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View Diary: Detroit activist slams reporter on air for lying about water shutoff to thousands (308 comments)

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  •  I remember that scene in the Blues Brothers (38+ / 0-)

    where Cab Calloway goes

    "Shit. What's one more old n** to the Board of Education"

    Kind of sums up how Orr and Snyder feel about the poor in Detroit.

    "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Tue Jul 08, 2014 at 10:16:08 AM PDT

    •  Did that reporter (39+ / 0-)

      actually say people would rather pay to keep their cable tv than their water?
      Unbelievable!  

      "American conservatism is still, after all these years, largely driven by claims that liberals are taking away your hard-earned money and giving it to Those People. " Paul Krugman

      by yippee ki yay on Tue Jul 08, 2014 at 12:09:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You know what? (34+ / 0-)

        Maybe there are poor people who can afford to pay their water bill but choose to spend the money on something else, whether it's a necessity or a "want." Hell, I know people who barely make their rent money but can't live without their cigarettes no matter how expensive they get. Some people are dumb or indifferent or inept or addicted and they make bad choices.

        BUT...for a reporter to use that line as a means of diffusing the outrage for all the people out there who can't scrounge the money for their water bill together - the idea that if some people have poor priorities they must ALL have equally poor priorities - that is appalling. And to do so without acknowledging the more well-to-do who can afford to pay water bills but choose not to.

        We now live in a country where we can't have any gun laws because hey, why should honest Americans have to be penalized because of crazies and criminals who would abuse the system, but we'll punish the poor and deny them water - a thing that, last I heard, you need to live - on the grounds of hey, there are some criminals and crazies taking advantage of this service so let's lump everyone who can't pay their bill in with the criminals and the crazies and make them suffer.

        Man, Detroit is boned

        You know you're winning a fight against a Republican when they stop mocking your position and start whining about your tone.

        by slappymagoo on Tue Jul 08, 2014 at 01:36:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Curious... (25+ / 0-)
          the idea that if some people have poor priorities they must ALL have equally poor priorities - that is appalling.
          When it's bankers crashing the world economy, in contrast, it's "a few bad apples."

          Here is a test to determine whether you've achieved your mission on Earth: If you're still alive, you haven't. (Richard Bach, Illusions)

          by roosterbear on Tue Jul 08, 2014 at 03:50:58 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Used to Be (12+ / 0-)

          they'd say these people all drove Cadillacs----now they all have cable.  SS different extravagance.  Welfare Queens revisited.  Why do they let these A-holes on the air at all?  Why not just give Ms Taylor air time to advocate for the poor?  Well, that would be one-sided, I suppose, and deny the other side their chance to vent about imagined flagrant leachery!

          I don't know about anybody else, but I'm greatly ashamed that this country was called out by the UN.  We have sunk to third world depth for sure.

          Enjoying the Age of Aquarius so far?

          by sendtheasteroid on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 05:05:57 PM PDT

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        •  I live in a Detroit suburb and (7+ / 0-)

          have followed this story with great interest. Since the Detroit water department has had a policy not to shut off water for non-payment for many years, that has allowed homeowners to make a choice when money is tight:  who's going to punish me more if I don't pay? The doctor or the water dept? The cable co or the water dept? I can see how over time, people would have to make those decisions and I can see why they would choose DWSD, since no penalty was being imposed. (And idiots like Hank Winchester interpret that to mean they don't WANT to pay their water bill).

          Now, having so many people and business in arrears (note that businesses made the same decisions more crassly not to pay for water to help their bottom line), the City finally wakes up and says "hey, we should have gotten this under control a long time ago."

          My husband happens to work at one of the suburban water departments and the choice of that community is also not to shut off water for non-payment, however, the arrears amount is eventually applied to the tax bill. Now Detroit is having a hard time collecting its taxes too, but at least there is a chance when/if a home changes hands that the accrued late water bills will be paid. Doesn't help the cash flow, I know, but doesn't put the burden of NO WATER on the public either.

          The fact that the water department is going to work with people to make partial payment or a payment plan is a good thing. Then they might be able to get this situation under control by, maybe, assessing a minimum payment amount that would keep the water running. It's a tough situation and the city has so many of them, Kevyn Orr has done a terrible job of prioritizing them and Snyder is a hypocrite who won't pay the city money that was promised to it by the State. Bah Humbug!

