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Michigan is Really Broken! Is this REALLY how Michigan Government Works?
Michigan education officials plead for more resources as schools face new year with no funding certainty, August 7, 2020 (html) | Detroit News. State officials estimate Michigan is facing a $3 billion shortfall in its upcoming budget, which takes effect October 1, 2020. A consensus revenue estimating conference is August 24, 2020, when state officials will detail the current shortfall.
Schools are facing more than $1 billion in new costs to plan for reopening this year to provide personal protective equipment, implement safety measures and ensure, to the best extent possible, the health and safety of both students and staff, said Robert McCann, executive director of the Tri-County Alliance for Public Education (html).
“Lansing has ‘borrowed’ billions of dollars from our K-12 school budgets over the past decade because lawmakers have chosen not to prioritize the education of our kids,” McCann said Friday during a “State of Michigan Schools” roundtable with Michigan superintendents.
Tri-county superintendents call on lawmakers to take action on school funding, August 8, 2020 (html) | Fox2 Detroit. There is a $1.1 billion deficit in the fiscal year of 20-21 budget but also a billion dollars in new costs.
After nearly 1M jobs lost, Michigan’s fragile economic recovery likely to last years, August 4, 2020 (html) – mlive.com. University of Michigan LSA Economics (html) forecaster Gabriel Ehrlich (html), Associate Director of the Research Seminar (html) in Quantitative Economics (html), is predicting Michigan won’t recover the nearly 1 million jobs it’s lost since February until 2023 (pdf) (html).
Flint Lead Poisoning Debacle Civil Settlement Creating Huge Budget Holes, As Criminal Charges Now Looming Even Larger for True Justice
Water crisis settlement is a step in the right direction, not the end of the story, says Dr. Mona, August 20, 2020 (html) – mlive.com. FLINT, MI — The massive partial settlement by the state in water crisis lawsuits is a step in the right direction, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, the Flint pediatrician whose research helped end the city’s use of corrosive river water in 2015, said in a statement. She said she was grateful to learn that the settlement was driven by community voices and respects the science of child development. Never again should this country have to deal with the generational repercussions of a community “poisoned by policies,” she said.
“As we are all now amidst another preventable public health crisis, with so many parallels to Flint, money and resources only go so far,” she said. “Protecting a community requires leadership and vision, creativity and passion. It demands a respect for science, equity, and the proactive protection of our greatest resource, our children.”
State has to learn lessons from Flint water crisis, August 21, 2020 (html) | Detroit Free Press. $600 milllion later, what has Lansing learned from Flint’s water crisis? Turning point? Or more of the same? Is this justice for Flint? Not by a long shot. But it is a meaningful sum, addressed to those most vulnerable. Michigan’s economy is still on the ropes. The coronavirus pandemic continues, auguring state budget shortfalls for years to come. Meanwhile, Michiganders are continuing to reap the cost of chronic disinvestment. Our schools, underfunded for decades. Our neglected infrastructure, including our water and sewage systems, our bridges and our roads, continues to crumble. Our cities, whose residents have born the brunt of both the pandemic and its attendant economic damage, face fiscal crises that imperil their ability to sustain basic services. But do the state’s elected officials really understand how we got here? Or will they continue to disinvest in Michigan’s most neglected communities and use this crisis as an excuse to seed the next one?
Consultants say they’re scapegoats, won’t settle cases with Flint residents over water crisis, August 23, 2020 (html) – mlive.com. The Flint Lead Poisoning debacle that produced high levels of lead and bacteria in city water in 2014 and 2015 is the fault of government agencies, not the advice they provided to the city about various water problems. More than 100 lawsuits filed by city residents in state and federal court have accused defendants including the city, state, and federal governments as well as the consultants, of wrongdoing for their roles in the resulting water crisis.
Erin Brockovich Speaks Out After Michigan Agrees to Pay $600M to Flint Water Victims, August 20, 2020 (html) | PEOPLE.com. “The children of Flint will carry the scars of their poisoning for the rest of their lives,” Erin Brockovich says of the water crisis’ impact. “Power to the people,” the environmental and consumer advocate, 60, tells PEOPLE ahead of the state officially announcing their multi-million dollar settlement on Friday.
Getting cash from $600M Flint deal to take months; claims await OK, August 20, 2020 (html) | Detroit News.
Google News “600 million Flint Michigan settlement” (html) – Overview
$600M Flint water crisis settlement is more than the state has paid out for the last decades’ worth of lawsuits combined, August 19, 2020 (html) – mlive.com. A $600 million settlement would be a historically large one for the state. According to data from the Senate Fiscal Agency, it’s more than the $546 million the state has paid out in court judgements and settlements for every lawsuit against it, combined, in the last 10 fiscal years for which data is available. It’s not clear, yet, where the $600 million would come from as Michigan has some serious budget challenges ahead.
Michigan settles with Flint water crisis victims for more than $500 million: report August 20, 2020 (html) | Fox News. The state of Michigan has settled with victims of the Flint water crisis for more than $500 million, and details of the settlement are expected Friday. Dozens of lawsuits related to the Flint water crisis have been filed against the state of Michigan in recent years, so a settlement of this magnitude would be a huge development in the legal battle. NOTE: This settlement could mark the end of the civil side, but there still may be new criminal charges. In June 2019, Michigan Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud dropped criminal charges against eight people tied to the Flint water crisis, and said her office was starting from scratch.
Michigan reaches over $500M settlement in Flint water crisis suits, August 20, 2020 (html) | Detroit News. The deal comes after several years of litigation in which Flint residents pursued damages from the state for the lead-contaminated water piped into many households. The settlement would be one of the largest in the state’s history. “If money is how government expresses sorrow for its crimes — this is a big apology,” Edwards said. The settlement comes as the state faces what experts say could be up to a $3 billion hole in next year’s budget because of decreased tax revenue during the coronavirus pandemic. The state has a fund that it draws settlement money from, but never one of this proportion. The settlement amount calls for the involvement of the Legislature to appropriate more money toward the agreement. The state needs to shift its focus to criminal prosecutions next and revive charges. “The second step (of justice) will be coming, I’m sure,” former special prosecutor Flood said, “with the criminal side of the case. I’m prayerful that that will come.”
Sources: Settlement imminent in Flint water lawsuits, August 19, 2020 (html) | Detroit Free Press. LANSING — The state of Michigan is close to a settlement totaling hundreds of millions of dollars for civil lawsuits arising from the lead contamination of Flint’s drinking water. Many details to be worked out, because of the complexity of the litigation and the large number of cases and defendants.
Michigan to Pay $600 Million to Victims of Flint Water Crisis, August 19, 2020 (html) – The New York Times. The state of Michigan is expected to pay about $600 million to victims of the Flint water crisis after thousands of Flint residents filed lawsuits against the state. Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, a local pediatrician, and other scientists and researchers raised warnings that were initially disregarded by state and local officials. In fall 2015, in the face of overwhelming evidence, Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan acknowledged that the water was not fine (html).
Whitmer says Flint water crisis ‘Never should have happened,’ pledges continued support for city, August 20, 2020 (html) – mlive.com.
As Flint was slowly poisoned, Snyder’s inner circle failed to act, May 3, 2016 (html) | mlive.com. It still has never been fully explained how crucial information didn’t reach the governor, or why the Snyder administration allowed the people of Flint to use undrinkable water for so long.It’s all about the money and corporate cost saving ‘culture’ of an ex-accountant.
Michigan elected officials welcome Flint water crisis settlement, say there’s more work to do, August 20, 2020 (html) – mlive.com
‘The money is not justice’: Flint mothers express relief, skepticism about water crisis settlement, August 20, 2020 (html) – mlive.com
Flint settlement includes $9 million for special education students, August 20, 2020 (html) | Detroit News. Lead-poisoned children in Flint must be provided with all of the supports they need to learn and flourish, about 18,000 school-age children were exposed to lead during Flint’s water crisis.
Google News – Report: Michigan reaches $600M deal in Flint water crisis (html) – Overview.
Michigan: Stop Lying to Yourself and Your Residents!
Opinion: Michigan economic development programs are a bad investment, August 12, 2020 (html) | Detroit News Premium.
The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) & Corporations on the dole: Are all those incentive programs aimed at encouraging job-creating investments in Michigan paying off? Not so much says the Mackinac Center in Detroit News op-ed in Think section. Instead, the center says, they’ve encouraged an uneven tax environment that hasn’t delivered the jobs numbered promised.
MDOT exactly mirrors this situation as there has NOT been any provable ROI from Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) regarding grandiose projections regarding jobs and all the handwaving fictional hyperbole about touted economic stimulus from Non-Essential Hobby, Sport, Recreational airports spread across the State of Michigan. May the Farce be with you, taxpayers beware! Caveat emptor!
