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Monday, June 23, 2014

Who will pay Detroit's water bill?

Here's a clever ploy. Elect inept and corrupt politicians for decades and when the price of city services such as sewer and water get to the point that half the population cannot afford them run to the United Nations, claim that access to drinking water is a human right and try to get the UN on your side to force out of town taxpayers to pay your water bill. This would free up cash in the family budget for cable TV and an essential data plan that isn't available with an Obama phone.
The City of Detroit is facing a major water crisis, gasps the Blue Planet Project in its report, Submission to the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights to Safe Drinking and Sanitation Regarding Water Cut-offs in the City of Detroit Michigan. The water crisis was brought about by Detroit's bankruptcy and the realization that Detroit's water and sewage departments only worked if customers paid their bills which has not been the case. When 90,000 delinquent accounts suddenly faced the decision to either pay up or get cut off water users were shocked. As cut-off notices went out complaints to Detroit People’s Water Board, (composed of AFSCME Local 207, Detroit Black Community Food Security Network, Detroit Green Party, East Michigan Environmental Action Council,Food & Water Watch, For Love Of Water (FLOW), Great Lakes Bioneers Detroit, Matrix Theater,Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice, Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute, Sierra Club and Voices for Earth Justice.) soared as did the hyperbole.
Catarina de Albuquerque, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation
"The Detroit People’s Water Board fears that authorities see people’s unpaid water bills as a “bad debt” and want to sweeten the pot for a private investor by imposing even more of the costs of the system on those least able to bear them."
"Given the utility’s lack of interest in cutting costs or generating revenues by collecting on the arrears of business users, fixing leaking pipes, and cutting off services to abandoned homes, the organization sees the crackdown as a ploy to drive poor people of color out of the city to facilitate gentrification – what the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization refers to as a “land-grab.'"
"Sick people have been left without running water and working toilets. People recovering from surgery cannot wash and change bandages. Children cannot bathe and parents cannot cook."
Gentrification? It's hard to use that word in the same sentence with Detroit and keep a straight face.  The fact that activists are pleading their case to the UN rather than to the Michigan Assembly or the Obama administration is probably indicative of the city's lost political clout.


  1. Let me just say it with a slight lisp. "Voi-ces for Earth Just-ice." "For Love of Wa-ter." Ssssssss.