“Public Scapegoat”: Michigan Pays Out $300,000 To Only Official Fired Over Flint, Michigan Water Crisis

Six years ago, I wrote a column questioning charges in the Flint Michigan lead tainted water case as having more of a political than legal basis. After the initial press coverage dissipated, prosecutors quietly settled for misdemeanor pleas with key defendants. Now, the state of Michigan will have to pay $300,000 to settle wrongful discharge claims by Liane Shekter Smith, the only employee who was fired as a result of the controversy. Those are hundreds of thousands of dollars (plus additional litigation costs) that could have been used for other things like cleaner water. However, politicians demanded firings and criminal charges before the controversy was fully investigated.  The arbitrator, Sheldon Stark, found evidence that politics drove the decision to fire Smith. None of those politicians will likely be held responsible for these unavoidable damages.

In 2014-15, a decision was made to draw Flint’s water from the Flint River to save money. However, the water proved highly corrosive due to improper treatment. It eroded the protective coating inside of the old pipes and leached lead into the drinking water. Water officials wanted to wait for the conclusion of testing before adding corrosion control additives, but in the interim residents were left with the tainted water.

Smith was head of the state’s drinking water division. Keith Creagh, director at the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, fired her.

Smith was also hit with criminal allegations. She was charged with misconduct in office and neglect of duty and informed that the state would pursue an involuntary manslaughter case. Again, the charges were dropped in 2019 in exchange for a no-contest plea to a misdemeanor. The entire charge was erased after a year.

An arbitrator concluded that she was wrongly fired in 2016 by officials who were likely looking for a “public scapegoat.” Stark found a “plausible conclusion that political considerations were at play” in the firing.

Notably, the damages were 56% more than the award of $191,880 in back pay and other compensation. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration instead paid 56% more to Shekter Smith to close the case. Smith was seeking as much as $900,000 in lost compensation.

She has agreed not to seek reinstatement to her old position.

75 thoughts on ““Public Scapegoat”: Michigan Pays Out $300,000 To Only Official Fired Over Flint, Michigan Water Crisis”

  1. Ironically, the corrosivity of the Flint water could have been easily addressed by the addition of phosphates. Why was that not done? Michigan has bans on the use of phosphates as a *wastewater* quality measure (see https://www.michigan.gov/documents/deq/wrd-nutrient-framework-restrictions_429130_7.pdf ). Wastewater as a source of nutrients such as phosphorus has been a concern in plans for water quality management in the Saginaw Bay watershed (which includes Flint) since at least 1991 (http://publicsectorconsultants.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Saginaw-Bay-Watershed-and-AOC-Handout_WEB.pdf ), and is one of the goals of the 1978 Agreement on Great Lakes Water Quality treaty with Canada.

    If anything, the Flint problem can be blamed on Green policies that failed to take into account necessary compromises to protect human health.

  2. First Biden does the Vatican and now Glasgow.

    https://www.the-sun.com/news/4015579/camilla-joe-biden-breaking-wind-cop26-chat

    “The Duchess of Cornwall “hasn’t stopped talking about” the 78-year-old’s “long fart” as it was “impossible to ignore”, it’s reported”.

    “It was long and loud and impossible to ignore,” the source told the outlet.

    “Camilla hasn’t stopped talking about it.”

    Not exactly the shot heard round the world, butt maybe something like it.

    This makes the Vatican story more plausible.

    This is the Biden Legacy.

    1. And this is another darned thing his handlers have to worry about on formal occasions. No Beans For Biden! What a job.

  3. Jonathan: It appears Liane Smith was a sacrificial lamb–a scapegoat for GOP Gov. Rick Snyder to attempt to escape responsibility for his criminal negligence in the Flint water crisis. The real sacrificial lambs were the predominantly Black residents of Flint. They still suffer today. In Flint you will still see signs that read: “Water is a human right” and Snyder is guilty of “economic racism”. In January Snyder and 8 of his cronies were criminally charged. But Snyder isn’t really worried. He is living the good life with a net worth of over $200 million. He plans to take a page from Trump’s litigation playbook. Delay, delay and obstruct. Drag out the legal case for years hoping state prosecutors will agree to a settlement favorable to Snyder. Justice delayed is justice denied.

