Thursday, July 3, 2014

Water is a human right

Melissa Block of NPR talked to Steve Pardo of the Detroit News about the huge number of cases of water being shut off to residences in Detroit for missing as few as two payments. It seems the Detroit Water and Sewerage Dept. is using shutoffs to get resident's attention and get them to pay. That is a nasty way to do it. But there is a deeper problem – DWSD is having a hard time distinguishing between those who can't pay and those who simply won't.

Human rights groups have gotten involved and taken the issue to the United Nations. And the UN has said the DWSD is in violation of basic human rights.

Commenters to the NPR story noted the DWSD has a bloated payroll, and that their record system is messed up with residents frequently billed for the wrong amount (and the error can be in the thousands).

I had written that it seems those Detroit city retirees who voted to not accept the bankruptcy deal, which would reduce their pensions, were encouraged to vote again. In an email the Moratorium Now Coalition included a reproduction of a letter reminding retirees they could change their mind. A good chance those letters were sent to only those who had voted no.

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