Detroit’s unelected Emergency Manager Keyvn Orr has returned authority over the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department and its board of commissioners to the Office of the Mayor, which immediately announced plans to drastically scale back the aggressive water shutoffs and approach missing payments more humanely. This is a crucial victory for activists fighting the UN-condemned shutoffs, after more than 14,000 homes lost their water access in the past several months.
Water officials began an aggressive shut off campaign in March, disconnecting 500 customers that month. More than 3,000 lost service in April and about 4,500 in May.
The shutoffs topped 7,200 in June and the water department collected $800,000 last month compared to about $150,000 in June 2013.
Mayor Mike Duggan has said water department officials could have been more sensitive in how they handled delinquent bills and the increased shutoffs. He promised Tuesday to have a “new plan shortly” on how to deal with the issue.
“I’ve heard complaints from many Detroiters who are trying to make payment arrangements, but who have faced long waits on the telephone or long lines at the DWSD offices,” Duggan said. “We’ve got to do a much better job of supporting those who are trying to do the right thing in making those payment arrangements.”
Previous Arsenal For Democracy coverage of this story can be found here.
In a deeply wrong-headed and immoral approach to close a budget gap, the water authority for the City of Detroit is still shutting off thousands of households’ public water access, claiming they have not paid up. In many cases the landlords have not paid through the rent contribution to the water bill, but either way, it’s reprehensible to shut off water to low-income families who are already barely scraping by. Now they can’t cook full meals, wash dishes, bathe, or stay hydrated. There’s no drought or natural disaster. It’s just budgetary.
We covered this crisis in depth on Arsenal For Democracy Episode 90 —
Part 2 – Bill and Persephone on Detroit Water Shutoffs:
Part 2 – Detroit – AFD 90
As an update, activists are now engaging in civil disobedience to try to halt the public water shutoffs, which have been condemned by the United Nations office for Human Rights.
See also: “Detroit’s Water Cutoffs: Counterproductive and Coldhearted” by Detroit-area U.S. Rep. John Conyers, on why this strategy makes no sense in addition to its basic cruelty.
Topics: Buffer zones, search and seizure, recess appointments, and Detroit water shutoffs, plus Jameis Winston and the flaws of college athletics. People: Bill, Sasha, Persephone, Greg, Nate. Produced: June 28-30, 2014.
– Detroit begins shutting off water for thousands of poor people
– The Supreme Court rules against abortion clinic buffer zones
– The Supreme Court rules that cell phone searches require warrants
– The Supreme Court blocks President Obama’s unconstitutional recess appointments
– Is Jameis Winston everything that’s wrong with college athletics in America — but not the way people think?
Part 1 – Supreme Court:
Part 1 – Supreme Court – AFD 90
Part 2 – Detroit Water Shutoffs:
Part 2 – Detroit – AFD 90
Part 3 – Jameis Winston:
Part 3 – Jameis Winston – AFD 90
To get one file for the whole episode, we recommend using one of the subscribe links at the bottom of the post.
– Reuters: U.S. high court curbs state limits on abortion clinic protests
– AFD: Supreme Court says cell searches require warrants
– Flashback to Salinas v. Texas (2013) on “right to remain silent”
– NYT: High Court Finds Against Obama in Recess Case
– Previous coverage on AFD Radio – Recess appointments case: AFD Ep 36 (Jan 29 2013)
– Detroit News: Groups seek UN aid for Detroit water shut-offs
– Rep. John Conyers: Detroit’s Water Cutoffs: Counterproductive and Coldhearted
– Michigan Radio: Welfare rights group backs UN criticism over Detroit water shutoffs
– CityLab: Outraged Canadians Report the Detroit Water Authority to the UN for Human-Rights Violations
– Michigan Live: U.N. panel calls Detroit water disconnection ‘violation of international human rights’
– Deadspin: Who Does Jameis Winston Think He Is—Joe Namath?
– Deadspin: FSU Athlete Explains Why Jameis Winston Allegedly Stole Food
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