Report: Tax incentives cost taxpayers an average of $600,000 annually per job (html) | Michigan | thecentersquare.com.
Economic Development? State Handouts and Jobs: A New Look at the Evidence, August 10, 2020 (html) – Mackinac Center. The analysis finds that only three of the nine programs studied had a statistically significant positive impact on job growth, but this came at a significant cost: On average, the State of Michigan offered nearly $600,000 worth of incentives for every job created. Mackinac Center for Public Policy study (pdf) Economic Development? State Handouts and Jobs: A New Look at the Evidence in Michigan. $699k per job for 30% or projects is quite obviously nothing to be proud of! MDOT has 0% ROI which is even more embarrassing, shameful and scandalous to say the least!
Really, no kidding, c’mon this is getting so old, Michigan has to quit lying to itself and it’s taxpayers: Audit: Michigan inflates benefits of business subsidies, Jan. 30, 2019 (html) | Detroit News. (Governor Rick Snyder signed the original Executive Order abolishing the MEGA Board and transferring the various responsibilities of the MEGA to the Michigan Strategic Fund.
The audit found that the Strategic Fund (html), a quasi-government agency that dispenses taxpayer subsidies to businesses, did not have adequate documentation for six percent of the qualified new jobs Auditor General Doug Ringler reviewed and overstated its projected return on investment 30 percent in 2016. It also shows that the state taxpayers could be paying for phantom jobs for projects that have received state subsidies.
- Decreasing Health Investment, Increasing Poverty & Inequity
- Substandard Education Investment
- Rampant Systemic Environmental Pollution & Contamination
- Inadequate Infrastructure for growing Investments, Jobs, Tax Revenues, Attracting & Retaining Talent
The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) continues to conspire, collude, dodge, delay, deny, ignore, acquiesce with other local, county and State of Michigan Departments, bureaucrats & politicians to actively coverup a 2014 Study of Leaded Aviation 100LL Tetraethyl Lead (TEL) & Ethylene Dibromide (EDB) contamination & poisoning referencing Blood Lead Level (BLL) data from 1,043,391 Michigan children to 448 nearby airports in Michigan (html) (pdf) (html).
The 2014 Study was published in right smack dab in the middle of the Flint Michigan Lead Poisoning Debacle. It certainly makes one seriously wonder:
What did they know and When did they know it?
“They” include former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and other former and current elected officials e.g. MIAG Bill Schuette, Lt. Governor Brian Calley, Senator Patrick Colbeck (a pilot & aerospace engineer), Representative Jeff Noble, Wayne County Commissioner Joe Barone, Canton Township Supervisor Pat Williams, and Plymouth Township Supervisor Kurt Heise along with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes & Energy (EGLE), previously called Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), Michigan Aeronautics Commission (MAC) or Wayne County Airport Authority (WCCA) authorities.
Aggressive Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) owned & operated Canton Plymouth Mettetal 1d2 airstrip expansion & growth directly correlates directly to 47% increase in the number of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) of students at Plymouth-Canton Community Schools (PCCS) (html).
NOTE: Astonishingly, “run-up” areas at Canton Plymouth Mettetal 1d2 airstrip are as close as 190m to 950m from THREE schools & TWO elderly assisted living & rehabilitation facilities!
BTW: the toxicity of Leaded Aviation 100LL fuel Tetraethyl Lead (TEL) & Ethylene Dibromide (EDB) contamination & poisoning is common knowledge and is well known in the aviation & defense industry for well over a decade!
Absolutely Nobody has been held responsible or even accountable for ANY Michigan Lead or PFAS contamination, poisoning or subsequent coverups ever! Appeals panel denies Snyder, Dillon requests for new hearing on Flint depositions, July 14, 2020 (html) | Detroit News. It will take years to resolve as responsible politicians and bureaucrats continue to attempt to wriggle free from any accountability to taxpayers at all.
Divided Michigan Supreme Court allows Flint water suit to proceed, July 29, 2020 (html) | Detroit News. The Michigan Supreme Court (html) ruled 3-3 that a claim of a violation of bodily integrity could continue, allowing a Court of Appeals decision to stand. The plaintiffs’ claim State of Michigan officials’ actions amounted to “more than a negligent decision”. Furthermore “Plaintiffs’ allegations, if true, are so egregious and outrageous that they shock the contemporary conscience and support a finding of defendants’ deliberate indifference to plaintiffs’ health and safety.”
Additionally, to this day there is still not a single Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes & Energy (EGLE), Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), Michigan Aeronautics Commission (MAC) or Wayne County Airport Authority (WCCA) acknowledgement, mention or even hint of Leaded Aviation 100LL fuel Tetraethyl Lead (TEL) & Ethylene Dibromide (EDB) hazard or toxicity anywhere to be found. Go figure!
When MDHHS & MDOT were asked in 2017 if they were aware children were being poisoned by Leaded 100LL aviation fuel Tetraethyl Lead (TEL), both respectively responded, off the record of course, “It’s complicated” and “There’s no evidence or proof of illegality.” Real comforting, right? Nobody has made any “for the record” statement to date!
MDOT continues to support, invest taxpayer dollars, enable & endorse toxic, hazardous, obsolete Leaded 100LL Aviation fuel technology that provides zero benefit for taxpayers, while providing massive liabilities, to suit their own needs and for the good of wealthy Special Interest & Industry Lobbyists.
MDOT has betrayed the public trust by breaking the two basic taxpayer tenets: violating citizens bodily integrity while ignoring the Health, Safety & Welfare of vulnerable populations and abusing the fiduciary responsibility to taxpayers. One of the highest legal duties of one party to another, being a fiduciary, requires trust & being bound ethically to act in the other’s best interests, MDOT has blatantly shunned ethics altogether and continues to acquiesce betraying the public trust while seeing No Consequences Abusing Public Funding (html).
Pure & simple MDOT flaunts multiple conflicts of interest, malfeasance, failure to warn, failure to intervene, coupled with blatant negligence & malpractice driven by multiple conflicts of interest.
Large portions of Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) funding and revenues are spent to the detriment of the people of Michigan to benefit a privileged few. The largest single waste of taxpayer money in the history of Michigan!
Five (5) day 4 star resort parties (so-called business meetings), usually Harbor Springs, Traverse City or in 2020 on Mackinac Island, private airstrips for the wealthy, weekend overtime for lawn cutting & mulching, compensation for cronies, ad nauseum . . .
Is This What Michigan is Really Famous For?
Is this what Michigan is Really Famous For? Detroit largest municipal bankruptcy (html), Flint Lead Poisoning Debacle (html), Michigan State University (MSU) Dr. Larry Nasser abuse (html), University of Michigan (UMich) Dr. Robert E. Anderson abuse (html) (html) (html) (html), now MDOT Tetraethyl (html) Lead (html) & PFAS (html) coverups run by privileged Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and Michigan Aeronautics Commission (MAC) in-house & on-staff Special Interest & Industry Lobbyists.
Appears to be a common Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) theme & problem as well, nobody can find any accountability anywhere near the MDOT ‘stink’. Can someone from the State of Michigan, anyone, PLEASE take some, any responsibility or accountability for something somewhere, anywhere, PLEASE? “Hello, Hello anybody home? Think McFly think (html)!”
Detroit is the 7th fastest shrinking large city in U.S., according to study, August 20, 2020 (html) | News Hits | Detroit Metro Times. Despite its “comeback city” narrative, the Motor City is still losing population. Detroit has an average drop of 0.37% per year, compared with average growth of 0.8% for large cities in the U.S.
See Section “Is This What Michigan is Famous For?” (html) for more disappointing, embarrassing lurid details.
Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Summary
Nobody wants to live, work, play, shop or raise a family anywhere near the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Clown Parade! How will Michigan attract & retain required talent for real growth or even a modest recovery over the next decade?
Now, that more than half of Americans are millennials or younger, Thursday, July 30, 2020 (html) | Brookings Institution (html). The combined Millennial, Gen Z, and younger generations numbered 166 million as of July 2019, or 50.7% of the nation’s population—larger than 162 million Americans associated with the combined Gen X, Baby Boomer, and older cohorts. Michigan has a distinct REQUIREMENT and should be desperate to attract & retain younger talent to survive any global competitive shakedown.
The State of Michigan does NOT need to attract anymore arrogant hostile clowns with unsustainable Leaded 100LL Aviation Fuel Tetraethyl Lead (TEL) based flying junk piles & technology by any stretch of the imagination, MDOT has done of a great job of luring, enabling & supporting undesirable Special Interests & Industry Lobbyist concerns & agendas that will certainly chase away any needed talent in droves. Houston, we have a problem (html) and Michigan residents are really paying for it, literally & figuratively . . .
