Flint and America’s Corroded Trust


Sabrina Hernandez bathes her granddaughter, Hazel, with bottled water.

 

By: Charlie LeDuff/Mother Jones

It’s been the subject of protests and debates, but if anything is improving in Flint, Michigan, it’s hard for any of us on the ground to see.

One of the city’s lead pipes has been replaced for the benefit of the press, but more than 8,000 additional service lines are likely corroded and still leaching toxic lead. It took a mom, a pediatrician, and a professor in Virginia to discover Flint’s children were being poisoned. It took cable television to get the nation to give a damn.

And that’s not all. An outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease has killed at least 9 people and infected 87 others over the last two years. The state knew. The city knew. The county knew. The federal government knew. But the public was never told. Legionella bacteria may still be in pipes and hot-water heaters, waiting for warm weather to spawn. People are frightened in this hardscrabble town of 99,000 about an hour’s drive north of Detroit. And still, the government tells them nothing.

The city’s pipe inspector at the water plant won’t return calls.

The county health director won’t come to his door.

The mayor is busy in a meeting with Jada Pinkett Smith.

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder gives interviews assuring citizens that the water is now safe for washing and tells me he would bathe his own grandchildren in it. The governor has no grandchildren.

The iconic Vehicle City sign hangs over the entrance to downtown Flint.

On February 19, the Rev. Jesse Jackson led more than 500 people past abandoned General Motors plants to the Flint water tower in protest of the water crisis in Flint.

 

That irony is not lost on Sabrina Hernandez, a 39-year-old bartender who is helping raise her one-year-old granddaughter, Hazel. In January, state health inspectors came to the downtown bar where Hernandez works and instructed staff not to serve ice cubes or rinse lettuce with city water. Hazel, on the other hand? Well, go right ahead and rinse her off, the governor declares.

“It’s like living in a Third World country,” Hernandez says. “What are they going to do to us next? It makes you think, was this because we are poor?”

It would be easy to blame Snyder for this man-made catastrophe. And he does deserve much of the blame. Flint is the consequence of his bookish managerial style, his insistence on “relentless positive action.” And it was Snyder who stripped Flint’s mayor and City Council of power and replaced them with a string of emergency managers who had absolute authority over Flint’s finances and political decisions. It was Snyder’s emergency manager who, in a cost-saving measure, decided to go off the Detroit water system and pipe in water from the notoriously polluted Flint River instead.

Snyder knew the water was bad. Everybody knew the water was bad. E. coli and boil notices and mysterious rashes were immediately the stuff of headlines. Michigan officials began secretly trucking in water for a state building in Flint. The water from the Flint River was so corrosive that General Motors workers noticed it rusted their parts. After six months, GM switched its plant back to using Detroit water.

The Flint City Council soon voted to do the same, but the vote was ceremonial. The City Council had no real influence anymore. Jerry Ambrose—Flint’s fourth emergency manager in less than four years—vetoed the resolution, calling it financially “incomprehensible.”

Flint residents at an environmental rally at the First Trinity Missionary Baptist Church. Also in attendance was hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, one of many celebrities to visit the city after its water crisis made headlines.

Locals wait to enter First Trinity Missionary Baptist Church for an environmental rally with Mayor Karen Weaver and celebrity Russell Simmons. A number of high-profile celebrities have gone to Flint since the water crisis became national news.

Volunteers hand out free cases of water.

 

In fairness, Flint has a long history of being financially incomprehensible. In 2002, hollowed out by three decades of industrial decline, Flint had a $30 million operating deficit. The mayor was recalled and an emergency financial manager was installed. Even though power was returned to elected officials, the books were never balanced and the city routinely blew multimillion-dollar holes in its budget. The new mayor, accused of bribery and lying about the city’s finances, resigned for “health reasons.” Enter Snyder and his band of bean counters.

All the while, Detroit’s water utility was fleecing Flint, charging one of the poorest cities in the United States an average of $910 a year per household, nearly three times the national average. It is worth remembering that former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was sentenced to 28 years in federal prison for, among other things, bid-rigging in the water department.

