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.
Does it bother anyone else that there are parts of your life you don’t remember? You have done and said things that you don’t even know about anymore. That means you don’t even have the right perception of yourself because you don’t even fully know who you are. However, something that you’ve forgotten about could be a prominent memory in somebody else’s mind. It trips me out.
When yall singing along to some migos and that one white boy on your team slips up and says the N-word
"wait i can explain"
"My grandparents are black"
"I have a black cousin"
"My car is black"
"Orange is the new black"
whenever my dad makes pancakes he always makes a tiny baby one for our dog
there is never a wrong time to reblog this
WHAT ARE THEY EVEN TRYING TO ACHIVE
I don’t know but I like it
That type of green usually doesn’t appear on camera so they probably wanted people to see flying waffles and get freaked out by them
er. actually no.
Those are the green guys.
They’re from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
They are literally celebrities here. They totally mean to be seen, and they’re very very popular here. They started out a few years ago, and now one even has a book published. The lighter one is Force, and the darker one is Sully. They sit at the opposing team’s penalty box and like to make fun of players, and have even appeared in Pepsi commericals and billboards.
How is Canada even real?
FOR REAL THOUGH
i live in edmonton and i remember members in my family being excited when they showed up bc theyre so?? cool?
Every hockey fan must respect the green men… Even tho I hate Vancouver
I’m glad to see the full explanation on this post this time because usually it just ends with the stupid comment of “that kind of green doesn’t appear on camera~~~” and i get really mad bc literally how could you ever think that. that makes no sense.
it’s easier to key-out green (or blue) for special effects and stuff (like a green screen on a weather report). but that doesn’t mean the green just doesn’t show up on camera wtf
kudios to the tumblr users explaining the green guys though!!