Michigan
MI

DetroitShutOffMarch

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department is suspending its water shutoffs for 15 days starting today to give residents another chance to prove they are unable to pay their bills.

“In case we have missed someone who has legitimate affordability problems this will allow them to come to us to see if they can work out payments,” department spokesman Bill Johnson said. “We’ve always maintained that what we were doing was a collection effort — not a shutoff effort.”

The decision comes after the city has put into national spotlight for a policy that has been framed as a human rights issue for low-income residents who can’t afford to pay their bills. It also was announced n the same day that a group of Detroit residents filed a lawsuit in the city’s bankruptcy case asking U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes to restore water service to residential customers.

The residents, backed by a coalition of activist and community groups, allege that the city is violating the constitutional rights and contractual rights by shutting off water for those who owe back payments.

Johnson said he was unaware of that lawsuit.

Darryl Latimer, director of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, told Rhodes today the city will kick off a blitz in the media, social media and though churches and community groups to get information out about payment plans and financial assistance for people with documented inability to pay bills.

“We need to time to make sure our aggressive communications efforts reach customers,” the deputy director of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, Darryl Latimer, told Detroit’s bankruptcy judge, Steven Rhodes, this morning in federal court.

Rhodes, overseeing the city’s historic $18-billion insolvency, took the department to task last week for international attention brought to the city’s efforts to shut off water service to customers who can’t or don’t pay their bills. Thousands of households have been shut off in recent months.

Latimer said the pause does not mean the city will end its efforts to get customers to pay up, with tens of millions in unpaid bills that end up being passed along to paying customers.

While the City of Detroit has made tremendous progress over the past year toward crafting a plan to emerge from bankruptcy, its effort to shore up the finances of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department has been heavily criticized and has captured the attention of the national media. Critics have portrayed water service as an essential human right.

“Water provided through public utilities is a necessity of modern life and continued access to it is a property right accorded due process protections,” the group said in its lawsuit filed with the court today.

The lawsuit was filed by 10 residents along with the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, People’s Water Board and the Michigan chapter of the National Action Network and Moratorium Now!

The group is asking Rhodes to issue a temporary restraining order to stop all water shutoffs and restore service at least until a hearing can be held in bankruptcy court and the group’s arguments can be presented. Ultimately, the lawsuit asks the judge to order the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department to put a “implement a water affordability plan with income based payments for ... residential customers.”

Rhodes, however, may not have authority to force the city to change its water policies.

While Rhodes said today it is not his role to rule or otherwise address the adequacy of the city’s plans to inform customers better, “I can only say that it does address the concerns I raised last week.”

The city has shut off water to a total of 7,556 customers in April and May.

On Friday, nine people were arrested as more than 1,000 people from across the nation rallied in Detroit against the city's ramped-up effort to collect from delinquent water customers by shutting off service to thousands of residents each month.

Police moved to arrest the protesters who were blocking trucks from leaving a dispatch center that sends out crews to perform the shutoffs. Five men and four women where handcuffed and loaded in to a Detroit police bus at about 1:30 p.m., roughly seven hours after the blockade started. Another man, in a wheelchair, was lifted by officers into a van.

The city cut off water to thousands of residents in recent months, part of a program launched last fall to go after unpaid bills after years of lax enforcement. Failure to collect undermines the financial stability of the water department and forces higher rates on customers who pay, water officials have said.

Detroit’s emergency manager Kevyn Orr said Friday that said no residents who are unable to afford afford water are going without it.

The city said more than 50% percent of its 170,000 residential accounts are 60 days or $150 delinquent. In March, officials at the water department began notifying delinquent customers that service would be shut off unless arrangements were made to settle overdue bills.

Of the 15,266 accounts where water service was suspended, more than half were made current and had the water restored within 24 hours, the city said. The remaining accounts with suspended water service represent less than 4 percent of the water department’s residential customer base.

“All Detroit water customers with demonstrated financial need are being helped, and their water is being restored,” said Orr, who is leading the city through the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.

Link to the original article from Detroit Free Press.

