05-28-2017  5:28 am      •     
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NEWS BRIEFS

Portland Art Museum Hosts Upstanders Festival May 27

Event includes spoken word, workshops and poster making in support of social justice ...

North Portland Library Announces June Computer Classes

Upcoming courses include Introduction to Spreadsheets, What is the Cloud? and Learn Programming with Games ...

Merkley to Hold Town Hall in Clackamas County

Sen. Jeff Merkley to hold town hall in Clackamas County, May 30 ...

NAACP Monthly Meeting Notice, May 27, Portland

NAACP Portland invites the community to its monthly general membership meeting ...

Photos: Fundraiser for Sunshine Division's Assistance Programs

Under the Stars fundraiser took place on May 18 at the Melody Grand Ballroom ...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

OPINION

Ensuring the Promise of the Every Student Succeeds Act

The preservation of Thurgood Marshall's legacy is dependent upon our dedication to our children ...

CFPB Sues Ocwen Financial over Unfair Mortgage Practices

What many homeowners soon discover is that faithfully paying a monthly mortgage is in some cases, just not enough ...

B-CU Grads Protest Betsy “DeVoid” in Epic Fashion

Julianne Malveaux says that Betsy “DeVoid,” is no Mary McLeod Bethune ...

NAACP on Supreme Court's Decline to Review NC Voter ID Law

NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks made the following remarks ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

ENTERTAINMENT

Gov. Rick Snyder at podium

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Two lawyers in Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder's office urged his top aides to switch Flint back to Detroit's water system only months after the city began using the Flint River, with one calling the use of the river "downright scary" even before lead contamination concerns came to light, according to emails.

The Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News reported Friday that Valerie Brader, Snyder's senior policy adviser and deputy legal counsel, and chief legal counsel Mike Gadola expressed concerns about Flint's water in October 2014, nearly six months after Flint had begun using the river water to save money.

In an email to then-chief of staff Dennis Muchmore and others, Brader requested that the governor's office ask Flint's emergency manager to return to Detroit's system on Oct. 14. She said it was an "urgent matter to fix," citing E. coli problems and a General Motors plant's switch to different water because Flint's water was rusting engine parts.

Gadola quickly wrote that the idea of using the Flint River as a drinking water source was "downright scary."

Flint "should try to get back on the Detroit system as a stopgap ASAP before this thing gets too far out of control," he said.

"Too bad (former Flint emergency manager Darnell Earley) didn't ask me what I thought, though I'm sure he heard it from plenty of others," Gadola wrote to Brader, Muchmore, then-communications director and current chief of staff Jarrod Agen and deputy chief of staff Elizabeth Clement. "My Mom is a City resident. Nice to know she's drinking water with elevated chlorine levels and fecal coliform."

The state ultimately helped Flint switch back a year later, after improperly treated water corroded old pipes and leached lead into homes and businesses. Elevated levels of lead have been found in some children's blood. Lead contamination has been linked to learning disabilities and other problems.

Muchmore told the News that Gadola and Brader's advocacy for Flint switching back to Detroit water until the new Karegnondi Water Authority pipeline could be completed was the prevailing thought in Snyder's office at the time. But he said Treasury Department officials concluded the cost to reconnect Flint to Detroit water — an extra $1 million per month — was deemed more than the cash-strapped city could afford.

Muchmore, who now works for a law firm, told the Free Press that he and the others had discussed their concerns with the governor.

"We shared them," he said.

Gadola is now a Court of Appeals judge. Brader is the executive director of the Michigan Agency for Energy.

Snyder signed legislation Friday in Flint authorizing spending $30 million in state funds to help pay water bills for people in Flint.

"Flint residents should not have to pay for water they cannot drink," he said.

The money will pay for 65 percent of the water portion of the bills. That includes water used for drinking, cooking or bathing. Residents will still have to foot the sewage portion of their bills. The Republican-controlled Legislature had shot down Democrats' efforts to double the aid to cover people's entire water bills.

 

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