Let’s all thank MDOT for their great Pure Michigan Non-Growth Agenda!
Time to #DeFundMDOTClownPatrol!
Michigan Citizens Demand Removal of Fraudulent Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Budgets
LANSING — Friday July 31, 2020 – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed spending bills as part of an agreement to resolve a $2.2 billion deficit in the current budget by using federal coronavirus relief aid, tapping savings, shifting funds and banking cost cuts from employee furloughs that are complete.
The State of Michigan still faces an uphill battle regarding a future multi-billion dollar shortfall in the fiscal year that starts in two months due to declining tax revenues in the pandemic. Michigan’s fiscal year starts October 1 and ends September 30. Schools in particular are in limbo as they prepare to reopen without knowing their 2020-21 state aid, as well as critical planning for 2022.
- State of Michigan (SoM) – State Budget Office (html).
- State Budget Office – Executive Budget (html).
- Executive Budget Fiscal Years 2021 and 2022 (pdf).
- Executive Budget Recommendation, FY 2021, State Budget Director Chris Kolb (pdf).
- FY 2021 Executive Budget Recommendation, Education Briefing Papers, February 6, 2020 (pdf).
- FY 2021 Executive Budget Recommendation, General Briefing Papers, February 6, 2020 (pdf).
- Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget (DTMB) – Fiscal Year 2020 – Legislative Reports (html).
- Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget (DTMB) – Fiscal Year 2019 – Legislative Reports (html).
Time to #DeFundMDOTClownPatrol! Demand that our Michigan legislators in Lansing remove phony bloated fraudulent Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) budgets that rip off Michigan taxpayers!
Michigan & the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Failure
The COVID-19 pandemic, much like the Flint water crisis, has exposed the shortcomings of government. Municipal agencies must legally prepare for public health crises. Once again, Michigan is seeing confusion about the relative legal roles of local, state, and federal agencies, along with failures to communicate and cooperate productively across all levels of government
To prepare for and mitigate public health crises, government officials should examine which federal, state, and local agencies have legal authority to investigate and counter threats to public health, as well as develop criteria for notifying the public of the dangers to the Health, Safety and Welfare of the community.
Basic flaws in the Michigan legal structure as well as how the laws are implemented in Michigan not only failed to stop but also exacerbated the crisis in Flint. Legal preparedness, could prevent future public health crises by helping government officials understand and identify gaps in complex legal arrangements and better coordinate across agencies and levels of government.
Legal preparedness is about understanding the law and then preparing accordingly for water contamination, a viral outbreak, or avoidable environmental disasters like Tetraethyl Lead Poisoning. Public health and environmental officials have a lot of discretion over when and whether to act. They need to be very careful about using their authority, without waiting too long.
That balance that failed in Flint and likely led to delays in making any let alone any public response to Tetraethyl Lead Poisoning at Canton Plymouth Mettetal 1d2 as well as other environmental disasters scattered all across Michigan such as PFAS or the now infamous Green Oooze (html). Michigan’s ‘green ooze’ may be ‘tip of iceberg’ of state’s toxic sites (html). Special Interest & Industry lobbyists have infiltrated MDOT like a festering cancerous tumor with their horrible toxic agendas even managing to pass very specific legislation to protect themselves at the expense of vulnerable populations in Michigan, simply gut wrenching!
Michigan desperately needs “structural reforms to increase transparency and accountability” and to prevent MDOT from exercising undue subjective biased direction, discretion & in many cases complete control over taxpayer money based on multiple conflicts of interest.
Green liquid gushing from walls on Michigan highway keeps lanes closed (html) | USA Today. Mysterious green ooze on Michigan highway came from waste site whose owner is in prison.
Decreasing Health Investment, Increasing Poverty & Inequity
Michigan is the only state made up of two peninsulas, the lower “Mitten” and the Upper Peninsula, or UP. Michigan covers 56,804 square miles, with a 2019 estimated population of 9,986,857 people (82% urban) – 1,797,835 people (18%) in rural areas (USDA-ERS). The state’s largest cities are Detroit (html), Grand Rapids (html), and Warren (html).
Metro Detroit Area (Wayne, Macomb, Oakland, Lapeer, St. Clair, Monroe), Washtenaw, Berrien, Genesee, Kent, Muskegon, Ottawa, Allegan, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Calhoun, Ingham, Eaton, Clinton, Saginaw, Bay and Midland.
As of January 2020 Michigan had:
- 37 Critical Access Hospitals
- 189 Rural Health Clinics (a ratio of almost 10,000 people per clinic)
- 119 Federally Qualified Health Center sites located outside of Urbanized Areas
- 34 short term hospitals located outside of Urbanized Areas
Part of a Detroit Free Press (html) Three Part Series: Rural Education Deserts by David Jesse (@reporterdavidj) / Twitter, highlights vast differences by Comparing and contrasting two completely different cities in their respective counties.
Ann Arbor is in Washtenaw County, one Michigan’s richest and most educated counties in terms of median household income. Baldwin is in Lake County, Michigan’s poorest in terms of median household income.
Washtenaw is Michigan’s most educated county, with the highest percentage of adults with some sort of college degree. Lake County is among Michigan’s least educated, with the second-lowest percentage of adults with some sort of college degree. Here is the outline for the three part series:
- College distant dream (html). Rural Michigan counties are education deserts, trap people in poverty. Michigan’s poorest counties are education deserts, creating a cycle of a lack of jobs that entrenches poverty.
- Aging and poor (html). Michigan rural poverty: Relentless aging, few job or education options. “You’re not living well. You’re living an unhealthy lifestyle in every aspect. It’s one foot on a banana peel and one foot on concrete.”
- Making it out? (html). Getting to college from rural Michigan is tough. Staying is tougher. There’s more to increasing college graduates than just free college. Rural area students have challenges to overcome that extend way beyond money.
USA Today also published David Jesse’s Article:
- College crisis: Rural America’s education deserts trap poor people (html) | USA Today. David Jesse, Detroit Free Press, Jan. 27, 2020. 60 miles from college: Lack of education, a way out of poverty, could ‘kill rural America’. More than 5 million Americans live in education deserts, lacking any college within a 30-minute drive. Few students go away to college, and poverty persists.
- Editor’s note: The promise of public education in America has lifted up millions of children and helped to create the middle class. But education opportunities in cities far outpace those in rural areasas reported by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Economic Research Service (ERS) (html). In 2020, as the divisions in America are starker than perhaps ever before, the USA TODAY Network will examine issues in rural education. Reporters in our Network are uniquely positioned to write these stories: Many of them call small-town and mid-America home. This month, the series launches with an exploration of the widest educational divide between rural and urban America: the percentage of adults with college degrees.
Michigan’s rural counties with a population that is increasingly uneducated, poor and/or aging, demographics show. Big chunks of rural Michigan — including all of the Thumb and most of northern lower Michigan — are higher education deserts, without easy access to any four-year or community college.
The future for a big swath of the state looks pretty dark. Almost 30% of Michigan’s 83 counties have an average age older than 55. All are rural counties.
By 2025, demographers project more than 40% of Michigan counties will have more than a quarter of their population older than 65. Almost all of those are rural counties. “No other state has that,” demographer Kurt Metzger (html) (html) said. “It’s this relentless move toward aging.”
36 Michigan counties, or 43% of all Michigan counties, have no facility to delivers babies. That’s up from 25 counties in 2004. In the 1980s, Michigan had more than 220 hospitals. Today, Michigan now has 133, or almost a 40% decrease in hospitals statewide. Most of the state’s hospitals are clustered in Urban centers, with several cities having multiple hospitals.
A large percentage of Michigan’s rural counties have anywhere from 14 – 30% of their population living in poverty. Huge stretches of rural Michigan lack easy access to any college — much less a community college.
Increasing Poverty & Education Deserts represent a significant hurdle to Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s goal of having 60% of all Michigan residents attain some sort of postgraduate degree.
- Michigan sets 60% higher ed goal | Attainment rates in the states | Lumina Foundation (html).
- State of Michigan (SoM) Whitmer – Governor Whitmer Joins Complete College America (html).
- State of Michigan (SoM) Whitmer – New Report Shows Michigan Improving Toward Postsecondary Goal, Highlights Need to Pass Bipartisan Michigan Reconnect Legislation (html).
- State of the State: Whitmer calls for 60% higher ed goal by 2030 (html) | Crains Detroit.
