Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder should be ashamed of himself.
Snyder is staging a shameless damage control ploy to show that he is taking charge of a serious water poisoning crisis in Flint, which has resulted in children being irreversibly harmed after drinking lead-contaminated water.
The governor says now that the water is safe to drink, he would visit a home and drink unfiltered water. And there’s more: Snyder also said he will return to Flint every week and drink tap water for a month.
“I completely understand why some Flint residents are hesitant to drink the water, and I am hopeful I can alleviate some of the skepticism and mistrust by putting words to action,” Snyder told The Detroit Free Press. “Flint residents made it clear that they would like to see me personally drink the water, so today I am fulfilling that request. And I will continue drinking Flint water at work and at home for at least 30 days.”
I’m not impressed. It’s too little, too late. Where was Snyder when residents were drinking contaminated water and being harmed? Snyder’s response was too slow and unacceptable. He’s not the city’s savior, he’s part of the problem. He failed to help Flint residents, a predominantly black city of 100,000.
“To have a glass of water is pretty meaningless,” Mayor Karen Weaver of Flint told reporters.
Flint residents will have a chance to share their frustration about the water crisis with President Barack Obama when he visits Flint Wednesday, May 4.
Obama will also receive a briefing on the federal efforts in place to help respond to the needs of the people of Flint, and deliver remarks to community members, the White House said.
Meanwhile, Snyder’s sudden take-charge attitude comes as three Michigan officials were criminally charged on Wednesday after the state attorney general’s investigation into dangerous lead levels in Flint’s drinking water.
Flint employee Michael Glasgow and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality employees Steven Busch and Michael Prysby were charged, The Detroit News reported.
Glasgow is accused of tampering with evidence when he allegedly changed testing results to show there was less lead in city water. Busch and Prysby were charged with misconduct in office and tampering with evidence.
These men should be prosecuted. Consider this: More than 8,000 children are believed to have consumed the tainted water.
A group of parents from Flint have filed a class action suit alleging that gross negligence by Snyder and others caused the city’s drinking water to become contaminated with lead. The lawsuit seeks damages for “tens of thousands” of Flint residents who suffered physical injuries.
In 2014, officials decided to use water from the Flint River, which caused lead to seep into the drinking water. By the time the city switched back to Lake Huron water, residents complained about a myriad of health problems, including, hair loss, skin lesions, depression, vision loss and memory loss.
Experts say children in Flint are especially susceptible to lead exposure, which can lead to behavioral problems that could last a lifetime.
Meanwhile, Mayor Weaver told reporters this week that Gov. Snyder should “come and stay” in Flint for 30 days if he “really wanted to know what it’s like to deal” with the lead-tainted water crisis.
No word from Snyder on Weaver’s suggestion. He’s probably too busy arranging his staged photo-ops.