Dusable Lewis, 18, showers in his house in northern Flint. Dusable lives with his mom and his son Dusable Jr., who is less than a year old. Until last month, the baby and his mother had been drinking the Flint water.

 

So in 2013, Flint’s civic leaders pushed for the construction of their own water system running parallel to Detroit’s. It wasn’t necessary; Detroit’s water was perfectly fine, if overpriced. But think of the jobs. Think of the money. The chamber of commerce wanted it. The trade unions wanted it. The contractors wanted it. The Democratic City Council rubber-stamped it. So did the Democratic mayor. And so, the Republican governor’s people signed off on the new multimillion-dollar water system even though Vehicle City was broke.

How would Flint pay for this redundant infrastructure when it had no money? Simple, borrow the money from Hazel’s future. Then raise her grandmother’s water bill—charging even more for the substandard Flint River water than for the Detroit water.

The savings to the city would be funneled back into upgrading Flint’s mothballed water treatment plant as well as provide a revenue stream toward the new water system. Just one problem—the necessary upgrades weren’t made to the old plant before people were served water from a river known as a dumping ground for corpses and car batteries.

After 18 months of denials from Snyder’s bureaucrats, Flint went back on Detroit’s water system in October last year. Hazel’s grandmother is still being overcharged. Of course she is: Those bond payments begin this year, and if Flint defaults it could create another financial emergency, and the city might once again go back into the hands of a Snyder-appointed emergency manager. Last week, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette indicted three mid-level managers for covering up the extent of the problem, and Synder promised to drink the water for a month to assuage fears. But public trust is already corroded.

The Flint River during a snowstorm. Many of the residents I spoke with couldn’t believe that the Flint River was even considered a source of water. It’s long had a reputation as a place to abandon cars, dead bodies, and pollutants.

Guests receive bottled water with personalized labels at a girl’s birthday party.

Police lights illuminate a sign warning residents that boiling water does not remove lead. These billboards can be found all over Flint.

 

Flint’s water crisis has become a symbol that resonates across America—but a symbol of what? Of working­-class decline? Disregard for a majority-black population? Bloated government? The push to cut and privatize public services? Even as Flint became front-page news and federal water safety protocols were exposed to be laughable, the Obama administration proposed slashing a quarter of a billion dollars from the Environmental Protection Agency’s testing budget to help meet spending cuts imposed by Congress. Experts warn there are many other cities—Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Newark, New Jersey, for instance—with water that is as bad or worse.

Is Flint an outlier or a harbinger of a Mad Max future of crumbling roads, joblessness, and poisoned water? One thing is for sure: The rage felt by the residents of Flint is little different from the rage felt in other quarters of America—the feeling that you’re losing ground, that the deck is stacked against you and the people on top don’t give a damn.

“I don’t want to sound like a conspiracy theorist or anything,” Hernandez says. “But it makes me wonder if it’s not intentional. This community, we don’t have a voice. Nobody listens to the poor people that are, you know, barely making it.”

PHOTOGRAPHS BY ZACKARY CANEPARI

Advertisements

Spain: Priest who dressed up as Hugh Hefner and simulated sex with male playboy bunnies seeks forgiveness


Priest who dressed up as Hugh Hefner and simulated sex with male playboy bunnies seeks forgiveness
The priest of Cuntis, Spain raised eyebrows with his carnival costume choice.
The parish priest from the Galician town of Cuntis has apologized for his “misguided” carnival costume which saw him posing on a float as the Playboy founder along with men dressed as Playboy bunnies.

Juan Carlos Martínez, 40, provoked more than raised eyebrows when he joined the town’s carnival festivities last week and posed on a float dressed as the legendary Lothario, complete with dressing gown, captain’s cap and cigar.

At his sides were two rather delectable companions: Two men decked in black leotards over stockings and a barely-there netting skirt and topped off with bunny ears over colorful wigs. Presumably they also had white cottontails pinned to their backsides.

View image on Twitter

The trio lounged on red satin sheets on a trailer made out to look like a bed in the Playboy mansion as they were towed through the streets of the town behind a 4X4 in the small town near Pontevedra in northwestern Spain.

At one point, “a bunny” leapt astride “Hugh” and simulated sex.

