Skip to main content

View Diary: Water Wars: A prologue (53 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Fair enough. However: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alwaysquestion, millwood

    With respect to trying to work with the water department: If I were the resident of a city that provided poor service, and calling a department official or my local elected rep resulted in no or little action, and little or no relief, at some point I'd give up that approach. Of course Detroit city government had problems of its own, but dysfunctionality tends to breed more of the same and set a tone for individual citizens. I would look at the plea to the UN as a political stunt, but one designed to suggest that state and local officials have dropped the ball too many times.

    By the way, Detroit may be an especially troubled case, but it's apparent more and more US cities have begun to face  similar problems: A hollowed out core, populated increasingly by under- or unemployed residents, many with health or physical problems, which in turn leads to more crime and the further decay of infrastructure. My own city, Milwaukee, has had continuing success in many respects, but thanks to the 2008 economic meltdown is now struggling with a huge (not by Detroit's standards but its own history) backlog of vacant, foreclosed homes. And when the feds came up with a nationwide settlement with one of the larger mortgage lenders, Wisconsin state government grabbed tens of millions of dollars intended as Milwaukee's share to rehab and recover, and stuffed most of that cash into the state's general fund instead, leaving the city uncompensated. In short: Snyder-style politics. It doesn't matter that most Americans now live metropolitan areas and that our cities are now the main respository of economic opportunity. Certain forces are all for letting urban centers and urban residents rot away.

    Also, the often hidden problem of decaying infrastructure has begun producing unusually large numbers of water main breaks in my city. Past mayors and councils deferred on much vital maintenance to keep property taxes low -- and to look good at election time -- but now we're looking at double-digit rate increases for water service in a too-late effort to start catching up on pipe replacement. Should only take a century or so. The whole country faces a similar problem with bridges, roads, rails, dams and more. Who ends up paying, both out of pocket and in terms of lousy service? The little guy.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site