Another expose on poverty around the US, in particular see the poignant story again highlighting Flint Michigan in “Geography of Poverty Northeast”. The entire series is described below:
- Geography of Poverty Introduction| msnbc| NBC News. Geography of Poverty: A journey through forgotten America. The most vulnerable Americans are being crushed by the grip of poverty, from the deserts of the Southwest through the black belt in the South, to the post-industrial, rusting factory towns that dot the Midwest and Northeast. Michigan cities visited include Detroit, Saginaw, Flint, Grayling, and others.
- Geography of Poverty Southwest. Dark Valley: Life in the Shadows. Pockets of poverty persist across America’s Southwest.
- Geography of Poverty South. Cancer Alley: Big Industry, Big Problems. Clusters of poverty and sickness shadow America’s industrial South.
- Geography of Poverty Northeast. The Rust Belt: Once Mighty Cities in Decline. An auto giant’s exit brings the region to its knees. Flint Michigan has been devastated in too many ways to count, a sad retrospect for a once proud state, city and region.
- Geography of Poverty Northwest. No Man’s Land: The Last Tribes of the Plains. As industry closes in, Native Americans fight for dignity and natural resources.
- The Heartland: Life and Loss in Ohio’s Steel City. Industrial luster tarnished in a cutthroat global economy.
- The Big City: Prison’s Grip on the Black Family. The spirals of poverty and mass incarceration upend urban communities.
Poverty in Michigan
UM: Before COVID about 14% of state residents were living in poverty, now the number is approaching almost 30% (html). University of Michigan researchers indicate poverty rate is just one of nine indicators included in the latest Michigan Poverty and Well-Being Map (html) released by the University of Michigan (html) Poverty Solutions (html), which aims to prevent and alleviate poverty through action-based research.
Wayne County has the third highest poverty rate in Michigan at 21.7%. There is also evidence of an undercount of homeless children in Wayne County which means the percentage of children who experience homelessness by the end of elementary school is likely much higher than the data show for Southeast Michigan as a whole.
Alpena homeless shelter, soup kitchen offer rare resource Up North (html) | Detroit Free Press. Tales from the Rural North. Homeless people Up North are drawn to this small Michigan community. With few social services, the poor and the homeless in rural towns flock to the closest big city in an effort to survive. In northeast Michigan, that place is Alpena. The homeless come in from the woods, from the shelter up the street, from the cars where they slept at night, from the homes of relatives and friends who’d take them in until they wore out their welcome.
Poverty in the UP: Down and out in purest Michigan, Updated Apr 02, 2019 (html) – mlive.com. K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base now Sawyer International Airport. (KSAW) [Wikipedia Sawyer] [Marquette County] Sawyer International Airport (html). Sawyer has been called “Little Detroit” and the “hood in the woods.” It has been, and still is, considered by some to be the Upper Peninsula’s slum, the once orderly and insular military base turned ghetto. To some residents who live on the three streets known for the highest poverty and crime, it’s true.
More than 20 years after the military left, it is an isolated outpost in need of jobs, transportation, a grocery store, laundromat, more activities for youth, as well as additional drug treatment for adults.
Michigan Rural Areas No Stranger to Healthcare Challenges In Documentary, April 5, 2019 (html) | WKAR. America’s healthcare system can be complicated if you live in a large city. But for people in Michigan’s rural areas, the challenges are multiplied by distance, a lack of providers and stigma of substance abuse. According to the Rural Health Information Hub (html) 189 health clinics care for the nearly 1.8 million Michigan residents who live in rural areas in both the upper and lower peninsulas, BTW: this is a ratio of almost 10,000 people per clinic!
One of the Poorest and One of Richest Cities in Michigan
Poorest cities in the US face financial hardships and poverty, May 7, 2019 (html) | USA Today. Home to just 4% of the world’s population and nearly 25% of global economic activity, the United States is one of the richest countries in the world.
Despite the concentration of wealth in the United States, parts of the country have been left behind. In nearly every state, there is at least one town where financial hardship and poverty are the defining characteristics.
Hamtramck (html) is the poorest city in Michigan and one of the poorest towns in the United States. Hamtramck is one of only three cities in the United States where over half of the population lives below the poverty line. Due to widespread financial insecurity, about 45% of Hamtramck’s 22,000 residents rely on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.
Richest Cities In Michigan For 2020, January 11, 2020 (html) – HomeSnacks. The ninth (#9) richest city in Michigan is Plymouth. The City of Plymouth (html) (html) (html) is entirely surrounded by the Charter Township of Plymouth and right next door to Canton Township.
Plymouth – Canton gets a Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) ‘protected’ airstrip for the wealthy with a cozy clubhouse lounge offering free coffee, computers with high speed Comcast Cable connection right in everyone’s backyards at no extra charge! And NONE of the surrounding communities have ever it!
Only 28 miles apart! 32 minutes by car. Wow, that’s a real Pure Michigan difference! BTW: senior Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) administrators and Michigan Aeronautics Commission (MAC) members live in Canton Township (Bryan html), Plymouth Township (html) & Dearborn (html) (html) within minutes of MDOT Owned & Operated Canton-Plymouth Mettetal 1d2 Airstrip.
Additionally, nobody knew that the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) even owned & operated this airport as it was NOT marked with any official State of Michigan signage until very recently, sneaky MDOT creeps, go figure.
State of Michigan (SOM) – Additional Food Assistance, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), for 350,000 Michigan Families in Response to COVID-19 Emergency Extended Through July (html). LANSING, MICH. July 14, 2020. Approximately 350,000 Michigan families will continue to have access to additional food assistance benefits during the month of July as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced today.
Michigan previously approved the additional food assistance for March through June – and now that is being extended for the month of July with approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service.
“Many Michigan families are still struggling to put food on the table as a result of this global pandemic,” Gov. Whitmer said. “These additional payments will help many Michiganders as they continue to deal with an unprecedented public health and economic emergency.” Nearly 1.5 million people, or almost 15% of the total population in Michigan receive federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits through the state’s Food Assistance Program.
Group protests to get extension of eviction moratorium in Detroit, August 17, 2020 (html) | Detroit Free Press. The group, organized by Detroit Eviction Defense (html), demanded that all evictions in Detroit and Michigan be banned until at least 60 days after the extended state of emergency — Sept. 4 — in order to keep residents in their homes during the ongoing pandemic.
Jobs in Detroit projected to fall more than 11% in 2020, due to COVID-19, August 14, 2020 (html) | Detroit News. Michigan is not slated to rebound to pre-pandemic employment levels until 2024, according to the forecast.
Homeless in Michigan
Homeless in Michigan Statistics 2018. Homeless Estimation by State (html) | US Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH). As of January 2019, Michigan had an estimated 8,575 experiencing homelessness on any given day, as reported by Continuums of Care (html) (pdf) (html) to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Public school data reported to the U.S. Department of Education (html) during the 2017-2018 school year shows that an estimated 35,193 public school students experienced homelessness over the course of the year.
State report: Homelessness ticks up in Michigan (html) | Michigan Radio.
What the pandemic taught us about homelessness — and what we shouldn’t forget, 08/02/20 (html) | TheHill.
Substandard Michigan Education Investment
It has not really been a secret in Michigan. Michigan education is in deep trouble.
- Study: Michigan ranks last in school funding growth over 20 years (Crains)
- Michigan ranked 44th nationally in higher education spending in 2019 (TheMichiganDaily).
- Fewer students, tepid state funding roil Michigan public universities (BridgeMagazine).
- States with the best (and worst) schools. Few state school systems report worse achievement metrics than Michigan. (USAToday).
Michigan State University (MSU) did a 2019 study that has been reported on extensively.
- MSU: Michigan ‘dead last’ in funding growth for K-12 schools, Jan. 23, 2019 (html) | Detroit News. Michigan ranks “dead last” among all states in revenue growth for K-12 schools since voters approved property tax and finance Proposal A in 1994, according to a new report by researchers at Michigan State University.
- Under Proposal A, Michigan ranks last in funding growth for public schools, MSU study says, Jan 24, 2019 (html) – mlive.com. Twenty-five years after Michigan voters approved Proposal A, Michigan ranks last among the 50 states in funding growth for public education, according to a new analysis by Michigan State University.
- Study: Michigan ranks dead last in school funding growth, Jan. 23, 2019 (html) | Detroit Free Press. No other state tightened its education spending more than Michigan did over a 20-year period, according to a newly released study.
- Why is Michigan leading the retreat on K-12 spending? Jan. 25, 2019 (html) | Detroit Free Press. Michigan schools stink because we stopped paying for them | Editorial. Here’s the plain truth: We Michiganders have been lying to ourselves (html).