    Speaking of Trump have you seen the latest issue of Forbes magazine? Forbes details how Trump not only tried to overthrow the US government but also sought to profit from it. After Trump tweeted “Big protest in DC on Jan 6th. Be there, will be wild!” he began planning for the insurrection by raising prices on the cheapest rooms at his Washington Hotel. Room prices were raised from $476 per night to $1,999.00. A week later the price jumped to $3,600 and on Jan 6 the price of a room rose to an incredible $8,000! Many of Trump’s loyal supporters, including Michael Flynn, booked rooms. Trump was not content to just overturn an election. He wanted to profit from it. Nevertheless, Trump’s empire is starting to unravel. His hotels and golf courses are hemorrhaging money. So what does a desperate business opportunist do? He wants to capitalize on the Christmas season by offering his supporters an “iconic” Christmas ornament in the shape of his MAGA hat for only a “donation” of $75.00. For those not so inclined Trump offers his “Official Trump Wrapping Paper” with his mug all over it wearing a Santa hat. Price is only $35. Only a man desperate for cash would stoop to such antics!

    1. The 5th Circuit has double standards.

      SB 8 has “grave statutory and constitutional issues,” yet the 5th Circuit didn’t stay implementation while the SB 8 cases work their way through the courts.

      1. yet the 5th Circuit didn’t stay implementation

        You know this is a lie, but keep repeating it.
        Judges cannot “stay” laws. Only enjoin the execute branch from taking defined actions. SB8 does not require any actions by the executive branch actors.

    2. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, United States Department of Labor; United States

      Isn’t it ironic?

      Per Article 1, Section 8, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the United States Department of Labor are unconstitutional.

      Congress has the power to regulate ONLY the value of money, commerce (interchange) among the States and land and naval Forces.

      Congress has the power to make laws “necessary and proper” to regulate the value of money, commerce among the States and land and naval Forces.

  4. Enigma–

    This is from your NPR article: “The outbreak continued through the end of 2015. The same clear divergence in pneumonia deaths between the control group and Genesee County doesn’t appear that year, even though Flint was still using river water at the time. The Emory team didn’t have an explanation why, but noted that the pneumonia deaths were still on average higher in Genesee compared to the control counties in 2015”

    In other words, even though the city was still using river water at one time in 2015 there was no significant difference between Flint and control cities in cases of pneumonia. If the water were causing the illness it would always be higher in Flint so long as they were using river water. It wasn’t.

    Ignored in the article but visible in the overlapping graphs is the fact that the control cities had much higher rates of pneumonia than Flint during many periods. The years 2011, 2013 and 2017 particularly stand out.

    There is no clear correlation between lead in city water and pollution in river water to cases of pneumonia in Flint.

    If anyone is at fault for tainted water it is the city officials who neglected the water system for decades and who later appeared to have diverted funds intended to correct the problem to other hands.

    Zimbabwe Incompetence rather than White Neglect caused the problem. Take your custom guilt trip somewhere else.

    1. “Enigma – Take your custom guilt trip somewhere else.”

      – Young
      ______

      What, and give up irrefutably unconstitutional and anti-American matriculation affirmative action, grade-inflation affirmative action, employment affirmative action, quotas, welfare, food stamps, minimum wage, rent control, social services, forced busing, public housing, utility subsidies, WIC, SNAP, TANF, HAMP, HARP, TARP, HHS, HUD, Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Labor, Energy, Obamacare, Social Security, Social Security Disability, Social Security Supplemental Income, Medicare, Medicaid, “Fair Housing” laws, “Non-Discrimination” laws, etc.,?

      Yeah, that ain’t gonna happen!

  5. OT

    “Law Firm Sues Michigan Secretary of State for Leaving 25,000 Dead Registrants on Voter Rolls” The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) filed a lawsuit against Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson on Wednesday, alleging she failed to remove more than 25,000 potentially deceased registrants from voter rolls after being notified of the issue several times. The case is Public Interest Legal Foundation v. Benson, No. 1:21-cv-929 in the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan.

