Audacity Knows No Limit in Flint, Michigan [OPINION]
I have had debates about the Flint, Michigan water scandal over the last few years. Most civil, some with people throwing wild theories at me and some were just based on a question most of wanted to know: how and why were the people of Flint so badly neglected?
A mostly black community located south of Detroit, Flint was discovered to have major problems when the water source changed from Lake Huron and the Detroit River to the Flint River.
As a result of shoddy design and inspections, over 100,000 residents were exposed to dangerous levels of lead.
It became clear to authorities that no one in the treatment plant used corrosion inhibitors to stop the lead pipes from eroding and getting into the flow of water. Lead is a proven neurotoxin and especially damaging to small children.
There was also an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease which killed (at least) 12 and caused almost 90 to seek medical attention. Jassmine McBride, a 30-year-old Flint resident, died just this February; family members insist it was a direct result of the outbreak.
Officials at every level resigned. They included a City of Flint water treatment supervisor, two officials from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and a local director of the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The blame game began soon after and, in this case, I have to agree that someone needs to be accountable here. We think nothing of drinking from our tap water in most communities. To learn that you and especially your children and other children in your town were exposed to dangerous levels of lead is enraging.
Even General Motors canceled water service from Flint over an extremely high chlorine level they said was ruining some auto components.
An offer was made to reconnect the water source back to Lake Huron, but city officials declined the offer over concerns of higher fees.
An involuntary manslaughter charge was brought upon Dr. Eden Wells, the top medical official in the state. She was appointed to her position by then-Governor Rick Snyder. Snyder has had some fair criticism thrown at him and some not so fair. Eden was accused of failing to act in the Legionnaires' outbreak issue.
Both President Obama and President Trump were visibly active in correcting the situation. Just several days after Trump met with Flint Mayor Karen Weaver in March of 2017, Congress voted to fund $97 million to the city to begin removing lead pipes at over 6,000 homes.
Just when you thought it was over, a lawsuit was declared yesterday, handed to Mayor Weaver for steering money, meant for a charity for those affected by the sickening water, to a campaign fund which shared money with her own campaign.
Weaver is denying it and can be read here. If these charges are true, it would amount to an almost unheard of level of betrayal. This is a mayor who has sat in meetings and has had private conversations with parents of kids who were very ill; she met with some who died later, like Ms. McBride.
I'm hoping she can't possibly be guilty of this. Those people in Flint have gone through enough political abuse to last five lifetimes.
Ken Pittman is the host of The Ken Pittman Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon. Contact him at ken.pittman@