- Michigan cut school funding and school performance plummeted. Coincidence? January 23, 2019 (html) | Bridge Magazine. Michigan ranks dead last in the nation in school funding growth in the quarter century since Michigan radically changed how it funded public education system.
- Study says Michigan ranks dead last among states in total education revenue growth, Jan 23, 2019 (html) | American School & University (html). Education revenue in Michigan in 2015 was only 82 percent of the state’s 1995 revenue. “No other state is close to a decline of this magnitude,” the study asserts.
- MSU study: Michigan school funding lower now than 25 years ago (html) ⋆Michigan Advance.
- MSU study: Michigan public schools face nation’s sharpest decline in state funding, JAN 25, 2019 (html) | Michigan Radio.
- Study: Michigan school funding growth was last from ’95-’15 (html) | AP News. Michigan’s per-pupil spending declined by 15 percent over the same 20-year period when modified for inflation, which ranked 48th among 50 states.
- The state with the biggest education funding drop over two decades? Report says it’s Betsy DeVos’s home, Michigan, Feb. 5, 2019 (html). – The Washington Post.
Seems like everyone got the memo except the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and maybe Betsy DeVos!
Michigan School Finance at The Crossroads: A Quarter Century of State Control. Michigan State University Education Policy Report January 2019
Education Policy Forum (html) – College of Education (html) – Michigan State University (MSU) created the report Michigan School Finance at The Crossroads: A Quarter Century of State Control. Michigan State University Education Policy Report January 2019, Copyright © 2019 Board of Trustees of Michigan State University (pdf).
The report notes that Michigan’s public school system is at a crossroads. It is not performing well. In contrast to 1993, Michigan’s tax rates and student performance now fall well below the national average. These unsatisfactory educational outcomes now constitute the primary catalyst for changes in funding policy.
Why has education funding declined? The state’s allocation of School Aid Fund revenues to activities other than K-12 education has contributed to the problem, but the fundamental cause is the state’s declining tax effort.
Infographic Fact Sheet (pdf).
- 30% Drop in Funding from 2002 to 2015.
- Compared to other 50 states, Michigan is the bottom of the pack Proficiency growth (2003-2015).
- 50th out of the 50 states in school funding growth since 1995.
- Michigan should follow the guidance of the landmark 2016 Adequacy study and Crossroads report (pdf) Michigan Education Finance Study. Prepared for State of Michigan By Augenblick, Palaich and Associates, June 2016
- How the U.S. Department of Education can foster education reform in the era of Trump and Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), February 2, 2017 (html) (pdf). Michigan experienced below average growth and below average proficiency and is clearly struggling. | Brookings Institution (html).
Michigan schools face nation’s worst decline in state education funding (html) | MSUToday | Michigan State University.
Michigan Education – Schools 2020 Update
Michigan schools need $1 billion to reopen safely, group tells Whitmer, June 18, 2020 (html) | Detroit News.
Senator Warns of Potential 25% Cut in Michigan School Funds, May 12, 2020 (html) | Michigan News | US News
Tri-County Alliance (TCA) for Public Education (html). TCA strives to be the statewide leader in education policy and advocacy to ensure every child in Michigan has equitable access to a quality education and the opportunity to succeed both in and outside of the classroom.
Education Funding Cuts Require a Scalpel, Not an Axe, May 7, 2020 (html) – Citizens Research Council of Michigan.
GOP leader: Up to 25 percent cuts to Michigan schools from coronavirus, May 11, 2020 (html) | Bridge Magazine.
Shirkey: Don’t cut Michigan schools budget despite $1.2 billion coronavirus shortfall, May 18, 2020 (html) | Bridge Magazine. But it’s likely only a temporary reprieve from the budget ax — schools face large cuts in the 2020-21 state budget caused by a projected $1.1 billion shortfall in the School Aid Fund next year. That budget must be approved by the Legislature and signed by the governor by Oct. 1, 2020.
Michigan ranked 44th nationally in higher education spending in 2019, September 18, 2019 (html) | The Michigan Daily.
Michigan 2019 per student: $195.52.
National 2019 average per student: $280.60.
Analyses Critical of Michigan School Funding Ignore Almost 20% Of Detroit Operations Money (html) – Michigan Capitol Confidential. Reports disregard the revenue source that boosts funding for poor communities over wealthy ones.
The per-pupil funding figures are available in Michigan Department of Education (html) databases and memos. Bulletin 1014 – Michigan Public Schools Ranked by Select Financial Information. The Bulletin 1014 contains various pieces of financial information about Michigan Public Schools including revenue and expenditure per pupil. They also include the fall pupil count, average teacher salary, and taxable value information.
State of Education Today (html) – The Education Trust (html) – Midwest (html). Over the last fifteen years, Michigan’s relative rank has fallen dramatically in early reading and math student achievement compared to the rest of the country. Gains made by the nation are not being shared in Michigan. Data suggest Michigan’s K-12 education system is witnessing a systemic failure. Indeed, Michigan is on its way to becoming ranked among the worst education states in the country, even worse than traditionally abysmal states such as Mississippi and Nevada.
A Marshall Plan: Reimagining Michigan Public Education: 2020 State of Michigan Education Report, Jun 23, 2020 (html) (pdf). Amid nationwide focus on systemic racial injustice, Ed Trust-Midwest issues a blueprint for Michigan’s Educational Recovery to address long-standing opportunity and achievement gaps.
Michigan’s School Funding: Crisis & Opportunity, 01-23-2020 (html) (pdf) – Michigan Achieves (html) edtrustmidwest.org. Despite Michigan having one of the highest rates of concentrated poverty in the country, the state’s current funding system does not provide funding specifically for districts with high concentrations of students from low-income backgrounds.
National Education Association (NEA) – Rankings of States and Estimates of School Statistics, June 2020 (html). Rankings & Estimates: Rankings of the States 2019 and Estimates of School Statistics 2020(pdf).
Home Page – Michigan Education Association (MEA).
Conclusion: Michigan schools are in terrible shape, to say they’re improving is not surprising when you’re starting from the absolute bottom!
Time to #DeFundMDOTClownPatrol! Demand that our Michigan legislators in Lansing remove phony bloated fraudulent Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) budgets that rip off Michigan taxpayers!
Non-Existent Michigan Infrastructure
American Society for Civil Engineers (ASCE) Gives Michigan Infrastructure a D+ | ASCE’s 2018 Infrastructure Report Card (html). The 2018 Report Card for Michigan’s Infrastructure, released today, gave the state an overall grade of a “D+.” Much of the state’s infrastructure is reaching the end of its useful life and continues to threaten the state’s lakes, rivers, drinking water, and public health and safety. 13 categories of infrastructure were assessed by a group of expert civil engineers, and of those 13, nine categories were in mediocre condition and four were in poor condition. Michigan’s infrastructure ranged from the highest grade of “C+” for Solid Waste to the lowest grade of “D-” for Roads and Stormwater.
Michigan Infrastructure | American Society for Civil Engineers ASCE’s 2018 Infrastructure Report Card (html) (pdf). Today, Michigan’s infrastructure is old and outdated. Michigan’s economic downturn resulted in underinvestment in maintenance and repairs. We’re now faced with pothole-ridden roads, bridges propped with temporary supports, sinkholes destroying homes and closed beaches. The 21st Century Infrastructure Commission determined an additional $4 billion annually is needed to maintain our infrastructure. Michigan must support innovative policies leading to cleaner water, smoother highways, and a safe environment that will attract business and improve our quality of life.
Key Facts About Michigan’s Ailing Infrastructure 2019 (pdf).
- 11,180 bridges, 10.5% of which were structurally deficient in 2017
- There are 1,059 dams in Michigan, 172 of which are high-hazard potential. Of the high-hazard potential dams, 94% have an Emergency Action Plan
- $13.05 billion in drinking water infrastructure needs over 20 years
- 65 sites on the Superfund National Priorities List
- 122,036 miles of public roads, with 24% in poor condition. Each motorist pays $646 per year in costs from driving on roads in need of repair
- $1.3 billion gap in estimated school infrastructure needs over 20 years capital expenditures in Michigan (NOTE: this was before the pandemic!)
- $2.07 billion in wastewater infrastructure needs over 20 years
- ERROR: 95 public-use airports in Michigan. (not sure where they got this stat from but it is dead wrong! Seemingly more MDOT propaganda and misinformation to CYA.