Add a comment

States - Michigan

Page 5 of 59

5

Michigan News

Prev Next Page:

Bankruptcy Judge Lets Detroit Water Shutoffs Continue

Bankruptcy Judge Lets Detroit Water Shutoffs Continue

After initially stating he would rule on an emergency appeal to stop water shutoffs at the end of Tuesday’s court session, US federal bankruptcy judge Steven Rhodes announced Wednesday he would issue no decision until at least September 17. This means the city, which has shut off water service to nearly 1,000 households since resuming this brutal policy last week, will continue for at least the next two weeks. Rhodes appointed a mediator from the US bankruptcy court, US chief judge Phillip Shefferly, to hold “confidential” mediations between the Detroit Water...

Lawrence Porter | World Socialist Web Site 04 Sep 2014 Hits:203 Michigan

Read more

Detroit Set to Resume Water Shutoffs For Nonpayment As Protests Continue

Detroit Set to Resume Water Shutoffs For Nonpayment As Protests Continue

While they carry signs “Thirsty For Justice” nearly 45% of Detroit’s 173,000 water accounts are considered past due, with 420 customers due to be denied service Tuesday. The bankrupt Detroit lifted the month-long suspension of shutting off water to people who have not paid bills. Some 25,000 customers have reached payment plans with the city. The new system seems to be working very well,” said John Roach, spokesman for Mayor Mike Duggan. The biggest changed to the payment plan program was to require only 10% of past-due balances to enter a payment...

Kaye Wonderhouse | The Global Dispatch 28 Aug 2014 Hits:178 Michigan

Read more

Detroit Water Shutoff Controversy Igniting Nationwide Debate

Detroit Water Shutoff Controversy Igniting Nationwide Debate

DETROIT, Mich. (WJLA/AP) -- Detroit's massive municipal water department, which has been widely criticized for widespread service shutoffs to thousands of customers, drew nationwide attention Thursday on Capitol Hill. Due to public pressure, the department has temporarily suspended shutoffs for customers who were 60 days or more behind on bills for 15 days. But with the prospect of shutoffs resuming in a week, some members of Congress are now asking the Obama administration and the Department of Health and Human Services to intervene in what they contend is a humanitarian crisis facing...

Scott Thurman | AP | ABC 7 News 01 Aug 2014 Hits:338 Michigan

Read more

Canadians bring water to waterless Detroit

Canadians bring water to waterless Detroit

Maude Barlow, Canadian author and national chairperson of the Council of Canadians, with a delegation of water rights advocates brought 260 gallons of water to Detroiters July 24. Of the 15,000 homes that have had water shut off by Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, it is estimated that only 48 percent are back in service. “We came to pay tribute to the people of Detroit,” Barlow said in remarks made at St. Peter’s Church, Michigan and Trumbull, where the water was delivered. “Fresh water and sanitation are human rights guaranteed by the United Nations,”...

The Michigan Citizen 30 Jul 2014 Hits:315 Michigan

Read more

Detroit Suspends Water Shutoffs for 15 Days

Detroit Suspends Water Shutoffs for 15 Days

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department is suspending its water shutoffs for 15 days starting today to give residents another chance to prove they are unable to pay their bills. “In case we have missed someone who has legitimate affordability problems this will allow them to come to us to see if they can work out payments,” department spokesman Bill Johnson said. “We’ve always maintained that what we were doing was a collection effort — not a shutoff effort.” The decision comes after the city has put into national spotlight for a...

Brent Snavely, Matt Helms | Detroit Free Press 21 Jul 2014 Hits:248 Michigan

Read more

A National Call to Link Arms for Detroit

Oh, make you wanna holler The way they do my life This ain't livin', this ain't livin' No, no baby, this ain't livin' No, no, no, no --Marvin Gaye, "Inner City Blues" On July 18 thousands of activists and dozens of organizations will converge on downtown Detroit to protest the privatization of the city’s assets and the disconnection of water to tens of thousands of low-income residents. The UN has called the shutoff a human rights violation.  Demonstrators from around the country will rally in Hart Plaza at 1 pm, linking arms with the citizens of...

