Former Detroit mayor said Michigan governors knew about Flint’s water problems
By Frederick H. Lowe
Kwame Kilpatrick, the former mayor of Detroit, claims Michigan governors Jennifer Granholm and Rick Snyder knew about Flint’s water problems long before they received national and international attention because of the water’s high lead content.
“Gov. Snyder is misleading people by saying he recently found about the issue,” Kilpatrick wrote in a Facebook post from a federal prison where he is serving 28 years for mail fraud, wire fraud and racketeering.”More than likely, he is being viciously, aggressively and deliberately untruthful.” Kilpatrick is appealing his sentence. He was Detroit’s mayor from Jan. 1, 1997 to Dec. 31, 2001.
Granholm was Michigan’s governor from 2003 to 2011.
He added that Gov. Granholm, Snyder’s predecessor, also was well aware of the issues with the Flint Water Department and their inability to produce contaminant-free water moving forward. He noted the state couldn’t afford the equipment and the technology to do so. Snyder has been governor since 2011.
Brookings, a Washington, D.C.-based research organization, said Flint has struggled to pay for needed maintenance on pipes and other facilities, which not only buckle under time and pressure in the form of widespread leaks, but also result in higher costs and declining water quality.
“As a result, Flint is now facing a total water bill of up to $1.5 billion and needs a host of different public, private and civic leaders to act to accelerate infrastructure improvements,” Brookins said.
The Detroit Water and Sewage Department talked about the problems of the Flint Water Department with respect to cleanliness, elimination of contaminants, mercury and lead levels, Kilpatrick said.
He noted that the problems with Flint’s water supply date back to 2004 despite Flint being with the Detroit Water and Sewage Department until 2014. Flint, a city of 99,000, is 60 miles northwest of Detroit.
In 2014, Flint began using drinking water from the contaminated Flint River instead of from Lake Huron, which supplies water to Detroit. State officials first denied that Flint’s water had high levels of lead that adversely affect people physically and mentally for decades.
Related article: Bernie Sanders calls for Michigan governor’s resignation over handling of Flint water crisis
Former Philly top cop named advisor to the Chicago Police Department
Charles H. Ramsey, former police commissioner of the Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., police departments, has been named senior advisor to the troubled Chicago Police Department.
In his role Ramsey will help guide critical civil rights reforms, including police interactions with people
suffering from mental illness.
An unnamed Chicago police officer recently shot to death Quintonio LeGrier, a 19 year-old undergraduate student, who was having a nervous breakdown.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness Chicago reports that 10 to 15 percent of the CPD has been trained to work with the mentally ill. NAMI has 13 more Crisis Intervention Team training sessions scheduled in the next six months.
In August, Cook County, IL, Sheriff Tom Dart and NAMI called on Ill. Gov. Bruce Rauner to restore funding for Crisis Intervention Team training.
Ramsey, a native of Chicago, has been passed over twice for the city’s top police job. In addition to serving as a consultant with the Chicago Police Department, he has been named a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Drexel University in Philadelphia, where he will continue to live.
He also has signed a seven-month consulting contract with the Wilmington, Delaware, police department as part of an effort to quell the city’s gun violence.
Cook County sheriff said state budget impasse hurting the mentally ill
Cook County, Ill., Sheriff Tom Dart and the National Alliance of Mental Illness Chicago recently denounced Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner’s inaction that forced Lutheran Social Services of Illinois to lay off 750 workers and close 30 social service programs because of the state’s budget impasse.
Mark Studrud, president of LSSI, recently announced the layoffs and closures because of the Gov. Rauner’s ongoing failure to secure a budget. The state currently owes LSSI $6 million. More than 4,700 people will lose access to care because of the cuts.
The program closures and staff cuts will have devastating effects on Cook County’s most vulnerable communities, particularly those living with mental illness and struggling with addiction. Several of the programs focused specifically on prisoner re-entry, helping non-violent inmates secure housing and develop marketable employment skills upon leaving the criminal justice system, according to Dart and Alexa James, executive director of NAMI Chicago.
Cook County Jail, which is located in Chicago, is nation’s largest mental health facility with 25 to 35 percent of inmates suffering from mental illness.