Edenville Dam: Midland, Gladwin, Arenac, Iosco and Saginaw counties Disaster Declaration
Gov. Whitmer came into office with bold policy plans. Now, they’re on hold as she battles crises, Jul 24, 2020 (html) – mlive.com. Fixing the damn Roads is going to have to wait a while longer. “We’re dealing with a 100-year pandemic event that has ravished the globe. A 500-year flooding event. An economic recession bigger than anyone’s dealt with since the great depression. And on top of it, righteous civil unrest around policing. I mean, in any circumstance one of those things would require your complete attention,” Whitmer said in an interview last week.
Whitmer requests disaster declaration, aid for $245M in flood damage, June 15, 2020 (html) | Detroit News. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Monday requested a major disaster declaration from President Donald Trump for $245 million in damage widespread flooding caused in five Michigan counties last month.
The damage done in Midland, Gladwin, Arenac, Iosco and Saginaw counties amounted to roughly $190 million in losses for residents and $55 million in damage to public infrastructure, according to the 50-page request Whitmer sent to Trump on Monday.
Gretchen Whitmer asks President Donald Trump for Midland flooding declaration (html) | Detroit Free Press.
President Trump approves request for mid-Michigan flood disaster declaration (html) | Detroit News.
Whitmer – Governor Whitmer Requests Major Disaster Declaration for Mid-Michigan Counties Impacted by Flooding (html). 50 page Letter from Michigan Governor Whitmer to President Donald Trump, 06-15-2020 (pdf).
State of Michigan (SoM) Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE): Owner of failed Midland dams won’t let us assess remaining danger, August 6, 2020 (html) | Detroit Free Press.
Neighbors of Michigan dam DON’T WANT STATE investigating its failure, June 9, 2020 (html) | Bridge Magazine. Group wants independent investigators to review the disaster, which caused massive flooding and some $200 million in damages to more than 2,500 buildings in Midland, Gladwin and Saginaw counties. To those “who own private infrastructure, we must tell them this: If you choose to place your own interests above the safety of the public, then you will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law,” Nessel told reporters on Tuesday. Michigan can’t hold MDOT responsible for ignoring the Health, Safety & Welfare of the public across the state, good luck with that Dana.
Task force plans to use eminent domain to take dams from Boyce Hydro, July 21, 2020 (html) | Detroit News. “There is no viable scenario where the existing owner or any other private owner can restore the dams and lakes,” said David Kepler, chairman of the Four Lakes Task Force. “It was not viable before the dam failures, and now is a barrier to moving forward.” The dams’ owners will vehemently defend the property, said Lawrence Kogan, a lawyer for Boyce Hydro. Kepler’s plan for the property is “insincere,” “dangerous” and dependent on hypothetical funding, he said. Boyce Hydro faces “huge liabilities and cleanup costs” without access to state and federal funding that would help with those efforts, Kepler said.
FOUR LAKES TASK FORCE (html) – Four Lakes Task Force. A Sustainable Future for the Four Lakes. We believe the four lake communities can work together to bring our beloved lakes back and create an affordable and safe future for those that live on and downstream of Secord, Smallwood, Wixom and Sanford Lakes. These people desperately need help, hope they make some progress, basically one David vs many Goliaths, good luck with that!
Owners of failed Midland-area dams file for bankruptcy, Aug. 4, 2020 (html) | Detroit News.
Dangers of Edenville Dam failure evaded state scrutiny, May 21, 2020 (html) | Detroit News.
Sanford residents seek $1.25 million from federal government following Michigan dam failure, 07-24-2020 (html) – mlive.com.
Still recovering from flood, Midland now faces prospect of layoffs at Dow, 07-24-2020 (html) – mlive.com. An estimated 5,000 people in the region of Bay, Saginaw and Midland counties work for Dow, and the company has more than 36,000 employees worldwide. The exact number of layoffs was not revealed.
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) – Preparing for proactive dam removal decisions, 10 Jul 2020, Vol. 369, Issue 6500 (html) | Science. On 18 May, the Edenville and Sanford dams, built in the 1920s to serve the people of Michigan, failed after a series of extreme rainfall events. More than 10,000 residents were evacuated, and flood waters inundated a major chemical complex, raising concerns of a widespread environmental catastrophe.
These incidents, the latest in the long line of increasingly frequent dam failures, highlight once again the importance of proactively addressing aging and problematic dams. To move forward, we need a scientific and legal framework in place to evaluate if and when dam removal is required and to ensure that adequate funds are devoted to implementing responsible decisions.
To prevent future catastrophic events like the one in Michigan, we must clarify the importance of making funds available for rehabilitation and removal by raising awareness about the risks of problematic dams to human safety and environmental health.
State of Michigan (SoM). Dam Removal Success Stories: Restoring Rivers Through Selective Removal of Dams That Don’t Make Sense, December 1999 (pdf). This report was prepared by Friends of the Earth (FOE), American Rivers (html), and Trout Unlimited (TU).
Dam Removal Success Stories (html) | Trout Unlimited (TU). Even in difficult times, our mission endures. Together, we are working to protect, reconnect and restore the places we love to fish. Removing Dams Has Many Benefits (pdf)???, and Dam Removal Success Stories, Executive Summary (pdf)???.
State of Michigan (SoM) Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) Edenville Dam Inspection Report, Date of Inspection: June 2019 to March 2020 (pdf).Dam Identification No.: 549. Hazard Potential: High. SE 1⁄4 Section : T.17N. – R.01W. Tobacco Township, Gladwin County, Michigan Located on Tobacco & Tittabawassee Rivers Per Part 315, Act 451 of 1994.
State of Michigan (SoM) Governor Gretchen Whitmer (html) – Governor Whitmer Directs EGLE to Investigate Failures of Edenville, Sanford Dams, May 27, 2020 (html). “This flooding forced thousands to evacuate their homes, destroyed public infrastructure, ruined homes and businesses, and caused major natural resource damage,” said Governor Whitmer. “We must ensure accountability and prevent a disaster like this from happening again. I want to thank the first responders and volunteers who have stepped up to help in this time of unprecedented need.”
Time to #DeFundMDOTClownPatrol! Demand that our Michigan legislators in Lansing remove phony bloated fraudulent Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) budgets that rip off Michigan taxpayers!
Rampant Systemic Environmental Pollution & Contamination
Wayne County Hosts Highest Number of Contaminated Sites in Michigan (html) | Drawing Detroit (html). As of 2017, Michigan has 65 sites listed on the National Priorities List (NPL). An additional 19 sites that were previously on the NPL have been deleted because all necessary response actions were completed. BTW: this doesn’t that they are completely ‘safe’ only that they are contained in some form, more on this later.
The map shows that Wayne County (html) contains the largest number of contaminated sites 7,078 sites. Kent County (html) has 3,499 contaminated sites and Macomb County (html) has 2,315. See the List of Superfund sites in Michigan (html) – Wikipedia. Superfund (html) – Wikipedia.
Michigan’s environmental nightmares have resurfaced again and again, with sickly green liquid oozing onto a major freeway near Detroit, raising fresh worries about long-standing environmental failures now bubbling to the surface, literally.
State of Michigan (SoM) – July 2, 2020. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is reminding residents they should continue following ‘Do Not Eat’ and ‘Avoid Foam’ advisories for Huron River and several nearby waterbodies. More fish tissue and surface water data needed before advisories can be relaxed (html). This includes Geddes Pond (Washtenaw County), Ford Lake (Washtenaw County) and Belleville Lake (Wayne County) and many others.
High levels of bacteria close 3 metro Detroit beaches; 10 statewide, August 6, 2020 (html) | Detroit Free Press.
State of Michigan (SoM) – July 1, 2020. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) reminds Michiganders to avoid foam on lakes and rivers with high levels of PFAS (html).
Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) – FY 2018 Superfund Legislative Report (posted 7-16-2019) (html). Michigan Federal Superfund Program Legislative Report for FY 2018 (pdf). Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) Fiscal Year 2017 Federal Superfund Legislative Report (pdf).
Michigan’s Superfund Legislative Report Published (html) — Merit Laboratories, Inc. Since Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), also known also as Superfund began, there has been a total of 84 sites in Michigan, 19 of which have been removed through response actions. The most recent Superfund site removed from the list is the Burrows Sanitation site in Van Buren County, which was delisted in 2015. Only four sites have been removed in the last 10 years.
Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and Federal Facilities (html) | Enforcement | US EPA.
Summary of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (Superfund) (html) | Laws & Regulations | US EPA.
Superfund: CERCLA Overview (html) | Superfund | US EPA.
Superfund Sites in Reuse in Michigan (html) | Superfund Redevelopment Initiative | US EPA.
