"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Snyder's Team Ridiculed Citizens Who Complained Flint's Poisonous Water

A clip from the NYTimes this evening:
. . . . For almost five decades, Flint drew its water from the city of Detroit’s water system, but concerns about high prices from Detroit helped lead to a switch. The city’s mayor at the time, Dayne Walling, encouraged leaders to “toast” the switch with a taste of the “regular, good, pure drinking” water, the governor’s emails show.

The mood grew less upbeat as time went on. People talked about smells and rashes. Residents carried jugs of brownish water to meetings. One state legislator warned the governor in a letter that his constituents were “on the verge of civil unrest.”

At points, the water was found to have bacterial contamination, and then disinfectant used to kill the bacteria caused a chemical contamination. Even after those problems were resolved, many residents said the water was bad.

Within months of the switch, a General Motors engine plant in Flint found that the city’s water had corroded parts, and stopped using it. A hospital saw that the water was damaging its instruments, and stepped up its own filtering and use of bottled water, as did a local university.

Still, officials seemed slow to respond. In one memo for the governor from February 2015, officials played down the problems and spoke of “initial hiccups.”

“It’s not ‘nothing,’ ” the memo said, adding that the water was not an imminent “threat to public health.” It also suggested that Flint residents were concerned with aesthetics. . . .

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