By Brandon Hall
Since Gov. Snyder took office, Democrats have played politics with the concept of emergency managers for local municipalities plagued with a history of problems and imminently facing a major escalation of those issues.
They ignored facts like Gov. Granholm employing the same amount of EM’s as Snyder, as well as the horrendous financial position municipalities that were “taken over” by EM’s had ended up in.
Failure to act would have led to greater problems not only for Michiganders across the state, but for residents of these communities. In 2012, the voters rejected an amendment to the Michigan constitution that would have expanded the power of EM’s, but the previous law remains.
Gov. Snyder deserves significant credit for trying to help parts of our state who needed it the most. He stepped up and, for the most part, has delivered. No reasonable person disputes the amazing comeback Michigan has had since 2009, and Snyder was rewarded with re-election as a result.
No, things aren't as great as they could be and Snyder is far from perfect. But in category after category it's clear: Michigan is the best shape it's been in years, "Comeback State" is more than just political rhetoric, it's reality.
However, in Flint, a far darker picture is beginning to develop.
Flint’s local government clearly deserved to be taken over after decades of incompetence and mismanagement. Unfortunately, Emergency Managers cycling through the city didn’t do much better.
Notably, Darnell Earley, now the EM for Detroit Public Schools, was formerly the Emergency Manager for Flint and was vital in the charge to disconnect from the Detroit water system to the Flint River’s.
“This is indeed the best choice for the city of Flint going forward,” he told MLive as the devil water started to flow in Flint last April...
We now know that Earley and Flint's other EM's, along with the Michigan DEQ, didn’t follow federal guidelines for water testing, ignored pleas by local residents time and time again, and even attacked whistle blowing Doctors who tried to shine light on what was happening.
The bottom line, regardless of some financial bright spots, is that the EM system failed Flint. It failed the kids and families there, it failed miserably. The "buck stops" with Governor Snyder, he sent the EM's to Flint and must act soon or begin to risk tarnishing his legacy.
While the director of the DEQ claims this is a learning experience and no one should be fired, a full investigation must take place immediately to get to the bottom of what the hell happened in Flint.
Maybe if we pretend Cindy Gamrat and Todd Courser poisoned the water or “hooked up” in the Flint River, we could get some answers.
Flint's kids deserve as much of an investigation as Farmington Hills or Royal Oak, the only question is, will they get it?
|Flint and DEQ officials celebrate the beginning of a switch to FLint River water...|
Absent an investigation, the Dems have finally found a winning card to play in the political battle over EM's. Is Snyder still "One Tough Nerd?" I think for the most part, yes. The situation in Flint moving forward will be immensely telling.
Brandon Hall is a lifelong political nerd from Grand Haven, and is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics.
>>>Email him at WestMiPolitics@Gmail.com