    1. “New York Poll Worker Claims Ballots Came in That Were Already Pre-Stamped with Candidate’s Name in Wrong Box” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown won a shocking upset over Socialist candidate India Brown in the Buffalo mayoral race. Walton defeated Brown in the Democrat primary. One poll worker now admits to seeing numerous ballots pre-stamped with Brown’s name in the wrong box. The ballots apparently counted anyway. Democrats even cheat when they’re running against their own party members.

      – Jim Hoft

  6. How about instead of political scapegoats, we get real criminal and civil accountability from everyone who decided to pipe polluted water to the people of Flint?

    And how about we replace all those lead pipes across the country?

    New Jersey has replaced 20,000 old lead lines that used to connect houses to city water.

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/jul/15/newark-new-jersey-replace-lead-water-lines-pipes

    One of the very few objectives that I approve of by the Biden Administration is a nationwide effort to remove lead water pipes. This was one aspect of his plans that had bipartisan support although, as with every federal project, there are valid concerns about over spending and under delivering. The government procurement system is broken to the point of being a plum delivery system to donors. Some valid criticism is that Joe Biden claims it will remove all lead water pipes, when it does not do so.

    https://www.huffpost.com/entry/joe-biden-lead-pipes_n_61097460e4b064678eee0460

    But the bill does not require water utilities to replace lead pipes. Rather, it provides $15 billion to a revolving fund that utilities can use to replace lead pipes if they want ― something that’s only happened in a handful of cities to date.
    “Unless the utilities are required to do it, we’re concerned that a lot of utilities won’t,” Erik Olson, a water policy expert with the Natural Resources Defense Council, told HuffPost…Replacing a single service line can cost thousands of dollars, because it typically requires digging up the ground in front of the building to get at the pipe. Water utilities have insisted they’re not responsible for the portions of pipe that lie within someone’s property line, making removal a huge collective action problem…The infrastructure bill, as drafted, would plow just $15 billion earmarked for pipe replacement into the Environmental Protection Agency’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. The bill would not amend the Safe Drinking Water Act to require utilities to replace the pipes.
    “Is it going to be enough to deal with every lead pipe in the country? Probably not, but we’ll make great progress,” Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), who chairs the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, told HuffPost.”

    This is why I find such expensive plans to be so frustrating – they are not accurately described and they often are not designed properly to get the job done.

    Should this be done differently, through the state? It seems like New Jersey is taking this problem a bit more seriously. Perhaps the money should be given to the states, and not the utility companies, to only be used to replace lead pipes.

  7. Would you want to drink heavily polluted water that had corrosion control additives to prevent its leaching lead from the antiquated pipes? Would you want your kids to drink it?

  8. People in power whether it be in government or academia too frequently do not pay for their hubris that leads to terrible errors paid for by everyone else.

  9. There are thousands of post-9/11 Bush Cointelpro victims, each of us have lost at $1 million each over 20 years out-of-pocket (not including punitive damages). Congress where’s our money and apology?

  10. So Turley chooses to defend the officials that knew and didn’t alert the community rather than those who died and will suffer for generations. Ninety people at minimum died due to poor decision-making (not necessarily a crime), criminal neglect, and a greater interest in covering up the neglect than solving the problem. As long as it was Black people dying, no problem.

    https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/interactive/how-we-found-dozens-of-uncounted-deaths-during-flint-water-crisis/

    1. Enigma–

      interesting article that, in fact, concludes nothing and does not show a causal relationship between between public water use and pneumonia or Legionnaires deaths.

      You insist on making it about race so I wonder if the folks in charge of Flint government and water system are black or white? Is this white neglect or Zimbabwe style government?

        1. The state intervention was because the city had been driven into financial chaos by incompetent locals who had done nothing about water or much of anything else.

            1. Enigma – the lead pipes existed, and the financial free fall of the city certainly existed.

              Multiple people, some of them black, were involved in the decision to pipe polluted river water into Flint. That corroded the lead pipes, adding lead to the existing pollutants in the river water.

              Darnell Earley, a black man, oversaw the decision to connect to the river. There were other people involved in this decision, and some of those were black, too.

              The superficial characteristics, including skin color, of those involved are immaterial. What matters are the decisions and actions people took. I sincerely doubt Darnell Earley decided to hook up to the polluted river because he wanted to off fellow black people.

              Why are you so hyper focused on the race of participants in every topic you contribute to? You come across as really racist.

              1. I don’t have a problem with anyone, regardless of color, going to jail if they hid the water problems once known from the public while people died. Theposition of city manager was created to be the Governor’s flunky. He did what he was told which doesn’t excuse him, those that gave the orders deserve jail as well. I submit this couldn’t have happened to a primarily white city. Nor could Greenwood, OK (Black Wall St), Rosewood, FL, Ocoee, Fl, or dozens of other primarily Black town that were wiped out by white people. How many sundown towns ever existed where white people had to be out of town by dusk?
                I don’t think anyone, white or Black, knew what damage would occur by changing the water supply. I am saying once they knew, including the Governor, they let it continue and covered it up.

              2. I agree with you that skin color should be no defense against jail time for those criminally convicted.

                It’s entirely possible that Earley was somehow coerced or pressured, but do you have evidence that he was only doing what he was told? Even if that were true, you shouldn’t pipe water so polluted that it catches on fire in places into anyone’s tap, no matter who tells you. Quit in protest if you have to.

                You submitted that this could’t have happened to a primarily white city.

                The heck it could.

                The town of Hinkley, near Barstow, CA, is mostly white. PG&E contaminated local groundwater with hexavalent chromium. People drank contaminated water and many got cancer.

                Do I know of towns where it’s dangerous for white people to be after dark? Yep. There are places in CA where it’s dangerous for white people to be during the day, especially during sensitive times. When my husband was just starting out, he arrived at a new customer’s house in a bad neighborhood. She was surprised he wasn’t black, because only black people would come to her area. He was confused by this, and said he was perfectly happy to do the job. She made him leave for his own safety, and said it was too dangerous for him to be there. Sure enough, black people threw bottles at his work truck, and came out into the street as he left. There was a reason why white people would not work there, especially alone, and it had nothing to do with racism. It had to do with open threats.

                What I find ludicrous is that experts took issue with the failure to add corrosion control additives to the polluted water. I still wouldn’t drink it.

                I don’t agree with you that no one could have predicted that piping in contaminated river water would make anyone sick. That just doesn’t make sense. I agree with you that when complaints came in, those in charge let it continue and covered it up. If this was a private industry, they would be sued into the stone age and people would be in jail. But it’s government, so they get a wrongful termination settlement. Normally, unions get these kinds of payouts, but I don’t know if she belonged to a government worker union.

    2. As we are again, for the umpteenth time, abraded by caterwauling dependent parasites, we similarly and again repeat and review history.

      Naturalization Acts of 1790, 1795, 1798 and 1802 (four iterations of original intent – they meant it)

      United States Congress, “An act to establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization,” March 26, 1790

      Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That any Alien being a free white person, who shall have resided within the limits and under the jurisdiction of the United States for the term of two years, may be admitted to become a citizen thereof..
      ____________________________________________________________________________________

      What failed upon the issuance of the emancipation proclamation in 1863? An oversight? The Naturalization Act of 1802 was in full force and effect and it required the immediate deportation of freed slaves.
      _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

      The Israelite slaves were out of Egypt before the ink was dry on their release papers.

      What happened to the Africans? No capacity, acumen or gumption sufficient to the task?

      1. I get that America deliberately intended to be a nation where only white people had rights. I’m sure you’re one of those who wants the Supreme Court to continue relying on originalism so that the nations racism never changes. While many people here won’t acknowledge that as you do, George. They silently wish that everything stays the same racist way.

