Detroit water shutoffs continue after judge says poor have no right to water
September 29, 2014
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes on Monday refused to block the city from shutting off water to delinquent customers for six months, saying there is no right to free water and Detroit can’t afford to lose the revenue.
Rhodes’s order served as a stinging rejection of arguments made by thousands of protesters who staged rallies last summer fighting shutoffs and argued that there is a fundamental right to water service.
"There is no such right or law," Rhodes said.
A six-month ban on water shut-offs would boost the rate of customer defaults and threaten Detroit’s revenue, the judge added.
"The last thing (Detroit) needs is this hit to its revenues," the judge said.
Rhodes issued his ruling after two days of hearings last week and said he lacked the power to issue a water shut-off moratorium. Regardless, a lawyer for 10 residents failed to convince him there was justification for such a drastic step, he said.
Rhodes said residents do not have a right to receive water service “let alone service based on an ability to pay.”
Alice Jennings, an attorney representing the 10 residents fighting water shutoffs, said she was “disappointed but not surprised” by the judge’s ruling. Rhodes, she said, missed the issue of safety and underscored the irreparable harm that comes with the shutoffs.
"We will be looking at an appeal," Jennings said. "We believe there is a right to water and there is a right to affordable water."
The city’s policy of shutting off water to residents in one of the nation’s poorest cities briefly overshadowed the city’s historic bankruptcy case and debt-cutting plan, which hinges on spinning off the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department to suburban counties.
The city started a more vigorous shut-off campaign in the spring compared to other years in an effort to get more people to pay their outstanding bills or get on a payment plan. Rhodes on Monday called the efforts a “bold, commendable and necessarily aggressive plan.”
About 24,000 city water accounts have been shut off this year. A month-long moratorium halting shutoffs ended in August and crews are now back to shutting off water to up to 400 accounts a day, DWSD officials said last week.
Residents, civic groups, and “The Avengers” actor Mark Ruffalo participated in mass protests in recent months fighting the city’s treatment of delinquent water customers. A pocket of protesters lined West Lafayette Boulevard outside federal court Monday.
Ten residents requested the moratorium, saying it would give the city time to establish a plan to better help those who can’t afford to pay their water bills. Lawyers for Detroit say such an order would encourage further delinquency, cause the department to lose revenues and lead to higher rates.
During closing arguments, Jennings argued the “hodgepodge” of programs designed to aid a limited group of residents facing water shut-offs isn’t good enough for the city plagued by widespread poverty.
Jennings told the judge that a “very brief” stop to shut-offs would give the city more time to craft a cohesive program.
Tom O’Brien, an attorney for the water department, has countered that a 10-point plan to educate and assist low-income residents wasn’t constructed overnight.
"It was developed," he said, and "was intended to be practical."
O’Brien also played up a fund outlined in the plan, and a separate pot of annual aid money called for in a proposed Great Lakes Water Authority.
"That’s significant money, it goes a long way," he said.
Detroit’s bankruptcy trial, meanwhile, resumes Monday, five days after City Council members reclaimed power over city government while agreeing to keep Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr in place for bankruptcy-related duties.
The deal means council will resume control over city departments, contracts and other day-to-day matters. Orr’s official removal will be effective if the city’s debt-cutting bankruptcy plan is confirmed.
Orr is expected to testify soon about the debt-cutting plan.
So…everyone knows anime body proportions are idealized and kind of insane. But then I find this woman online. This amazing human with HER ANIME LEGS! SUPER LONG SKINNY ANIME LEGS! WHAT?! HOW??
So I even found a picture of venus online to compare. And like, now I’m going to take my stubby short legs over there to that sad corner.
holy shit her legs are practically canon
hER LEGS ARE PEFECT AND HER COSTUME IS SO WELL MADE I WISH TO HUG YOU LADY
Chief Belmar Says Protesters Arrested by Mistake In an unexpected twist, Chief Belmar testified that the 5 second rule was only supposed to apply at night and that miscommunication led to its application during the day. Must read.
The Agencies Investigating Ferguson Brief and fascinating article that quickly summarizes the various agencies conducting investigations in Ferguson. This also includes a brief description of the investigation type. Must read.
Darren Wilson Involved in Another Case There is a drug case headed to a grand jury that involves Darren Wilson. Quick, important read.
Clergy Join Protesters In Protest This article describes the scene across from the Ferguson PD when clergy joined in protest and a clergyman was arrested.
Protesters Held As Hostages Protesters negotiated with police over the weekend for the release of other protesters while demonstrating across from the Ferguson PD. Important read.
ACLU Challenges the 5-Second Rule This article provides an overview of the ACLU lawsuit challenging the implementation of the 5-second rule with Ferguson protesters.
Defend the Right to Know This succinct editorial calls on the public and other allies to put pressure on Ferguson to not charge excessive fees as they comply with FOIA or Sunshine Law requests.
Officer Shot Did Not Have Time to Activate Body Cam The Ferguson officer that was shot apparentlydid not have time to activate his body cam. Interesting lens into the body cam issue.
Letter from Langdon, MO A civic leader in another Missouri town pens this op-ed reflecting on the events of Ferguson and a link between rural areas of MO and urban/suburban areas re: police shootings.
Why So Many Officers? This is an invaluable article for understanding the municipal police forces in Missouri and why some even have police forces. Must read.
Influenced by Ferguson, Chicago Families Demand Action This article describes recent calls to action by Chicago families to review police shootings using deadly force.
Protester Response to the Ferguson “Misconceptions” The City of Ferguson released an 18-point “Misconceptions” document earlier this week. This is the protester’s response to the “Misconceptions.”Must read.
The Demands Launched recently, this site is the platform for the Ferguson demands. It is a living list of demands and is open for you to add comments and suggestions that can inform the next iteration. Must engage.
A great addition to your garden or back yard. - Bee watering station.
Bees need water just like we do but often times drown in open water. To make a bee watering station you can either do what is shown in the photo above and fill the bowl of a dog/cat watering jug with stones or you can fill a small dish with marbles and add water to that. That way the bees have something to land on!
First post to get this many notes, and I’m so glad it’s this one. ^_^
No fuck bees kill them all
Kill all bees huh? Bees are responsible for pollinating around 80% of agriculture. Bees die, you die. Do research and get over your fears.
bees are so important save the bees
We need bees or the planet will die.
And we just happen to have one of these old dog watering dishes around somewhere.
There needs to be a phrase for “I acknowledge your apology and appreciate it but it does not make things better.” instead of just saying “It’s okay.” all the time.
I recognize the council has made an apology, but given that it is a stupid ass apology, I have elected to ignore it.
thank you director fury
@ShaunKing exposes Ferguson PD lie about distance from SUV
Huffington Post contrasts how the media treats white suspects and killers better than black victims.
110 more days until Grand Jury deadline.