          •  Will see more of this (0+ / 0-)

            Don't be surprised if we see in other major cities what is happening in Detroit. We are in the cancer stage of Capitalism/Consumerism. Now you might ask yourself is he advocating socialism? Before I answer that I will a very brief history on how that word became maligned in this country. During the beginning of the the 20th Century up through WW II, socialism was actually a very popular concept and had begun taking hold in many parts of the U.S. Mainly because there was a big problem with poverty. What made it an evil word was the Capitalist class of the time who were worried that their way of life would be threatened if (gasp) the majority of the population was better off financially. It's not as easy to control us if we were uneducated peasants. Well then, along came Hitler and the Nazis who happened to have the word socialist in their party name. Funny, many of the wealthy elite of the time like Henry Ford, Prescott Bush and the Rockefellers were closet fascists and actually bankrolled the Nazis. After WW II the new enemy was the USSR.  It also had socialist in there party name and because of the term association the elites were able to get the public on their side in denouncing socialism.

            The thing is by paying taxes and having taxes fund our roads, police, fire military (not to mention giving a start to the internet) we already live in a semi socialist country.

      •  Not just this reporter (26+ / 0-)

        The wingnuts are spouting that lie, too.
        They probably heard it from Faux news or other reporters that are spreading that lie.
        Has anyone heard why they aren't going after the corporations that haven't paid their bills?  

        "Americans don't understand that terrorists cannot take away habeas corpus, the Bill of Rights, or the Constitution. Terrorists are not anything like the threat that we face from our own government in the name of fighting terrorism."

        by snoopydawg on Tue Jul 08, 2014 at 01:39:25 PM PDT

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        •  Well OF COURSE I would rather have cable than (12+ / 0-)

          to be able to flush my toilet and take a shower! Who wouldn't??? /snark

          I haven't had cable for probably a year and we don't have good over the air reception. My only luxury is my internet. But if I had to could give that up for a while.

          What the hell is wrong with these idiot reporters?

          I do have to wonder why Obama is not doing anything about this situation.

          I take the phrase "Bleeding Heart Liberal" as a compliment...

          by Pixie5 on Tue Jul 08, 2014 at 08:31:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  that is a really good question (4+ / 0-)

            There seems to money for wars, spying, and giving our tax dollars to other countries, like the $3 billion we have given to Israel and countless other countries.
            There is plenty of money to train other countries military and give them arms.
            We gave Ukraine $5 BILLION dollars and helped with their coup that put the neo nazis in charge of Ukraine.
            Our fathers who fought against the nazis must be rolling in their graves.
            And it isn't just Detroit that is in trouble.
            There are the poor and unemployed that had the UE benifits cut, SNAP, WIC cut.
            And the biggest shame is the VA.
            The GOP has spent more money on hearings of Benghazi then the VA scandal.
            How many people are really better off after 6 years?  
            And then there is the foreclosure scam. Most of the money that was supposed to help them out wasn't spent.
            And the biggest POS legislation is that the Feds gave $85 billion to the banks every month.
            Then they gave their CEOs huge bonuses.
            Why isn't Obama helping the people in this country?  
            Many people say it is because the GOP blocks every bill, but it is funny that Bush never had the same problems Obama does.
            Now wait til the TPP passes, and see more people hurt.
            That act is treasonous, IMO, but this is on Obama, the greatest president ever!  

            "Americans don't understand that terrorists cannot take away habeas corpus, the Bill of Rights, or the Constitution. Terrorists are not anything like the threat that we face from our own government in the name of fighting terrorism."

            by snoopydawg on Tue Jul 08, 2014 at 09:12:28 PM PDT

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            •  I was actually thinking in terms of immediate help (9+ / 0-)

              but you have some good points about long term help. However Bush NEVER had the opposition that Obama has had. Trying to repeal ACA 50 times! Job bills that never got through! Obama could fart cross-wise in the wind and they all would scream "IMPEACH"!

              There are the poor and unemployed that had the UE benifits cut, SNAP, WIC cut.
               And the biggest shame is the VA.

              None of that is on Obama.

              I do agree that the Repubs keep wasting money on ways to get Obama and then they have the gall to call themselves "fiscal conservatives."

              And yes if we can give gobs of money to foreign countries then we can take care of our own.