        1. The longstanding slave and black “problems” must have been definitively resolved and concluded through compassionate repatriation after slaves gained their freedom and their status transformed to illegal alien under contemporary immigration law.

          Because of the large number and pervasive deleterious effect on the country, freed slaves must have been deemed “illegal alien” and summarily deported in 1863.

          I am certain that you agree that in a society of laws, laws must be obeyed.

          I am certain that you perceive the persistent cataclysmic effects of Lincoln’s failure to follow and carry out his duties and the law.

          Unlike the Israelite slaves, the African slaves failed to obtain their homeland, presumably their singular desire and goal, of their own and Lincoln’s volition.

          By all historical norms and considerations, blacks must not want and are not supposed to be in America.

          The customary and traditional desire of abductees is to simply go home.

          1. I have to confess, George. You usually lose me by the third paragraph every time. If you ever are going to say something new, say so in the first couple sentences and I’ll read on.

            1. As I surmised; the facts are inarguable.

              Thank you for your concession; I do appreciate it.

              May we now eliminate in perpetuity generational welfare, affirmative action, etc.

              The slaves said they wanted freedom; they actually wanted “free stuff.”

              In the end it’s sad, isn’t it.

            2. Once you get hooked on the “heroin” of generational welfare and affirmative action it’s very difficult to get off.

              Self-reliance is impossible for addicts.

              The sticky wicket is convincing anyone that the freed slaves of British planters are the burden of American taxpayers.

        2. @enigmainblackcom

          As a (white, blue eyed) Australian, I watch with interest the Ahmaud Arbery case.

          It was on the news again last night here.

          I’m just flabbergasted that this type of inherent and implicit racism still exists in your country

            1. Freedom of speech, thought, religion, belief, assembly, segregation and every other conceivable natural and God-given right, freedom, privilege and immunity per the 9th Amendment are provided to Americans by the Constitution.

              That you don’t like the Constitution, does not abrogate the Constitution.

              That you can’t function without generational welfare, affirmative action, etc., does not bear.

              Please cite the Constitution where choice, opinion, discrimination, “racism,” etc., are prohibited.

              1. “Please cite the Constitution where choice, opinion, discrimination, “racism,” etc., are prohibited.”

                I can’t do it. Racism is an inherent part of the Constitution. Must be why you love it so,

                    1. Enigma,

                      I periodically confront George about his endless lies and bigotry.

                      I also sometimes warn other commenters about George’s extreme bigotry, as I did recently with Darren: https://jonathanturley.org/2021/10/27/texas-history-professor-fired-for-criticizing-mike-pence-files-first-amendment-challenge/comment-page-1/#comment-2132244

                      But mostly I ignore George. I believe that he is psychologically ill. He copies and pastes the same comments over and over ad nauseam. I see his name, and it tells me not to waste my time reading the comment.

                      What is the point of responding? He is intellectually incapable of having a truthful discussion about any of it.

                      I also generally ignore some other people here who I believe are psychologically ill, like Oky1 and n.n.

                      What kind of response do you want to see to a psychologically ill, extremely bigoted (racist, sexist, xenophobic, …), closed-minded person like him?

                    2. I mostly ignore George, but he speaks a truth most here won’t acknowledge. Even those who supposedly wanted to end slavery, wanted to ship the freedmen off to Liberia and/or Central America (that includes Lincoln). There are many provisions in the Constitution, without expressly mentioning slavery that were designed to preserve it. George may be limited to a few actual facts but the few he spouts, most here don’t acknowledge. In some areas, George is more honest than those with no knowledge of American history that spout what they believe it to be or perhaps read in a Texas schoolbook.

                    3. Someone, I meant to commend you for standing up to George but I read many of the following comments and almost went insane. I admit I could miss some of those including yourself that occasionally call George out. I am wrong to say because I never, ever, see it that it doesn’t exist even though minimally.

                    4. Is it safe to say that you are free speech deniers?

                      Is it safe to say that you are terrified of the truth?

                      Is it safe to say that you believe in oppressive and tyrannical dictatorship?