Ben Ptashnik and Victoria Collier | The Progressive 09 Jul 2014 Hits:368 Michigan

Read more

Detroit’s fight for public water is also the nation’s

Detroit’s fight for public water is also the nation’s

Detroit made international news this month when its municipal water board resumed cutting off water to residents with unpaid bills. With thousands of community members struggling in homes with no running water, local groups reached out (PDF) to the United Nations special rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation to intervene. On Wednesday, U.N. officials responded, calling the water department’s actions a “violation of the human right to water and other international human rights.” The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department’s decision to cut off residents with unpaid...

Anna Lappé | Al Jazeera English 02 Jul 2014 Hits:766 Michigan

Read more

Rep. John Conyers fails to qualify for ballot

Rep. John Conyers fails to qualify for ballot

Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) won't appear on the Democratic primary ballot after failing to submit enough valid signatures, Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett said on Tuesday. "It is my determination that in accordance with the current laws and statutes of the State of Michigan, the nominating petitions filed by Congressman John Conyers, Jr. are insufficient to allow his name to appear on the August 5, 2014 Primary Ballot," Garrett said in a statement.  The decision means Conyers may have to run as a write-in candidate if he wants to keep a seat he's held...

Cameron Joseph | The Hill 14 May 2014 Hits:669 Michigan

Read more

Longest-serving Rep. John Dingell to retire

Longest-serving Rep. John Dingell to retire

Rep. John D. Dingell (D-Mich.) will retire at the end of his current term, capping a historic career as the longest-serving member of Congress in history. In prepared remarks for his annual "State of the District" speech distributed by his office Monday afternoon, Dingell described his decision as personal and rooted in the standards he had set for himself as a lawmaker. "Around this time every two years, my wife Deborah and I confer on the question of whether I will seek reelection. My standards are high for this job. I put...

Sean Sullivan | Washington Post 24 Feb 2014 Hits:505 Michigan

Read more

Federal Judge Describes, Then Supports Plot to Rob Detroit Pensioners

Federal Judge Describes, Then Supports Plot to Rob Detroit Pensioners

  On December 3, United States Bankruptcy Judge Stephen A. Rhodes—to the surprise of no one—formally ruled that Detroit is “eligible” for bankruptcy. In other words, creditors will now wrangle over Detroit’s government assets with Rhodes as the referee. It is important to understand that at no point has Detroit declared or requested bankruptcy. Indeed Detroiters and others in Michigan have resisted as best they could, only to be overpowered at every turn. As Judge Rhodes explains below, bankruptcy has been orchestrated from Lansing (the state capitol) with a lot of help...

Frank Joyce | AlterNet 17 Dec 2013 Hits:519 Michigan

Read more

Michigan 'Rape Insurance' Bill Passes Into Law

Michigan 'Rape Insurance' Bill Passes Into Law

Michigan lawmakers passed a controversial measure on Wednesday that will ban all insurance plans in the state from covering abortion unless the woman's life is in danger. The law, which takes effect in March, will force women and employers to purchase a separate abortion rider if they would like the procedure covered, even in cases of rape and incest. Supporters of the "Abortion Insurance Opt-Out Act" argue that it allows people who are opposed to abortion to avoid paying into a plan that covers it. Opponents have nicknamed it the "rape...

Laura Bassett | Huffington Post 11 Dec 2013 Hits:1670 Michigan

Read more

Judge OK's Detroit Bankruptcy, Puts Public Pensions Under the Axe

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes ruled Tuesday that the city of Detroit is eligible for bankruptcy after a long court battle between city appointed 'emergency manager' Kevyn Orr and union and labor activists who say the decision paves the way for workers' pensions to be cut. Rhodes ruled that Detroit is insolvent, a legal criteria for bankruptcy, meaning it can cut public pensions for the bankruptcy filing. Critics say the city bankruptcy filing, the first of its kind, is an attack on pensions and future livelihoods for workers in the city of...