Michigan citizen sleuths exposed pollution from a century-old Michigan factory, with nationwide implications, May. 16, 2019 (html) | Science (html) | AAAS. Michigan has most PFAS sites in the nation. Concerned Citizens for Responsible Remediation (CCRR) work led to the detection of some of the highest levels of PFAS contamination in U.S. drinking water, and the effort helped trigger an unprecedented statewide survey of PFAS contamination in Michigan. The work has led to hundreds of lawsuits against Wolverine and other entities linked to the chemicals. And it has made Michigan a high-profile, closely watched battleground in a rapidly expanding scientific, political, and legal dispute over the threat that PFASs pose to millions of people in the United States.
Michigan Map Looks Like a Waterproof, Stain Resistant, Fireproof, Non-stick PFAS Mitten with a Secret Tetraethyl Lead (TEL) Lining That MDOT Just Happened to ‘forget’ to Tell ‘anyone’ About! How Convenient!
Michigan is so Late to the game, Rampant Tetraethyl Lead & PFAS, thanks in large part to MDOT inept excuses & delays coupled with negligence, malpractice and malfeasance.
State of Michigan (SOM) – Michigan PFAS Action Response Team launches grant program for municipal airport PFAS testing (html), press release April 27, 2020
Applications are Requested to Test or Sample for PFAS at Current or Former Part 139 Commercial Service Airports in Michigan (final pdf), July 1, 2020.
- Gretchen Whitmer, Governor
- Paul Ajegba, Director, Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT)
- Liesl Eichler Clark, Director, Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE)
State of Michigan (SOM) | Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) – Michigan PFAS Action Response Team awards $2.5 million in grants for municipal airport PFAS testing (html), Press Release July 1, 2020.
- Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW) – $250,000
- Willow Run Airport (YIP) – $250,000
- Delta County Airport (ESC) – $235,200
- Bishop International Airport Authority (FNT) – $250,000
- Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GRR) – $249,904
- Ford/Dickinson County Airport (KMT) – $250,000
- Manistee Blacker Airport (MBL) – $237,300
- Pellston Regional Airport (PLN) – $250,000
- Oakland County International Airport (OIC) – $100,000
- MBS International Airport (MBS) – $154,000
- Cherry Capitol Airport (TVC) – $249,981
What is Part 139? (html) – Part 139 Airport Certification | FAA
Slotkin amendment would help arm Michigan for PFAS battle, August 4, 2020 (html) – mlive.com. The amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) — an annual bill that contains hundreds of military budget and policy provisions — would require the Department of Defense to use the most stringent applicable standard when cleaning up PFAS contamination at places like Camp Grayling (html) or the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base (html) in Oscoda Michigan (html).
Officials issue warning about harmful algal bloom in Ford Lake, August 06, 2020 (html) – mlive.com.
Groups urge protection from ‘environmental racism’ in hazardous waste placement, 08-03-2020 (html) | Detroit News. US Ecology (html) (html)- Michigan currently houses eight hazardous waste facilities permitted to accept offsite waste. According to biennial reports filed with EGLE by each facility, in total Michigan commercial hazardous waste facilities received 316,548 tons of hazardous waste in 2017, the complaint noted.
Overall, about 70% of the waste was received from out-of-state, 25% was from sources within Michigan but outside the county where the commercial hazardous waste site is located, and just 5%, it adds, was received from a source within the same county where the commercial hazardous waste facility is based. More on this later, actually much more on this.
Report: Michigan has most PFAS sites in the nation (html) ⋆Michigan Advance. Michigan has the most sites in the country known to be contaminated with the group of toxic chemicals known as PFAS, according to a new report from the Washington, D.C.-based Environmental Working Group (EWG).
Michigan Legislators unveil legislation to hold polluters accountable, Feb 3, 2020 (html) | Metro Times.
Ann Arbor lawmakers propose polluter-pay cleanup law for Michigan, Feb 14, 2019 (html) – mlive.com.“When I was a child and I spilled a glass of orange juice on the counter, I usually would have to clean it up,” Rabhi said. “This bill basically codifies what should be elementary to all of us, that when you make a mess, you clean it up.
“But what that does is it just creates this enlarged and growing map, these dots that are popping up all over our state of new prohibition zones, new areas that suddenly we can’t drink the water anymore, that suddenly we can’t use those resources to irrigate our crops.”
“None of this is the state’s fault or the city’s fault. It is indeed the polluter’s fault and they ought to take care of it,” Ann Arbor Mayor Christopher Taylor said, reflecting on the current state of affairs.
Michigan’s success is directly tied to whether or not the people of this state are able to work and live in safety, because at the end of the day people and businesses alike don’t want to be someplace where the air is unbreathable. Our package aims to ensure that success for tomorrow by protecting the air our families breathe today.
Environmental Leaders in Michigan Fight to Improve Air Quality in Their Community, July 10, 2020 (html) | Earthjustice.
Fighting for the Right for Safe Air and Water (html) | Sierra Club Michigan Chapter.
Breathe Free Detroit (html) | Ecology Center.
Environmental Injustice: Exploring Inequities in Air and Water Quality in Michigan (html) | Congress.gov | Library of Congress
Homeland Security Digital Library. Environmental Injustice: Exploring Inequities in Air and Water Quality in Michigan, Hearing Before the Subcommittee on Environment of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, House of Representatives One Hundred Sixteenth Congress First Session, September 16, 2019 (html) (pdf).
State representative, senator reintroduce polluter-pay bill (html) | The Michigan Daily.
Improving Solid Waste Policy (html) – Michigan Environmental Council.
A Series of New Bills Seeks to Make Michigan’s Waste-Management System More Environmentally Responsible (html) – Waste Advantage Magazine.
New legislation stands up to polluters, protects our air and water (html) – Michigan League of Conservation Voters.
Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes & Energy (EGLE)- How Does Lead Affect Our Environment? (html). No mention of toxic dangers of Leaded 100LL Aviation fuel containing Tetraethyl Lead (TEL) or Ethylene Dibromide (EDB) here or anywhere else on Michigan.gov Home or any County or local municipality web sites either.
For MDOT and their friends, family and Special Interest & Industry Lobbyists it’s all about the money, history shows that over the ages the Lead culprits: Profiting from poison (html) – ThinkProgress. Tetraethyl Lead: The Solution to One, And Cause Of Many New Problems (html) | Hackaday. More on this too come.
Abysmal Bipartisan environmental record, no actions are taken by anyone unless there is money at stake!
Michigan Legislators Can’t Even Hold MDOT responsible or accountable for their negligence & pollution! 1M Michigan children BLLs showing poisoning from Leaded 100LL leaded aviation fuel with Tetraethyl Lead (TEL) related to 448 airports and PFAS everywhere in Michigan show the facts loud and clear!
It is No Mystery Why Real Growth Still Eludes Michigan
Much to the chagrin of everyone working on the recovery of Michigan including entrepreneurs, investors, businesses, schools & universities, non-profits and all the millionaires & billionaires including most other Michigan luminaries, bureaucrats and politicians that have ignored the issues for so long it should be no mystery why Real Growth Still Eludes Us, April 18, 2019 (html) – SaveMICity. SaveMICity is a campaign to educate Michigan residents, decision makers, and businesses about how municipalities are funded in our state and why the current system does not work for our communities.
Money that is owed our cities, villages, and townships by state statute has been redirected to plug holes in the state budget. That money should have gone to your community – where local people have a say on how it is spent on local issues.
Did you know? More than $8.6 billion has been diverted away from communities by the state.
Not only has MDOT and Special Interest & Industry Lobbyists run rough shod over too many communities to count all across the State of Michigan, Millions of taxpayer dollars have been silently wasted over the last 25 years!
A Broken System: Michigan has the most abysmal record for investing in local government. It’s worse than any state in the nation, and this directly relates to our ability to provide great services and create the places we all know are needed to be competitive in a global economy. We must reform our system to invest in what matters most: our communities.
Michigan Municipal League (MML) – We love where you live. The Michigan Municipal League is dedicated to making Michigan’s communities better by thoughtfully innovating programs, energetically connecting ideas and people, actively serving members with resources and services, and passionately inspiring positive change for Michigan’s greatest centers of potential: its communities.
Nobody Can Seem to Stop MDOT Destruction of the State of Michigan
Desperate Michigan recovery efforts to attract & retain talent are undone by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) practically on a daily basis. Michigan needs forward looking and thinking companies like Rivian. Sadly enough Rivian has their own problems. Rivian does not need more problems with their proximity to Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) owned and operated Canton Plymouth Mettetal 1d2 airstrip to continue to chase away needed talent for Michigan growth jobs.
Rivian in Plymouth Township Michigan has It’s Own Challenges, Certainly Doesn’t Need MDOT Leaded 100LL Aviation Fuel Tetraethyl Lead (TEL) Baggage Too!