But while such costumes and high jinks are typical at carnival time, Catholic Church authorities were quick to express their dismay at such ill-advised antics.

Father Martínez was asked to attend a “spiritual retreat” to reflect on “behavior clearly inappropriate for a priest”, according to La Voz de Galicia,

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Although residents in the town of 5,000 people, appear not to be offended by the priest’s carnival display, and have spoken out to support him, the priest himself can’t stop apologizing.

“I am so sorry to those who feel offended,” said the repentant curate from the pulpit adding that he had requested an appointment with the Archbishop of Santiago to make a formal apology.

“Such things happen at carnival, it’s just a bit of fun,” one resident said in a TV report broadcast on Antena 3. “He’s a great priest and everyone loves him.”

When a senior priest came to the parish to admonish Father Martínez, he found dozens of residents had gathered outside his home to show their support.

“It’s great that he is well loved by the people he served,”  the senior priest Calixto Covo told La Voz de Galicia, adding that despite the displeasure of the Archbishop there would be no lasting consequences for Father Martínez.

Ready Set Strip: Jon Gosselin of “Jon & Kate plus 8” is now a Stripper


 

Image result for jon gosselin The 39 year old, reality star father of 8, has had a lot of jobs since the end of his reality show. Now he can add Atlantic City Stripper to his resume.

Gosselin will bare it all this Saturday in Atlantic City at  Dusk nightclub’s where he is part of the “Untamed Male Revue” show.

From Entertainment Tonight: I’m a member of the Senate DJ group and I also help with promotion. I DJ at the club sometimes, but I find promotion is more rewarding both financially and emotionally. I like taking care of people and making others feel welcome.” “Being part of something is a blessing,” he added. “Since I joined Senate DJ I’ve felt like I belong to something and I’m not just out there on my own — I feel as if I’m part of a fraternity or brotherhood.”

The Real Housewives of Atlanta:Baby Nups and Breakups


This episode was much do about nothing.  We began with Porsha,who bonded with boy toy possibly baby daddy Todd (not to be confused with Kandi’s Todd Tucker-however anything is possible before the reunion)in Hawaii who is drafting a baby nup. They have toyed with how the baby would look and other silly things couples as they are getting know each other. You’ve never heard of a baby nup?  Your not alone, this was from the mind of Ms Porsha Williams.

Phaedra,thinks Porsha is a bit cavalier about having a child and wants Porsha to think about the big picture. Porsha has always wanted a child, however her desire seem to increase after her sister Lauren had a child.   Porsha wants the baby daddy to be responsible for 50 percent of all expenses, education, and entertainment for the child and Porsha would have all the decision making power.  While I’m sure Porsha gave the baby nup a lot of thought. What she missed is the present.   Todd has children and when it comes to the matter income, he is currently unemployed. So who’s supporting those children?  Not the best start for a new child. After reading the draft, Todd bails.

Speaking of Phaedra and I wont speak long, she visits Cynthia for the first time at new home and they talk about the divorce party where she learns Porsha shared her secret about her finalized divorce with the other ladies.  Cynthia wants to repair the friendship between Cynthia and Kenya.  Good luck with that.  I not going to speak on the contrived Johnnie issue.  Really Phaedra Really?

Kandi and Todd meet with members of the Old Lady Gang, Mama Joyce, Aunt Nora and the wonderful Aunt Bertha who have made enough food to feed two generations of the Jackson’s.   They briefly talk about the opening of the OLG restaurant AND the Hawaii trip.  Nora says they never get invited to the trips and Aunt Bertha said,”Because they know we would eat those ho’s alive”  Bertha gives me LIFE!

Cynthia is preparing her fashion launch of her bag Cargo line in Atlanta.  Included in the show is Sheree’s handsome son Kairo who is exploring a modeling career.   At the first meeting we clearly see the young Whitfield doesn’t  know how to walk.  On the day of the show Kairo is an hour late.  Normally a model would be fired but this is her friends son AND no ones being paid.   Momiger, Sheree is complaining about the site an doesn’t appear too concerned with her son’tardiness.  Mama’s proud of her son, in his first fashion show in her eyes, he is the hit of the show. For the rest of us he well,sucks.

