, you name it. This has always struck me as cause for lament, not celebration."
— "The Red Parts" by Maggie Nelson


Saturday, July 1, 2017

Streets of San Francisco: GMC Diesel


If you're going to own a GMC Diesel like this one in San Francisco, it goes without saying you better have some serious parking skills. And the ability to climb out the rear window when you're done.


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Flint Photos: Jim Cunningham's Retirement from Buick


When Jim Cunningham retired from Buick, they gave him a starter motor mounted on a plaque, like the thousands he had bolted on to engine blocks every week for 32 years at Factory 36. Thanks to Joe Cunningham for the photo of his father.


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Should I Stay or Should I Go?


Alvin Chang at Vox explores those who stay in their hometown and those who leave.
Those who stayed in their hometown tend to be less educated, less wealthy, and less hopeful. 
They tend to be less open to other cultures and less open to immigrants. 
Ultimately, they tend to be more likely to support Donald Trump. 
But putting those sentences next to each other implies there is something wrong with people who don’t leave home. After all, there’s nothing wrong with people who want to stay close to their family and friends — people who “really value kinship and close ties," as Cromartie put it. 
Still, there are real disparities — political and economic — that emerge from the decision to move away from home, or not. And like so many other disparities, this split is the culmination of several systemic factors that sort us into these groups.
Read the rest here.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Flint Photos: Joel Rash at the Soggy Bottom Bar




Saturday, May 6, 2017

Flint Fashion

The Flint Expatriates editorial team always finds some good stuff in San Francisco's consignment shops. Flint fashion for babies.


Sunday, April 30, 2017

Always Something There To Remind Me

Lint rollers on sale at Heartfelt in San Francisco. Not to be confused with the famous Helmac Lint Roller of Roger & Me fame.


Flint Artifacts: Flint-Caro Sebewaing Bus Ticket





Streets of San Francisco: Corvette in Repose




Friday, April 14, 2017

Flint Photos: Comber's Market in Civic Park, Late '50s, Early '60s


You remember this sort of winter day in Flint. There are a lot of them every winter. Comber's became Double D Market, then a vacant lot. Now it's an urban forest, a ghetto palm arboretum.

Thank you to Bill Comber for the photo.


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

A Blue Bird Lands in Flint


Jan Worth-Nelson writing about the power of spring in Belt Magazine:

Quotidian comfort: padded downstairs, made two cups of tea in the microwave, turned up the heat, turned off the burglar alarm, pulled up four blinds, one by one: one, two, three in the dining room.
In the kitchen, pulled up number four.
And he was there. Brilliant. Blue. Canary-shaped and perfect, ground feeding alone as if he belonged, pecking calmly at finch feed drop.
 
I am not ashamed to say I shouted with joy.
Read the rest here.


Expat Throwback: The Day Zorro Came to Flint by Tom Pohrt



Ten Years of Bad Road: Flint Expatriates 2007-2017
To commemorate a decade of Flint Expats, I'll be reposting the best of the blog throughout the year. Here, author, illustrator and Flintoid Tom Pohrt remembers the day pulp writer Johnston McCulley's creation walked the streets of Vehicle City.


“Señor, who are you?”
“A friend of the people, El Zorro!”

1958: Unemployment in the U.S. was at 7% and a gallon of gas was 25 cents; Sputnik burned up re-entering earth’s atmosphere in early January and Nikita Khrushchev became Premier of the Soviet Union; Joao Gilberto introduced the cooled down samba sound of Bossa Nova in Rio while Fidel Castro’s revolutionary army was advancing on Havana; Ted Williams signed with the Red Sox; the right wing John Birch Society was founded; Vladimir Nabokov’s controversial novel “Lolita” is published in the U.S. and the first International House of Pancakes opened in Toluca Lake, California.

And Zorro came to Flint. It was a heady year.

In August of 1958, when I was five years old, Zorro did come to Flint, Michigan. Zorro, aka Don Diego de la Vega, was played by a second generation Italian-American actor named Guy Williams, whose Christian name was Armando Catalano. My brothers and I were glued to the TV each week to watch Zorro on The Wonderful World of Disney. El Zorro was a friend of the people and an enemy of injustice to three young boys brought up in post war Flint. He wore a black mask, cape and hat and wielded a wicked sword, each week whipping a capital Z across some Spanish villain’s pants or shirt. Zorro had an Errol Flynn mustache and matinee idol good looks. In short, Diego de la Vega was the essence of '50s cool. Google Williams’ screen test for the role he later played on Lost In Space. The guy knew how to light a cigarette.



The Zorro TV show was co-sponsored by AC Spark Plugs and this was the reason why he was visiting Flint. Our father held a white collar job at AC, giving us entree to the factory lot where Guy Williams and Henry Calvin appeared to tour the plant and sign autographs. Henry Calvin played the overweight Sergeant Demetrio Lopez Garcia, Zorro’s comic foil.



Here is a photograph of my brothers Karl and Dick getting Sergeant Garcia’s autograph. I’m standing there in short pants, my hand reaching up but with no paper or pencil for a signature. I remember that rather awkward moment. I recall that Henry Calvin shook my hand. I do remember I was a bit afraid of Guy Williams. He was tall at 6’3 and just too cool to approach. I came across these images while going through and organizing some family photographs. The photo of my brothers and I with Henry Calvin looks like it might have been a publicity shot for AC.




There is another small group of photos that my father took of Calvin and Williams signing autographs along with several of the AC beauty queens, from Flint and Milwaukee. I also came across another group of snap shots showing a parade held later in downtown Flint, celebrating GM’s Golden Milestone. They show a military parade with numerous floats, including one with Zorro and Sergeant Garcia in costume. They appear to be acting out their roles for the entertainment of the crowd.



Here's a clipping I found from an AC newsletter titled: WARM WELCOME LEAVES MARK ON ZORRO! Hard not to feel a certain innocence-lost looking back on these images, when in fact this took place during the heart of the Cold War era.








Originally published September 3, 2010.