Friday, March 31, 2017

Pay for your poison

Watch neoliberalism work, y'all
The warning letters arrived in Flint mailboxes in early March. Their demand, of almost unfathomable audacity, is delivered in red capital letters, underlined for emphasis: pay for your poison or else.
Snyder’s government, which was largely responsible for the water disaster, announced in February that it would stop giving Flint residents subsidies for their water. Mayor Karen Weaver then decided to resume the practice of shutting off the water for people with unpaid bills. 

Coercive water shut-offs are controversial in the U.S. under normal circumstances, castigated by the United Nations as a violation of human rights. In Flint, which charged people some of the highest water rates in the country for killer gunk, the threats have been greeted with a mix of astonishment and told-you-so resignation. 

“The people in Flint should not have to pay for water for at least a decade,” Hanna-Attisha said.

Thousands of residents have been refusing to pay for a year or more. Some say they will continue the protest even though parents without running water are regularly investigated by child protection authorities.
You may recall a few years back Mitch Landrieu pushed for and succeeded in implementing a water shut off policy for residents who failed to pay the sanitation fee attached to their water bills. The last time anyone asked, however, this enforcement tool had not yet been put to use.  But at least we're keeping up with the trendiest Best Practices, which is really the important part.

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