Common Dreams Staff 03 Dec 2013 Hits:418 Michigan

Read more

Forced Bankruptcy and Privatization of the City of Detroit: Law Suit in Federal Court

Forced Bankruptcy and Privatization of the City of Detroit: Law Suit in Federal Court

Contradicting what the corporate media editorial boards have promoted in chorus with the multi-millionaire Governor Rick Snyder and his appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr, 110 people filed objections to the forced bankruptcy of the City of Detroit. The hearing took place on September 19 and was widely covered in the local, national and international press. This extraordinary hearing had provided only a small window of time for legal action. Many of the people that testified were retirees, city workers, community organizers and professionals who met the deadline set by the Judge...

Abayomi Azikiwe | Global Research 24 Sep 2013 Hits:790 Michigan

Read more

Losing the Right to Vote in Michigan

Losing the Right to Vote in Michigan

Friends, Much has been justifiably made about the damage the Roberts Supreme Court has done to voting rights in their recent decision, Shelby County v. Holder. However, a potentially more insidious plot denying the precious right to vote is occurring in my own state of Michigan, where Republican Governor Rick Snyder has appointed an emergency manager to run Detroit in place of the duly elected mayor and City Council. Even more troubling, the governor did so after Michigan voters had rejected the emergency manager law at the ballot box, when late...

Rep. John Conyers, Jr | Huffington Post 16 Sep 2013 Hits:740 Michigan

Read more

Detroit goes bankrupt, largest municipal filing in U.S. history

Detroit goes bankrupt, largest municipal filing in U.S. history

Detroit filed the largest municipal bankruptcy in the nation’s history Thursday afternoon, capping a long decline that left the nation’s automaking capital bleeding residents and revenue, while rendering city services a mess. The nation’s fourth-largest city in the 1950s with nearly 2 million residents, the city has seen its populaton plummet to 700,000 as residents fled increasing crime and deteriorating sevices, taking their tax dollars with them. The five-decade slide has left the city owing creditors some $19 billion and under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager. The manager has been...

Michael A. Fletcher | The Washington Post 18 Jul 2013 Hits:431 Michigan

Read more

PDA In Your State

PDA Network - Upcoming Shows

Show  Date  Time   Guest
 The Chicano Chronicles  9/6  3:00 pm  Robert Dawkins
 Rev. Lennox Yearwood  9/10  8:00 pm  People's Climate March
 Joel Segal  9/11  4:00 pm  Middle East Peace
The Chicano Chronicles  9/13  3:00 pm  Getting Away with Murder
Rev. Lennox Yearwood  9/17  8:00 pm  Bill McKibben

PDA Radio - Upcoming Show

Listen "Live" Wednesday, 9/17/2014 @ 8pm
RevYearwood

Rev. Lennox Yearwood
Special Guest Bill McKibben

Call In Number 347-202-0385

 

 

Sign the Petition

Button-DetroitWater

 

PDA Issues

PDA is organized around several core issues. These issues include:

Each team hosts a monthly conference call. Calls feature legislators, staffers and other policy experts. On these calls we determine PDA legislation to support as well as actions and future events.

Michigan Leadership


For support in organizing within your state, contact:




 

State Leadership

Email us at: field@pdamerica.org

Chapters

Greater Detroit Region
Progressive Democrats of Monroe County Michigan

Planned Chapters
Kalamazoo
 
Want to bring progressive change to Michigan? Start a PDA chapter; send us an email and we'll get you started.


