A timeline of events, all perpetrated by the GOP, that resulted in Flint’s water crisis.
1. GOP Legislature enacts emergency manager law Act 4, expanding their power to appoint emergency managers. Voters repeal Act 4, Snyder does it anyway.
We begin our journey in March 2011, when a Republican-led Legislature passed Act 4 expanding the powers of emergency managers in Michigan. On November 7th, 2012 the voters of Michigan rejected Proposal 1 and repealed Act 4 by a margin of 53 percent to 47 percent. Republican governor Snyder responds:
I am disappointed because it does make life more complicated, I believe Public Act 4 was a good law. It was working well.
Then in spite of the voters of Michigan defeating the measure by a 6 point spread, Mr. Snyder and other state officials said emergency managers around the state would remain in place under the older emergency manager law. (Source)
2. The GOP Legislature enacts a new version of Act 4 without, and indeed against, voter referendum.
By December 27th, 2012… a mere 50 days after the voters of Michigan had made it clear they did not want Act 4 Emergency Manager law. The GOP led lame duck legislature had penned a new version, very similar to the one the voters had struck down. This time the GOP made the bill immune to voter referendum so the pesky voters couldn’t strike it down again. Despite this completely obvious subversion of the will of the people, good ole’ governor Snyder still had the audacity to lie and say:
This legislation demonstrates that we clearly heard, recognized and respected the will of the voters, […] It builds in local control and options while also ensuring the tools to protect communities and schools districts’ residents, students and taxpayers.
Governor Snyder then signed this into law, against the will of his constituency and in opposition to the votes they had cast just 7 weeks earlier.
So, not only did the voters of Michigan successfully vote against Act 4, they now had their ability to fight against emergency managers removed without a vote, in a lame duck session and signed into law against their will. (Source)
3. Governor Snyder steps into water dispute between Flint and Detroit, but fails to resolve the issue.
In April of 2013 a “water war” had escalated between the City of Detroit and Flint who bought their water from Detroit. Governor Snyder steps in to try and mediate the problem, but is ultimately unsuccessful. Detroit Water Authority issues a desist order to remove Flint from Detroit water, a decision that will have dire consequences when it is put into place 12 months from that fateful April. (Source)
4. Governor Snyder then appoints Earley as emergency manager for Flint.
By October of 2013 Snyder appoints Darnell Early as Emergency Manager for Flint. Eric Mays, a city councilman for Flint who was elected in November 2013 had this to say about Earley:
He was a gruff, nasty, arrogant, non-listening kind of guy, I’m kind of smiling because of what goes around comes around. Earley is getting the kind of questioning and scrutiny that he deserves, I can tell you in my mind, the buck stops with Earley. I can tell you 100 percent Earley wouldn’t listen.
I think it bears note that Mays wasn’t smiling because of what happened to Flint, but by the time he had said this Earley and several other GOP had been indicted for their crimes surrounding the crisis.
And of course, we now know that Earley would not listen. (Source)
5. Earley follows the decision his predecessor Kurtz (also GOP appointee) made about using the Flint river as an alternate water source.
In a letter than can be viewed here, it is quite clear that despite MANY lies from MANY GOP they were not responsible for the decision to switch to using the Flint River that Earley most certainly intended to draw water from the Flint River and would only continue to buy water from Detroit if his effort to secure water from the Flint River failed.
Now, I’ll not get too far into the weeds for this part as it is well documented. I think we all agree what happened and how. Where I see disagreement, and the point of this write-up is to expose WHO. But for the sake of completeness I’ll recap a bit.
The long story short is that Flint switched from Detroit water to Flint River water. The River water was not itself highly contaminated, however unlike Detroit water did not have chemicals in it to fight bacteria and anti-corrosives. Earley and other officials failed to understand these were needed. This oversight on anti-bacterial agents lead to an outbreak of Legionnaires disease because of untreated bacteria causing the deaths of at least 12 people. And the oversight on anti-corrosives caused Flints aged water infrastructure pipes to leach lead into the rest of the drinking water supply. (Legionnaires source) (Lead source)
6. Governor Snyder and Darnel Earley caught in a lie.
In a public address, Governor Snyder insists:
I’m sorry most of all that I let you down. You deserve better. You deserve accountability. You deserve to know the buck stops here with me.
The problem is that the buck did not stop with Snyder. By the time he made this speech he almost certainly knew that it was not Flint’s city council who had approved the move to taking water from the Flint River, but was instead his own appointee who did. So either he was ignorant of what his own appointee was doing, or he was maliciously lying. Either one does not speak very highly for a man who insists the buck stops with him.
Governor Snyder’s own timeline for the crisis states: “City of Flint decides to use the Flint River” however we no know that is false, and have every reason to believe Snyder knew this at the time he released his timeline.
The good people at MLive have laid out the case in much more detail, but the short version, and I say this without fear of losing a libel case is that GOVERNOR SNYDER REPEATEDLY AND INTENTIONALLY LIED ABOUT FLINT all while asking for “prayers” for the people of Flint. (Source)
The GOP forced emergency managers on Michigan against the will over the voter, these emergency managers served only fiscal targets and not the people, and because of this 12 people died and 90,000 people were poisoned by legislation they specifically voted against. The GOP then intentionally lied about their role in it. The prayers have helped just as much as the GOP have.
Other Noteworthy Timelines: