Yesterday, I wrote about evidence obtained by Progress Michigan that, despite his assurances otherwise, Gov. Rick Snyder has NOT, in fact, released all of his emails relating to the poisoning of Flint’s drinking water by his administration. Today, there’s more evidence.
In January of 2015, Democratic State Rep. Sheldon Neeley sent Gov. Snyder a letter asking for full or, at least, partial forgiveness of Flint’s water fund loan balance of almost $21 million. Neeley asked the governor to do this through executive decision so that Flint could “effectively apply those funds to rebuilding the city’s infrastructure, to competitively obtain highly qualified personnel and provide a more cost effective water delivery system.”
He continued, “With a cost-effective water delivery system, we will be able to improve our system in the following ways: upgrade wastewater treatment processes, improve safe drinking water upgrades, and maintain and sustain a water system that provides a better quality of water product to the citizens of Flint.
He finished his letter with this heartfelt plea:
Community health could be on the decline as citizens become afraid to even shower or bathe in their homes. The people of Flint bring bottles of brown water full of sediment and other foreign substances to community meetings, asking only to be treated human beings. That is all I am asking of you – to see the suffering and anger from people in one of Michigan’s municipalities and understand that there is a need to react and respond to this crisis.
You can read the entire letter HERE.
Rep. Neeley never received a response and, more importantly, Gov. Snyder did not include this correspondence in the emails related to Flint’s water crisis that were publicly released this week. Rochelle Riley of the Detroit Free Press reached out to Gov. Snyder’s office to ask about it. The conversation that ensued shows that the level of disinterest and the patronizing attitude of the people in Gov. Snyder’s administration has not abated since last summer when they derisively attempted to discredit whistleblowers who were bringing the situation in Flint to light, despite the national and international scrutiny they are currently facing:
On the telephone Thursday, the governor’s spokesman, David Murray, chuckled about the letter.
“Oh, I remember seeing that,” he said. He said he didn’t want to embarrass Neeley by pointing out that the letter — which was titled “Letter of Appeal for Flint” and was cc’ed to then Lt. Gov. Dick Posthumus, chief of staff Dennis Muchmore, Clyde Edwards and Kiersha Speech — went to the wrong address.
You see, Neeley sent the letter to [email protected], an e-mail address for constituents — regular people — that gets, Murray said, “thousands and thousands of letters” from, well constituents — the people who pay taxes, the people who include some who may have helped elect the governor, people with concerns.
Despite the fact that the letter had been emailed to the “wrong” address, Mr. Murray clearly saw it and remembered it since the letter from an elected state legislator was just so damned funny to him. Since the letter was not released with Gov. Snyder’s other emails this week, we’re left to surmise that one of three things occurred: (a) Gov. Snyder is lying and has not, in fact, released all his emails, something for which we already have evidence, (b) Mr. Murray didn’t deem a legitimate and serious request from an elected State Representative worthy of sharing with its intended recipient, Gov. Snyder, or (c) Mr. Murray was laughing so hard at the knee-slappingly hilarious plight of Flint residents that he plumb forgot to send the email along to Gov. Snyder, to whom the letter was addressed.
No matter which of these three things transpired, it’s disgusting and simply confirms what we already know: Snyder administration officials were detached from Flint’s problem at best and derisively dismissive of it at worst. And all along the way, they saw the problem as public relations issue, not a serious health and safety crisis.
Rep. Neeley released the following statement regarding his letter to Gov. Snyder:
More than a year ago, we knew something was wrong when the residents of Flint began seeing their water come from the taps in their homes cloudy and brown. We didn’t know it at the time, but this was the first indication that lead was leaching into the water supply for the entire community, causing a health hazard that has spurred Flint into the national spotlight and caused decades of health problems for our citizens.
It has been almost exactly a year since I began writing Gov. Snyder and his administration to address the problems Flint was facing, both in the safety of its water and the cost needed to make sure the new water system was functioning to a level fit for human consumption.
In that year, we have seen our children poisoned with lead-laced water with no cure available, while truckloads of bottled water rush into the community along with water filters to try and maintain some level of humanity for the people of Flint. If this problem was addressed a year ago when this letter was sent with the utmost importance, I believe corrective action could have been in place long before we reached this point.
I would suggest that David Murray be ashamed. However, given his disgusting flippancy in this matter, it’s clear that he has no shame. No shame at all.