                      Is it safe to say that you require communistic and unconstitutional redistribution of wealth and social engineering to perpetuate your existence?

                      The American thesis is freedom and self-reliance.

                      It’s merit that matters.

                      Whatever will you do without unconstitutional generational welfare, affirmative action, etc.?

                      Whatever will you do when the playing field is leveled and no longer favors you with advantages?

                1. You haven’t cited the Constitution yet; your first love is the Communist Manifesto.

                  You are a direct and mortal enemy of the United States of America.

                  Imagine, the Justices of the Supreme Court swear an oath to support the Constitution.

                  You must hate Justices as you hate the Constitution.

                  All Americans are free to hold opinions and speak on race and every other subject.

                  All Americans are free to make choices which, by definition, constitute discrimination.

                  You are free to be racist against Americans, as you are.

                  You take advantage of unconstitutional laws providing generational welfare, affirmative action, forced busing, etc.

                  The Constitution favors no citizen and provides freedom to all citizens.

                  The Constitution does not provide generational welfare, affirmative action, forced busing, etc., those “entitlements” are provided illegally.

                  You are a law denier; you hate American fundamental law.

        3. “They silently wish that everything stays the same racist way.”

          Enigma, why do you continue to promote racism.

          “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

        4. Very bizarre argument. The first person to die in the american revolution was black.

          This country may have mistreated people by race – but you were not even free to live in most countries in the world if you were a different race until very recently, and still most countries are more restrictive than the US.

          Nor do I understand why ANYONE must add the disclaimer above – everyone in this country has been taught the significant good and bad facets of our history since the 70’s or earlier.

          Original ism has nothing at all to do with race. It is not even specifically tied to our founders.

          Original ism is the premise that laws and constitutions are understood to mean what those who ratified them intended.

          The body of the constitution and the bill of rights would be as our founders intended, but the reconstruction amendments would be understood as those immediately following the civil war intended. While the 25th amendment would be understood as it was when it was ratified in 1967.

          Original ism is merely a logical principle to assure that laws and constitutions have a single clear meaning.
          We are always free to change that meaning by amendment the constitution – or starting over.

          Nor is this limited to the constitution. The Clean Air act means what it did when enacted in 1963 – and each amendment to it – what it meant at the time that was enacted.

          Again if you are unhappy with the results original ism produces – amend the constitution or pass new law.
          Then it will be read as YOU intend – if you are successful.

          Regardless, the rule of law rather than the rule of man requires that constitution and law must have one clear meaning.
          If you have a system that acheives that, present it.
          But the rule of law requires that the law must have clear meaning.
          Otherwise we are lawless.

          1. ” everyone in this country has been taught the significant good and bad facets of our history since the 70’s or earlier.”

            This whole issue of Critical Race Theory is about who decides what is significant (and not hurting white people’s feelings). I doubt any school in America is teaching a comprehensive, realistic version of American history. But you say they do so it must be so.

    3. Enigma:

      People across the nation were outraged and very upset at the Flint water scandal. This narrative that people don’t care about what happens to black families is counterproductive and not accurate. I care very deeply about kids having access to clean drinking water and a quality education. What I don’t care for is putting kids into boxes based on skin color.

      I actually think the decision involving piping known polluted water to Flint is criminal, though I’m no attorney.

      Your implication that Turley is racist is not ethical. Turley very clearly condemned the Flint drinking water scandal at the time. False accusations of racism have become so common that they are mostly now ignored. Used to be if you accused a professor of racism there would be shock and an investigation. Now, most people figure it’s just another false allegation and move on. The word “racist” has devolved to meaninglessness.

      Please come join the American community in fellowship and stop insisting we don’t care about you because of your melanin. Most of us care about character, behavior, actions…if someone’s a good person. The outside trappings – wealth, beauty, skin, have no correlation as to whether someone is a good person.

      Don’t be the SNL church lady who sees Satan everywhere.

