Detroit

Maybe Rotary International Can Fund a Well Project for Detroit

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Grab a bucket
Credit: Bernt Rostad / photo on flickr

Business-oriented service club Rotary International raises money to fund projects to help build clean water wells for third-world citizens in Africa, Asia, and Latin America (example of their efforts here; full disclosure: I'm an extremely lapsed Rotary member from back during my newspaperman days).  Maybe we should consider sending them up to Detroit.

The latest news in the decades-long collapse of Motor City is that the Detroit Water and Sewage Department began cracking down on businesses and residents who had fallen behind on their bills, sending out tens of thousands of turn-off warnings. In May, the city cut off the water to about 4,500 residents. A spokesman for the department said that most of the affected people made arrangements to turn the water back on within 48 hours. But since then several local groups have essentially embraced Detroit's status as a third-world municipality and has called on United Nations for aid. From the Detroit Free Press:

The coalition stated in an 8-page report issued June 18 that it heard directly from people impacted by the shutoffs, who claimed they were given no warning.

"Sick people have been left without running water and working toilets," the report states. "People recovering from surgery cannot wash and change bandages. Children cannot bathe and parents cannot cook."

The coalition is calling for services to be restored and for state and federal agencies to help prevent a transfer of the utility's financial burden onto residents who are currently paying "exorbitant rates."

The news report unfortunately lacks any context about the claim of "exorbitant rates." Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) in the same story claims that water rates in Detroit have increased by 119 percent over the past decade, which, while it seems like a big number, I don't believe is actually out of line with what other municipalities have experienced. The Detroit water department offers this chart (pdf) showing their rates from 2010 being on the low end compared to other large municipalities.

Nevertheless, after the outrage and press coverage bubbled up, Detroit announced an $800,000 program to help low-income residents pay water bills. Part of the money will be paid for by a 50-cent charge on all water bills, though there have apparently also been private donations. They need to call Rotary in there to build some wells, guys!

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  1. I love how people who are actually paying the bills will get charged so people who are not paying can get service…

    1. From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

    2. Let’s double down on Socialism!

  2. As usual, with this .50 cent surcharge the suburbs who pay our water bill to that shit hole will fork out once again.

  3. Detroit keeps showing the world HOW IT’S DONE! Right on, The D!

  4. Oh come on! They live on the shores of one of the world’s largest freshwater lakes. If Detroiters want to get all 3rd worldy and call upon the UN, they might as well try the lugging the lake water back to their homes in 5 gallon jugs first. Because that’s how REAL 3rd worlders do it.

    1. A progressive in my Facebook feed asked why, with all of the water in the Great Lakes, Detroit had to shut off water. No, really.

      1. There seems to be lot of willful skipping over of the “not paying their bills” part.

        There was a protest several years ago (7+, I think, probably more like 10 or 15) about water bills last time they were shutting off water for people who weren’t paying.

        1. There seems to be lot of willful skipping over

          That’s SOP for progressives.

  5. Detroit Water and Sewer employs a Farrier (or at least used to).

    Also, I personally into some nice corruption with them several years ago. My organization was trying to sell them some software, and they agreed to buy it, then said that it had to go through their already established contractor, who would mark it up and sell it to them. That contractor was former mayor (in prison) Kwame Kilpatrick’s old buddy (also in prison). We made something like $700 on the deal. Entirely not worth the risk of waking up one morning and reading your name in the paper (that deal didn’t become a criminal issue, but others like it did).

  6. “Nevertheless, after the outrage and press coverage bubbled up, Detroit announced an $800,000 program to help low-income residents pay water bills.”

    I think a 2X4 is in order to get someone’s attention.
    Detroit’s problems are caused by ‘free shit’, so adding more ‘free shit’ isn’t gonna fix anything.

  7. Why didn’t they call Venezuela? Get one of the Kennedy’s on it.

  8. “”Sick people have been left without running water and working toilets,” the report states. “People recovering from surgery cannot wash and change bandages. Children cannot bathe and parents cannot cook.”

    Yeah? You think you have it *bad*?? Just IMAGINE how horrible it would be if this town were run by Republicans!

  9. I have it on good authority that this whole post is racist.

  10. Detroit is doing it’s best to prove Thatcher’s Maxim.

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