Rick Snyder owes a lot more to the kids who were poisoned by his governance


An apology must be just the beginning of the investment that must be made to rebuild the city

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This week the people of Flint, Michigan finally got an apology from the governor who appointed both the Emergency Manager who approved the poisoning of the city’s water and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality officials who dismissed citizens’ “perfectly legitimate scientific concern” about the water.

He also accepted the resignation of two of MDEQ employees. More should be on the way.

His “very sorry” will do nothing to avoid the permanent damage to kids’ IQs and emotional stability that is likely because the city’s water simply wasn’t properly treated and, rather than accept that reality, the state covered it up.

Here’s some background on the negligence in Flint from Al-Jazeera:

Melissa Harris-Perry reported on the governor’s apology on Tuesday as she sat in for Rachel Maddow.

Her commentary focused on how Snyder refused to take any accountability for a crisis that was created entirely by the undemocratic Emergency Manager regime and carried out exclusively by people who reported entirely to Rick Snyder — until Maddow and others directly called the governor out.

Now Snyder has accepted some responsibility — during the one week a year that people are least likely to be paying to attention to the news.

The MLive Editorial Board recommended this course of action:

  • Drop executive privilege and release all of his communications on Flint water.
  • Request an investigation from the U.S. Attorney’s office so that subpoenas can be issued.
  • Replace every lead water service line in the city of Flint.
  • Start a process for compensating families whose children have elevated levels of lead in their blood.
  • Return Flint to local control.

On the Maddow show, Congressperson Dan Kildee demanded more than an apology and more than people losing their jobs. He specifically called for early childhood education to “offset” the damage that has been done to the kids of Flint.

Flint is a city that has suffered the worst of the deindustrialization of America and the conservative cuts and intentional deprivation of our tax base that have savaged our cities. Kildee points out that the damage to the city’s kids is only compounded by the further damage that has been done to Flint’s decimated image.

A commitment to do everything he can to mitigate the damage his policies have done is not enough from Rick Snyder. He must commit to rebuilding a shattered city that has only been more afflicted by his radical, undemocratic approach to governing.

The governor has made it clear that when it comes to this crisis he will continually do the least he can do. We must make it clear that that is not enough.