              And no I do not think Obama is the greatest President ever, but he is far from the demonized picture that the Pubs paint.

              I take the phrase "Bleeding Heart Liberal" as a compliment...

              by Pixie5 on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 02:56:11 PM PDT

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            •  Don't forget ... (5+ / 0-)

              ... "My only priority is to make Obama a one-term President" or words to that effect - M. McConnell (R-KY) circa 2010.

              And they're doing everything in their power now to make him an ineffective President.  Agree - there are things he's done/not done that I disagree with but, have you considered the many wasteful projects pretty much out of his control?  Don't forget, the 'power of the purse' is in the hands of Congress, not the President.  And ANYTHING he does is met with scorn and vituperation from the right.  I like one commenter's saying: "If Obama were to walk on water, the Republicans (and Fox, Rush and their ilk) would deride him for not being able to swim."  Yes, he could be more forceful on the 'bully pulpit' but he's walking such a fine line with the nastiness that surrounds him - it's unconscionable.  Any

               *  50 or so attempts to repeal the PPACA (I forget the estimates but $50 million sticks in my mind for the cost)
               *  A 10th ()or so) Benghazi hearing estimated to cost us taxpayers another $3 million or so
               * ah, to hell with it - there are too many instances of purely vindictive, wasteful actions, most, if not all, at the hands of the Republican House.

              R. Galli
              Edison, NJ

              •  Same w/Clinton (0+ / 0-)

                Extremists discovered sliming, etc. works and so they continue to use the same tactics over & over again.   It makes it difficult for the prez & party to carry out goals/projects if so much energy has to be expended in fighting off attacks.

                So far, they do seem to have successfully propagandized a substantial portion of the US public that votes--although they've spent a huge amount of time (since some church leaders are also involved) and money doing so.   But then, thanks to our current tax code and underfunding of the IRS, corporations, think tanks, etc., have plenty of money to spend on lobbyists, etc.

                Somehow, after Bush II was "elected' --thanks to the Supremes-- (in one of their worst decisions since Dred Scott for deciding issues they didn't need to and decided badly), there was no need for a special prosecutor.    Couldn't subject a GOP prez to that kind of stress, I guess.  

                I've occasionally wondered since then, had the Bushes been subjected to the same kind of financial scrutiny, how much tax cheating, crony profits, etc., would've been revealed.   Never know now, although there were some indications of tax cheating, etc., during the campaign.   In addition to other issues.

              •  Some info about the cost of ACA repeal votes: (0+ / 0-)

                can be read here.  Multiply these costs by the total number of attempts.

                "If you want to make peace, you don't talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies." Moshe Dayan

                by TParrish on Fri Jul 18, 2014 at 05:43:45 AM PDT

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          •  Cable is cheaper than water in detroit. That (15+ / 0-)

            is part of the problem... average water bill in Detroit is $75.00, much higher than other areas in the state
            That would be hard for many people to pay but if you are low wage or unemployed it's near impossible
            For fun they increased the rates almost 9% effective July 1st.

            Boy are they making it easie for assigned manager to privatize the system.

          •  Duke power is dumping toxins (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MichaelNY, acornweb, bobcat41702

            into rivers and streams all over the place and I have a sinus headache. Why isn't Obama doing something about these problems? Please!

            Obama is not omnipresent ; we pay lawmakers to do their own jobs. Well, maybe with the do nothing congress that we pay, we want Obama to do  jobs he is not paid to do, and that he can not do because it would be illegal, especially with municipalities within states.

            The internet can provide basic information on the defined roles within Federal, state and local governments, but, laws and roles and function will vary , sometimes rather significantly, depending on the locality.          

            •  I was thinking in terms of a National Emergency (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              sendtheasteroid

              being declared. But the governor has to request it.

              How hard would it be for Obama to at least draw attention to this problem? He does that with other stuff. And yet as far as I know he hasn't even acknowledged this at all.

              Once there is national attention on this then it will force the governor to do something, either through the state government or requesting federal help.

              I take the phrase "Bleeding Heart Liberal" as a compliment...

              by Pixie5 on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 03:01:57 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  what can fed gov do (0+ / 0-)

              When Congress passed the CWA, it meant that many small towns in OR (including the coast, where I live now) had to meet stricter requirements regarding water/sewer (not that many of them quite managed it, but . . .).  
              To assist towns in meeting those requirements, which for many meant funding construction of sewage and water treatment plants, in the 1970's grants were available, through EPA, to assist in planning and construction.

