Back in March of this year, the city of Flint announced that it intended to file a lawsuit against the state of Michigan in the Court of Claims over the poisoning of the city’s drinking water with the powerful neurotoxin lead. There were no immediate plans to do so but they needed to be on record so that option remained open.
This past week, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver made it known that they did, in fact, plan to file the lawsuit. That’s when Shortly after that, the Receivership Transition Advisory Board, the oversight board that is still the de facto government there, sprang into action and changed to rules to prevent Flint from moving forward with the suit, a move that only became public this week.:
Days after Flint Mayor Karen Weaver served notice that her city might file a lawsuit against the State of Michigan over the Flint drinking water crisis, the state removed Flint’s ability to sue.
Though Flint has not been under a state-appointed emergency manager since April 2015, the state still exerts partial control over the city through a five-member Receivership Transition Advisory Board, whose members are appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder.
The board moved quickly to change the rules under which Flint is governed so that the city cannot file a lawsuit without first getting approval from that state-appointed board.
In other words, Flint cannot sue the state without getting the state to sign off on it first.
That’s how democracy works in Michigan if you don’t toe the line established by our patriarchal Republican “leaders”. Make no mistake, the state may be moving away from Emergency Managers – they’re now called school Chief Operating Officers in some places – but Emergency Management is alive and well all the same. When local governments and school districts are not allowed to make their own decisions, democracy has been revoked in favor of a state takeover.
It may be technically legal but it sure isn’t “American” in spirit.