      1. I am criticizing Turley for feeling nobody should be held responsible. State officials from the Governor down to the appointed city manager knew the decision they made to change the water supply was poisoning the people and they all covered it up. I nowhere called him racist for that though he is protecting those who did make racist decisions. If the same water conditions existed in Mar-a-lago and Black officials let them suffer and die, would they be liable. Decide for yourself whether Turley is racist in covering for them.
        Now I have criticized Turley for covering for racists inn the past. His assertion that nothing about the 2nd Amendment has anything to do with race when much of it had to do with the protection of slave patrols? (Google: Patrick Henry and 2nd Amendment). He ploclaims often that this action or another had no basis in race. He makes it easier for racists to pretend or gives them another motive to cling to. Is Turley racist? Maybe yes maybe no. Does he make it easier for racists? Absolutely. When it comes down to it, what’s the difference. If he makes a racist outcome more palpable, he serves a racist cause.

        1. Do you have supporting evidence for accusing Turley of not wanting anyone held responsible?

          You said it’s ok as long as it’s black families dying, which would require racism. Selectively wanting black kids to die is avoid as racist as possible.

          I agree with you that a great many people in the Flint decision tree made callous choices and should be held responsible. Some of those decision makers are black. Did they target black people on purpose, or did they succumb to the general lack of accountability in government?

          Have you ever considered that maybe most white people are not bigoted about your skin, and instead care most about character and behavior in those they meet? Have you ever considered your own prejudices against white people?

          1. Turley’s articles on the subject dating back at least as far as 2016 are the proof. He provides the justification to hold nobody responsible. The decision to change the water supply was made on purpose, knowing they had taken the decision away from the mostly Black officials. They did it in a mostly Black city with that fact well known.
            I don’t know if most white people are bigoted and racist. I am certain that enough of them stand by and watch racists do what they do and do nothing to stop it or find some non-racist justification as they look away.

            1. Enigma:

              I’ve read the same articles you have, yet I do not recall Turley ever saying there should be no accountability.

              In this current article, he appears to take issue with wasting money on a wrongful termination suit that could have gone towards fixing the problem.

              From the article you posted:

              Darnell Earley

              “After seven years as emergency manager in Saginaw and a former stint as both Flint city administrator and temporary mayor, Earley was appointed to oversee Flint in September 2013.

              During his tenure, Earley oversaw the decision to change the city’s water source to the Flint River in what was designed to be a short-term, cost-saving move in April 2014. Instead, the switch triggered the city’s water crisis, leading to elevated levels of lead, bacteria and total trihalomethanes in water and raising questions about a tie to Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks in Genesee County.

              Prosecutors claim Earley acted despite knowledge that the city’s water treatment plant, which had not been regularly used for decades, was not equipped to handle the job.

              Earley is charged in his role in the Flint water crisis with false pretenses, conspiracy to commit false pretenses, misconduct in office and willful neglect of duty, and special prosecutor Todd Flood has also announced his intent to have him bound over on a charge of involuntary manslaughter after his preliminary examination, which is scheduled to start next month…

              2014

              In April, Earley authorizes the city to separate from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department and eventually switch to using the Karengnondi Water Authority, connecting to the Flint River in the interim.

              Council members voted 7-1 on March 25, 2013, to switch from Detroit water to the KWA, but never approved using the river as the interim water source for the city of Flint.

              A March 13, 2014, order signed by former Emergency Manager Gerald Ambrose for a water main cut-in at the water plant cleared the way for the switch to the river, according to emails released previously by the state Treasury.

              Water quality complaints began to pour in almost immediately from city residents following the switch.”

              Darnell Earley is a black man. He made crucial decisions that put contaminated water into people’s faucets. He wasn’t the only decision maker, of course, but he certainly played a major part. Why do you keep couching this as some kind of extermination effort by white people against blacks, instead of gross incompetence?

              You do know that white people have had their water contaminated, too, right? The whole Erin Brokavitch thing? It’s the poor, often in rural areas, who end up with tainted water and toxic waste sites. They lack the financial resources to litigate…until and unless there comes a mass class action that makes all the lawyers rich.

              This. Isn’t. About. Race.