              Now that that infrastructure's finally worn out, costs of water/sewer/storm water system fees have tripled in a number of rural towns in OR.   15%/year for the past 2 years where I live--and that's in addition to GO bonds that paid for a new water treatment plant to be built--completed around 3-4 years ago.  That's being paid via higher property taxes.

              Next year, the rate increase will be "only" 5%, as the city's decided it can do some of the financing via bonds (which 2 years ago, the city vociferously claimed it could NOT do at a hearing on the rate increases I attended--when I asked why some of the infrastructure improvement couldn't be financed by bonds).   Because this time, there doesn't seem to be any federal grant money available for a town of this size.  

              The base rate this year is $53.50/month.  That's before you pay for the water you've used over a certain amount.   Easy to get the bill up to $75+.    

              Median and average incomes in this area are not high, I believe the average is below the national average.   The city claims to be working w/people on lower incomes but I haven't verified the existence of any program.

              Last time I checked (probably a year ago) some federal grant money for sewer/water treatment facilities (upgrades, I think) was available for very small towns, up to 10,000 pop, I think.  

              The federal government can and has assisted with infrastructure issues.  

              I realize the issue is payment of a water bill, but at least here, when I pay the monthly water/sewer bill, I'm paying costs of maintenance, repair & replacement of the water and sewer systems.  That's in addition to paying for replacement of the water treatment system through part of my property taxes.  

              The federal gov't could definitely reduce MY sewer & water bill by providing grants for replacement and upgrading of these systems via grants, just as happened in the 1970's.    Instead, the money is wasted on F-35s, etc.

              Regarding Duke Power dumping--that would seem to be within the jurisdiction of the DOJ (and EPA's OGC) AND the state AG's offices of whichever states in which the polluted water is flowing or toxins being dumped.  

              It's MOST definitely part of the executive function to decide which corporations to prosecute, since the DOJ is part of the executive branch and the CWA (Clean Water Act) was passed by Congress, federal statute & all.  So it's up to the feds & states to enforce it--since corporate lobbying usually prevented citizens suit provisions and attorney fee shifting to fund same from being included in these statutes.  

              Does anyone remember Jefferson county, AL, mess?  The county where corrupt officials loaded up the county w/a huge debt to build a new sewage treatment plant (that darned CWA again!) because their greed & stupidity allowed one of the TBTF banks to con them (JP Morgan, iirc).  

              Last article I read about the area2011 Jefferson county declares bankruptcy, some of the lower income residents could not pay their water/sewer bills, so they were making do w/bottled water and portapotties.  

              Definitely NOT saying it's what people in Detroit should do--just that it's not only in Detroit that people aren't able to pay for basic services---partly because the cost has gone up.  

        •  Big money ... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ptressel

          ... haven't paid the bills because they're in 'dispute' according to reports I've heard.  However, unless the entire amount is in dispute (I've not heard one way or the other), then it would seem the undisputed portions should be paid (and that may well have happened).  What's particularly galling is the report that the State of Michigan (former slogan "The Winter-Water Wonderland') is $5 million in arrears.  Hard to believe that much is in dispute but even more ironic is the State installed an 'overseer' to handle Detroit's bankruptcy which, it would appear, the State is exacerbating!!!  I love Republicans - when they're not in office.

          [Please understand, the above is based on my personal understandings of what I'm fed by media reports and I have no knowledge of the details of what the moneyed crowd owes or what the bases of the disputes are.  Does that qualify me to make millions on Fox News while castigating the poor for being poor???]

          I gotta go - driving myself crazy - and it's a short drive ;>)  

          R. Galli
          Edison, NJ

      •  well... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ditsylilg

        if your water goes off you can get drinking water from somewhere else

        if your cable goes off there is no place else to get cable

        Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
        Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

        by TrueBlueMajority on Tue Jul 08, 2014 at 02:12:39 PM PDT

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      •  Yes! (0+ / 0-)

        I caught that too! WTH?



        Women create the entire labor force.
        ---------------------------------------------
        Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

        by splashy on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 03:22:42 AM PDT

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