Kenya met with her cousin and talked about Hawaii and Matt. Not much to see here,  She meets with Matt at a Doggy store,  She feels he should stay in contact with the puppy because after all he is the “Puppy Daddy”  (you too?)

The big confrontation between Kenya and Matt was a dud…    Matt seems weepy and want’s Kenya to apologize.  Kenya is done (we can hope) and wishes him well. Please give Matt the damm dog and free us from this trifling shit.

 

Bring on the reunion (Please)

CityFella

 

.

He cried during…..


” I’m gonna fucking kill him” she screamed in the back of the Key West,Florida police car and she continued screaming in yelling on route to the station.

Key West, Florida is a great place to kick back and relax .Eric Hickman an 42 year old Orthodontist and his wife Jennifer a Dental Hygienist were on vacation from Mason, Ohio sitting by the pool drinking and enjoying the warm weather.

At one point they decided to return to the room to get their early evening groove on. While they were in the room Jennifer accused Eric of using her.  During sex, Jennifer bit Eric on his forearm.

The noise in room 409, got the attention of one of the employees. Who called the room to see if all was okay? A male answered the phone crying, prompting him to call the police.

When the police arrived they noticed the bright red mark on Eric’s forearm (she was serious!) he declined medical treatment.

Jennifer was NOT having it !

 

When the police arrived Jennifer was at the pool in a chair with her eyes closed.  Jennifer refused to move, her son tried to intervene and was warned by the police to get out of the way.   When the officer asked for her Id she said it was in her bag.  Jennifer stood up and started walked towards her room. When she arrived the door locked, Jen was not happy and took it out on the door.  ( Eric you in danger).  The police tried to get clam down and talked about what happen, Jen had NOTHING to say until they put her in the car. ” I’m gonna fucking kill him”

CityFella

 

 

Who in the Hell is Erika Jayne and why am I obsessed with her


 

Related image

Perhaps obsessed is too strong a word.   Yes, I watch her on Bravo’s  Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, amd tweet with hundred of viewers across the nation every Tuesday. I talk about her at length in social media and on the radio “Reality Chat with Amy Phillips” on Sirius XM and I bought her latest single Expensive.

Who in the hell is this woman with fan base growing by the hour?  The no nonsense bad ass women from the ATL who might fuck you up if you make her break a nail.

Women like her and want to be her friend.   Men, straight and gay love her. To many in the gay community she is an icon and I love it when Comedienne Amy Phillips impersonates her and say’s “cash“. Watch


I was introduced to Erika Girardi a couple of years ago on Bravo’s Real Housewives of Beverly Hills her friend Yolanda Foster (Hadid) recommended her for the show.  Erika like Yolanda, wasn’t a girls, girl, she is very direct, honest and a keen observer. She is very cautious and doesn’t allow many into her personal life.  While Erika lives “the lifestyle” she is humble and this has endeared her to many.

There are two sides to Erika.  We were first introduced to Mrs Girardi, wife of attorney Thomas. If memory serves, they don’t live in Beverley Hills, they the slum in a large Mansion in Pasadena.

The other Erika Jayne is a performer with nine number one Dance Club Hits who has been performing for nearly twenty years. Erika has swag, reminiscent of Cher. With a persona that says approach with honesty or I will fuck you up.   She is currently on Dancing With the Stars.

Image result for erika jayne dancing with the stars

She isn’t like the other Beverly Hills Housewives who wont admit to having cosmetic surgery, she’s an open book about her procedures head to toe. She has her own a glam squad, two gay men who keeps her beautiful and she never goes anywhere without them. ANYWHERE!

She will tell you she is 45, with a grown son from her first marriage. She was raised by her single mother who had her at 18. She was named after her moms favorite TV character Erica (Susan Lucci) Kane.

One of my favorite videos

Co-Housewife Lisa Renna, Channels her Inner Erika

Dancing to the stars was a smart career move for this Smart lady. Who danced to her own song.  “Expensive “

My girl Erika Jayne. Yes, I’m obsessed, She’s One Bad Bitch!

Just ask her!

CityFella