I’m heading back into the conference now, but here are a few photos from today’s protest in response to the water issue in Detroit… I don’t know what the powers that be in Detroit must have been thinking when they decided to shut the water off now, just as 3,000 of our nation’s most radical progressive bloggers were descending on the City, but I’m sure, if they had it all to do over again, they would have done it a little differently. This thing is blowing up well beyond their control.
update: Today’s Detroit Free Press feature, “Life without water makes for some difficult choices for Detroit residents,” does a pretty good job of laying out the situation as it now stands in Detroit. Here’s how it begins.
A single mother, living in the blighted Brightmoor neighborhood in northwest Detroit, keeps a jug of water by the toilet for flushing.
She takes a shower when she picks her daughter up at a relative’s home.
She heats up store-bought water in a microwave to wash her 6-year-old’s face and hands.
This Detroit mother chooses gas for her car over water.
The water shutoff situation in Detroit has reached a boiling point. For many low-income Detroiters, the city’s push for water shutoffs due to unpaid bills is creating a crisis.
If you are more than two months late paying your bill, and owe $150 or more, the Water Department may send a “shutoff technician” to turn off the tap. In May, the department shut off water for 4,500 residents. In June, the number hit 7,210 customers.
The Brightmoor mother said she recently landed a good-paying government job in Ann Arbor after years of no or low-wage work. It takes $20 a day to get back and forth to work. She owes $5,347 to the water department.
“It’s kind of impossible to pay everything and get to work,” she said. “We’ve been without water for three weeks now.
“I got caught up on my light and gas. I got caught up on the rent. The water was the last thing,” she said.
To get the water turned back on, she said she needs to pay $1,604.
“Now that I finally have a decent job, plus my saving, I can pay my bill. I believe in paying my bills. I do,” she said. “But they want $1,600, and I don’t have it.”