Snyder's Email Dump Is Most Notable for What It Doesn't Show: Management
Governor Snyder went way out on a political limb supporting Proposal 2015-01. By the time this limb broke off at the polls on May 5th, his only remaining allies were MDoT, MITA, and Michigan’s nitwit media.
MDoT’s Director, Kirk T. Steudle, P.E. received lavish, flattering coverage in our nitwit media throughout the road funding proposal campaign. The Transportation Asset Management Council, an MDoT tool, packaged an avalanche of lies in glossy pamphlets for public consumption. An entirely fictitious Washington think tank, TRIP, used inside MDoT information to issue even more incredulous lies. Governor Snyder parroted these titillating lies thoughout his Proposal 1 media campaign. He was entirely comfortable promoting the agenda of his ‘technical experts’.
Pre SB 571 campaign finance law allowed us to watch MITA spend $ 5.4 million supporting this turkey, more than half the total spent by Safe Roads Yes! The Michigan Infrastructure and Transporatation Association is ostensibly a bunch of independent, competitive contractors. Somehow a fractious bunch of competitors planned and executed a well coordinated – if entirely devious – political campaign.
How did they coordinate?
How did this presage the Flint water fiasco?
The nexus of Proposal 2015-01 support was MDoT. The ‘technical experts’ at MDoT orchestrated Proposal 1. Can’t be proved, but you know it from the totality of events. And Governor Snyder carried the bureaucrats’ water. He had been captured.
MDoT got what they wanted at the end of 2015. Governor Snyder – and the Michigan Legislature – were willing captives of MDoT ‘technical experts’. Michigan voters did not hold MDoT ‘technical experts’ in such high regard, but Michigan’s politicians were completely enthralled.
Now consider the Flint drinking water fiasco. Governor Snyder and his administration were trying to rescue Flint from its latest, sui generis, economic collapse. Nothing new, Flint’s first emergency manager was appointed by Governor John Engler in 2002. Flint’s city government simply does not behave responsibly without adult supervision.
Flint was also being bled white by a variety of parasites; at the top of this predator’s list was the Detroit Water & Sewerage Department. Flint joined the Board of the Karegnondi Water Authority in October 2010, before Snyder is elected Governor. During an interregnum between Flint emergency managers. Well before Snyder appoints his first Flint emergency manager.
Flint’s popularly elected officials knew they were being ripped off by DW&SD. Those Flint elected leaders developed the plan to get out from under DW&SD’s yoke. It wasn’t a very good plan, but it was Flint’s plan – not Snyder’s, not the Treasurer’s, not any emergency manager’s. The Democrats and the lefties are lying.
Snyder was ambivalent about Flint abandoning DW&SD early in his first term, but Detroit’s Grand Bargain changed this. DW&SD was going to be confined to the City of Detroit proper once the Grand Bargain was implemented. Any revenue losses from Flint’s water resourcing would be borne by the Detroit suburbs’ new water authority under the Grand Bargain, not Detroit.
It became clear to all involved in 2013 that Flint could not exit emergency management unless it shed DW&SD’s predatory water rates. Governor Snyder’s 2014 reelection was impending. The Democrats were stoking agitation against emergency management as a statewide political campaign tool. In 2013, Flint gets approval from Treasurer Andy Dillon to sign a water purchase contract with KWA. DW&SD retaliates with a one year termination notice. Flint is then staring at two years without water. The critical flaw in Flint’s plan. Everyone involved underestimated DW&SD’s intransigence.
Governor Snyder turns his attentions to other matters, soothed by MDEQ (and maybe MDHHS, too) ‘technical experts’. At this point, Governor Snyder must be thinking: How can you possibly screw up water? The Flint Water Plant comes through, demonstrating for all to see why Flint needs adult supervision. The Flint Water Plant completely screws up their water chemistry, in almost every way possible. A catastrophic performance, even when judged by Third World water standards. Only MDEQ or EPA ‘technical experts’ could have provided the adult supervision necessary to get Flint’s water chemistry under control. But they did not. It is pretty obvious now that none of Michigan’s ‘technical experts’ had a clue, or even the motivation to help Flint.
Snyder’s email dump last week is most notable for what it doesn’t show: management.
Contemporary news reports from 2014 and 2015 show Flint residents bitterly complaining about taste and smell immediately after resourcing. Soon thereafter residents are waving bottles of brown water in front of the cameras. Flint issues repeated boil-water advisories for e.coli contamination. Residents march in the streets. GM abandons Flint water at their engine plant due to metal parts corrosion. TTHMs exceed Safe Drinking Water Act limits. Flint postpones $ 2.2 million in payments on their drinking water bonds, a ‘default event’. Genesee Circuit Court Judge Hayman overturns Flint’s 30% higher water rates, plunging Flint’s finances back into the financial abyss.
This is all occurring in Michigan’s seventh largest city, smack dab in the middle of Michigan’s fourth largest metro area. Snyder knew what was happening, its mounting severity was obvious, but he left Michigan’s response to MDEQ ‘technical experts’. The emails Governor Snyder received from those same ‘technical experts’ portray a gradually developing bureaucratic charlie foxtrot. No matter, Governor Snyder was still a true believer in ‘technical experts’.
Only when lead poisoning statistics shock the entire nation does Governor Snyder finally step up to challenge Michigan’s inept ‘technical experts’. Snyder’s response? 7 brief emails; the first written on September 5th, 2015! 498 calendar days after the Flint water changeover, 355 business days after the changeover.
Before May 5, 2015 you might be able to excuse an accountant’s complete deferral to state government ‘technical experts’ on Flint water issues. After May 5th? There ain’t no education in the second kick of a mule.
Last week Governor Snyder’s capture by Michigan’s ‘technical experts’ finally ended.
“The department people, the heads, were not being given the right information by the quote-unquote experts, and I use that word with great trial and tribulation because they were considered experts in terms of their background, these are career civil servants that had strong science, medical backgrounds in terms of their research. But as a practical matter, when you look at it today and you look at their conclusions, I wouldn’t call them experts anymore…..
What’s so frustrating and makes you so angry about this situation is you have a handful of quote-unquote experts who were career service people that made terrible decisions in my view and we have to live with the consequences with that. They work for me, so I accept that responsibility.”
At last he questions Michigan’s sorry ‘technical experts’. The most egregious incompetents are being shown the street. This comes too late for Flint residents or Michigan’s taxpayers. Way too late for the smeared opponents of Proposal 1. However, better late than never….