              You said, “I don’t know if most white people are bigoted and racist. I am certain that enough of them stand by and watch racists do what they do and do nothing to stop it or find some non-racist justification as they look away.” If you have a negative view of an entire race, in general, then that meets the definition of racism. Ironically, you share a bit in common with George, flip sides of the same coin.

              Enigma, I like to read your contributions to the blog, and you do seem to want to improve conditions for people. Where I cannot agree is your insistence on denigrating white people in general, and the constant allegations of racism without supporting evidence. I don’t think you even realize how often you do it, as you seemed a bit surprised when I questioned your implications of Turley. It is so ironic that you fight racism, while experiencing a bit of that flaw, yourself.

              It would be sad if you judge white people you meet in person poorly due to race, and perhaps let that hinder possible friendships and meeting of minds.

              Hopefully you evolve and stop seeing white people as such a threat to you. We are all one people, and there is no American race.

            2. ” I am certain that enough of them stand by and watch racists do what they do and do nothing to stop it or find some non-racist justification as they look away.”

              Enigma, do you mean they look away like Democrat politicians while Antifa and BLM are rioting, destroying cities and killing people?

        1. Enigma:

          Congratulations. You’ve reached level one in the quest to become a conservative. You understand that government tends to be unaccountable and too often accomplishes little. Unlike a private company, which fears lawsuits, government tends to promote and protect those who commit wrongdoing. (See VA Scandals.)

          Before you know it, you’re going to start arguing for more accountability in government, and less government overreach.

          A toast to your progress, sir.

          Oh, and everyone still cares about the tainted water in Flint, even when it’s not in the news cycle. Try asking a mom’s group what they think about poisoned water in taps.

          1. There are things “conservatives” used to at least say they believed in I could agree with. Most government overreach is designed to benefit the few with enough money to buy influence. Are huge tax cuts that benefit almost exclusively the rich conservative? Turning citizens against each other to get abortion bountys? Voter suppression, gerrymandering, and redistricting to produce specific results. You could make a good point of saying Democrats have suppressed votes, maybe even invented suppressing minority votes. But Republicans are currently the overwhelming perpetrators, calling themselves patriots as they do so. I don’t have a problem with conservatives, never have. Those doing racist things in the name of conservativism are a problem.

  11. Only mistake I see here, his legal group should have said their client was an illegal immigrant. They could have increased the payout to $450,000 or $1,000,000?

      1. enigma says: “The 90+ dead people wasn’t a problem?”
        That’s a question for your Dem Governor Gretchen, not me.

        1. When it happened it was a Republican Governor and the Republican appointed City Manager that voided the power to the elected officials. If it had been a process governed and covered up by Democrats. They should have gone to jail as well. You are more interested in defending Republicans than the people that were killed by their decisions.

        2. Margot, you’re the one who claimed to only see “only [one] mistake.” Enigma’s response is wholly appropriate.

              1. They say “could be”. Lots of things “could be”. It also “could be” that the water isn’t killing people. Look at the graphs in your NPR article and you will see that infection rates were much higher in the control cities at times.

                  1. You went from 90 to 12.

                    What 12 Michigan acknowledged is likely due to a political diagnosis rather than a medical diagnosis.

                  2. About 60% of the Legionnaires cases were linked to a single hospital. No case was ever directly linked to the water.

                    This is a Jussie Smollett issue for you. Misplaced racial grievance. I think you would complain about chocolate ice cream.

                    1. Apparently that about 60% of the cases can be traced to a single hospital and not one case can be directly linked to the water makes no impression on you.

                      Come to think of it, when you claimed that only children of American slaves were deemed slaves and that happened no where else, you disappeared when I gave you links showing the same was true of white slaves in ancient Rome and Greece and true also of children of European serfs.

                      You sustain your positions by turning your face away from the truth.

  12. Lead leaching into the water….perhaps that is an explanation of why Michigan Voters make such choices in the politicians they vote into office….like Whitmer for example.

  13. And another example of corruption in politics becomes visible.

    Our government leaders keep playing us for suckers.

    And we are for reelecting them.

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