MI Legislators with ALEC Ties

House of Representatives

  • Former Rep. Frank Accavitti, Jr. (D-42), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2005 and 2008[102]
  • Majority Caucus Chair Dave Agema (R-74), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2008[102]
  • Former Rep. Fran Amos (R-43), registered for ALEC annual meeting in 2005 and paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2006 and 2007[102]
  • Former Rep. Richard A. Bandstra (R-Grand Rapids, 1985-1994, Michigan 3rd Court of Appeals through January 2003), Former "Public Sector Chairman," Civil Justice Task Force[103]
  • Former Rep. Bill Caul (R-99), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2005 and 2007[102]
  • Former House Speaker Craig DeRoche (R-38), paid ALEC membership dues in 2006 and sent three staffers to ALEC annual meeting in 2006 (for $1,200) with taxpayer funds[102]
  • Former Rep. Leon Drolet (R-33), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2005[102]
  • Former Rep. David Farhat (R-91), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2005[102]
  • Former Rep. Edward Gaffney (R-1), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2005 and 2007[102]
  • Rep. Judson Gilbert (R-81), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2005 while a state senator[104]
  • Rep. Gail Haines (R-43); Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development Task Force
  • Rep. Ken Horn (R-94), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2011[102], Civil Justice Task Force member
  • Former Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-90, now Michigan Congressman R-2), ALEC Alumni in Congress,[105] paid ALEC membership with taxpayer funds in 2005 and 2007 while a state representative[102]
  • Former Rep. Jerry Kooiman (R-75), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2005[102]
  • Rep. Eileen Kowall (R-44), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2011[102]
  • Rep. Kenneth Kurtz (R-58), ALEC Health and Human Services Task Force[106]
  • Rep. Matthew Lori, (R-59), ALEC Health and Human Services Task Force[106]
  • Rep. Peter J. Lund (R-36); Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development Task Force
  • Rep. Tom McMillin (R-45), sponsored 2011 HB 4050. Compare to ALEC's "Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act"[107]
  • Former Rep. Kimberley Meltzer (R-33), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2009[102]
  • Former Rep. Tim Moore (R-97), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2007[102]
  • Rep. Aric Nesbitt (R-80); Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force
  • Former Rep. Tom Pearce (R-73), registered for 2006 ALEC annual meeting and paid 2009 ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds[102]
  • Rep. Amanda Price (R-89); Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force
  • Former Rep. Rick Shaffer (R-59), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2005 and 2007[102]
  • Former Rep. Fulton Sheen (R-88), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2005, 2006 and 2007[102]
  • Rep. Mike Shirkey (R-65), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2011[102]
  • Former Rep. John Stahl (R-82), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2008[102]
  • Former Rep. John Stakoe (R-44), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2005 and 2007[102]
  • Former Rep. Glenn Steil, Jr. (R-72), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2005 and 2007[102]
  • Former Rep. William Van Regenmorter (R-74), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2005[102]

Senate

  • Sen. Jason Allen (R-37), former ALEC State Chairman[108], paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2006[104]
  • Former Sen. Patricia Birkholz (R-24), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2005[104]
  • Sen. Darwin Booher (R-35), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2005, 2007 and 2009 while a state representative[102]
  • Former Sen. Cameran Brown (R-16), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2005[104]
  • Sen. Bruce Caswell (R-16), Health and Human Services Task Force[106]
  • Former Sen. Valde Garcia (R-22), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2005[104]
  • Sen. Mike Green (R-31), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2011[104]
  • Sen. Goeff Hansen (R-34), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2005, 2007 and 2009 (twice) while a state representative,[102] Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development Task Force member
  • Sen. Dave Hildenbrand (R-29), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2005, 2007 and 2009 while a state representative,[102] and in 2011 while a state senator<ref="MichiganSenate"/>
  • Sen. Rick Jones (R-24), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2005 while a state representative[102]
  • Sen. Mike Kowall (R-15), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2009 while a state representative, and in 2011[102]
  • Former Sen. Wayne Kuipers (R-30), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2005[104]
  • Sen. Arlan B. Meekhoff (R-30), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2009 while a state representative[102]
  • Sen. John Moolenar (R-36), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2005 and 2007 while a state representative[102]
  • Sen. Mike Nofs (R-19), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2008 while a state representative[102]
  • Former Sen. Bruce Patterson (R-7), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2009[104]
  • Sen. David B. Robertson (R-26), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2005[102]
  • Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker (R-20), State Chairman[109]; Civil Justice Task Force

Information from SourceWatch

PR Rank