AP via Huff Post Black Voices
FLINT, Mich. (AP) — Ever since the full extent of the Flint water crisis emerged, one question has persisted: Would this have happened in a wealthier, whiter community?
Residents in the former auto-making hub – a poor, largely minority city – feel their complaints about lead-tainted water flowing through their taps have been slighted by the government or ignored altogether. For many, it echoes the lackluster federal response to New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
“Our voices were not heard, and that’s part of the problem,” Flint Mayor Karen Weaver said this week at the U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in Washington, D.C., where she also met with President Barack Obama to make her case for federal help for her city.
The frustration has mostly been directed at Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, who appointed an emergency manager to run Flint. That manager approved a plan in 2013 to begin drawing drinking water from the Flint River, and the city began doing so the next year. But officials failed to treat the corrosive water properly to prevent metal leaching from old pipes.
Snyder, a Republican in his second term, was blasted by Hillary Clinton in her remarks after the recent Democratic presidential debate.
“We’ve had a city in the United States of America where the population, which is poor in many ways and majority African-American, has been drinking and bathing in lead-contaminated water. And the governor of that state acted as though he didn’t really care,” Clinton said.
Snyder “had requests for help that he had basically stone-walled. I’ll tell you what: If the kids in a rich suburb of Detroit had been drinking contaminated water and being bathed in it, there would’ve been action.”
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