Electric pickup truck interest grows, and Rivian R1T tops them all, August 14, 2020 (html) | Detroit Free Press. Interest in electric pickups is growing, and the early leaders — very early, since none of the vehicles in question exists yet — are Rivian’s R1T and the Tesla Cybertruck, according to a July survey of Tweets.
Electric pickup maker Bollinger moves HQ to Oak Park, hiring engineers, August 18, 2020 (html) | Detroit Free Press. The move from small offices in Ferndale to spacious Oak Park digs lays the groundwork for Bollinger to grow from 40 employees to 80 or 100, CEO Robert Bollinger said. He expects to hire a range of electrical, mechanical and manufacturing engineers, as the company builds and tests prototypes of its B1 electric SUV, B2 pickup and a pair of electric commercial vehicles.
Google News – Tesla accuses Rivian of stealing trade secrets – Overview (html).
Tesla sues Rivian for allegedly stealing secrets, poaching employees, July 23, 2020 (html) | CNBC.
Tesla takes aim at Rivian in lawsuit alleging trade secret theft, poaching talent, July 23, 2020 (html) | TechCrunch.
Rivian’s Production Plans Have Been Dealt A Huge Setback, May 8, 2020 (html), | CarBuzz.
The most promising of America’s numerous EV startups, Plymouth Township Michigan-based Rivian was dealt a tremendous blow when it was forced to pause its factory preparations as the global coronavirus pandemic made its way to the United States.
Previously, the company was all set to start producing its first vehicles in December of this year, buoyed by sizable investments from Amazon Prime and Ford Motor Company that would see the startup producing vehicles under contract for both.
Ford has since written down the agreement, canceling its plans to sell a Lincoln-branded luxury EV built upon Rivian’s flexible skateboard architecture, while Rivian pushed its target production start date for the R1T pickup and R1S SUV way, way back.
Potentially worse, it’s not yet clear what bearing the decision to delay production by six months will have on Rivian’s contract with Amazon Prime. Now it puts down around the same time or just before electric pickup trucks from Tesla, Ford, and GM. The competition is going to be fierce and potentially devastating.
Rivian: Automotive Technology Company. Rivian is an American automaker and automotive technology company. Founded in 2009, the company develops vehicles, products and services related to sustainable transportation. The company has facilities in Plymouth Township, Michigan.
Amazon – Communities, Innovation and Sustainability
- Press center (html) | Amazon.com, Inc. – Press Room
- Day One: The Amazon Blog (html) | Amazon.com, Inc.
- Amazon.jobs (html): Help us build Earth’s most customer-centric company.
- Amazon Lab126 (html) | Amazon.jobs
- About Amazon (html) | Amazon.com, Inc.
- Our communities (html) | Amazon.com, Inc.
- Amazon Science Homepage (html) | Amazon.com, Inc.
- Amazon Sustainability (html) | Amazon.com, Inc.
Amazon to hire 100 more white-collar jobs in Detroit at $150K, August 18, 2020 (html) | Detroit Free Press. Amazon says it employs more than 876,000 people worldwide, including 35,000 at its 18 Tech Hubs in North America.
Detroit, Michigan (html) | Amazon.jobs.
An inside look at how Amazon in Romulus has changed to keep up with COVID-19 pandemic demands, August 13, 2020 (html) | Click on Detroit.
Amazon looks to open $400M center at Detroit’s old State Fairgrounds, August 11, 2020 (html) | Detroit Free Press.
Amazon wants to build $400M distribution center with 1,200 new jobs at Michigan State Fairgrounds site in Detroit, August 11, 2020 (html) | Metro Times.
Henry Ford Health System Challenges
Other critical Michigan investments in danger from MDOT malfeasance include: the inconceivable Henry Ford Health recent plans for a new Health center at former Plymouth Township Kmart at 40855 Ann Arbor Rd, Plymouth, MI 48170. It’s not clear if senior management including Richard Chip Davis, PhD, EdM, Senior Vice President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Henry Ford Health System South Market and Henry Ford Hospital, and Robert G. Riney, President, Healthcare Operations and Chief Operating Officer (COO) have been presented the true facts and really appreciate the magnitude of what’s going on?
Whom would build a Medical facility practically right on top of a significant source of Tetraethyl Lead Poisoning to children? What doctors and nurses would want to work there? And would anyone in the surrounding communities actually want to go there to get healthy? It would be great to get the President and CEO Wright L. Lassiter III’s real opinion on this potential train wreck of a business proposition! Thanks again MDOT!
Desperately Needed: Sustainable Organizations to Support Michigan Recovery
The effects of the phony bloated Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) budget, rampant systemic environmental & sustainability damage and the persistent toxic threat to vulnerable populations across Michigan can be felt stretching from the City of Detroit (Mike Duggan) in Wayne County (Warren Evans), to the City Dearborn, home of Ford Motor Company (Ford) and lifelong futurist on urban mobility and the environment Executive Chairman Bill Ford (Fontinalis) (Ford), Canton Township (Pat Williams), Plymouth Township (Kurt Heise), Rivian CEO & Founder RJ Scaringe (Ford) (Rivian), Ypsilanti (City & Township), and on to Ann Arbor (Christopher Taylor) and beyond.
First, Michigan has to quit lying to itself and it’s taxpayers: Audit: Michigan inflates benefits of business subsidies, Jan. 30, 2019 (html) | Detroit News. (Governor Rick Snyder signed the origianl Executive Order abolishing the MEGA Board and transferring the various responsibilities of the MEGA to the Michigan Strategic Fund.
The audit found that the Strategic Fund (html), a quasi-government agency that dispenses taxpayer subsidies to businesses, did not have adequate documentation for six percent of the qualified new jobs Auditor General Doug Ringler reviewed and overstated its projected return on investment 30 percent in 2016. It also shows that the state taxpayers could be paying for phantom jobs for projects that have received state subsidies.
Sustainable Organizations That Might be Able to Support Michigan Recovery
NOTE: the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has absolutely NOTHING to do with Aviation, Aerospace & Defense activity and related jobs in the State of Michigan, it’s all hot air, blustering and exaggeration to mislead taxpayers.
Has Michigan given up on fixing our roads? (html) (html) | Business Leaders for Michigan. At the present time, COVID-19 is our biggest challenge – threatening public health and our entire economy for the foreseeable future. Before March, our biggest problem was a familiar and persistent one: Our infrastructure is old, broken and chronically underfunded. We should have solved it years ago, but because we didn’t, it’s only getting worse and more expensive to fix each month. We’ve been stuck with our roads problem so long that many have come to believe it is entirely unfixable. Michigan’s Road to Top Ten plan, available at www.MichigansRoadtoTopTen.com (html) (pdf), is grounded in data and research, supported by a broad, diverse array of leaders, partners and allies, and ready for action. The plan calls for infrastructure investments that are prioritized based on economic, health and safety risks, with transportation and water systems given highest priority.
- Michigan Aerospace Manufacturing Association (MAMA) – Home.
Canton Township (html), MI – Official Website | Official Website Michigan.
Welcome to the Charter Township of Plymouth (html), Michigan.
City of Ypsilanti (html), MI | Official Website.
YTown.org – Home | Charter Township of Ypsilanti.
Ypsilanti Township to focus on ‘residents first’ in 2040 master plan, Aug 20, 2020 (html) – mlive.com. The five focus areas includes: Comprehensive rewrite of the zoning ordinance, Healthy Neighborhood Program, Extension of Wiard Road to East Michigan Avenue, Open space and agriculture preservation and a Social and Cultural Presence. The master plan is trying to establish the area as “an innovation district” to put in more infrastructure for businesses relying on high-speed internet and open the possibilities of other businesses wanting to develop near the American Center for Mobility. Additionally, the Yankee Air museum behind the old Willow Run Bomber Plant, or a portion of it, and having one of the original hangars where the aircraft from World War II actually used to come out of when they were finished, is sort of a big focus area.
- Ypsilanti Township Master Plan, Updated: 07 May 2020 (html).
- Ypsilanti Township Master Plan 2020 (pdf).
- Ypsilanti Township Placemaking Plan for Ecorse Road & East Michigan Avenue (pdf).
- Parks & Recreation Master Plan Adopted (pdf).
- Washtenaw County’s 2014 Reimagine Washtenaw Corridor Improvement Study Summary (pdf).
- Washtenaw County’s 2015 Housing Affordability and Economic Equity Analysis (pdf).
- Non-Motorized Master Plan Draft (pdf).
The City of Ann Arbor (html).
City of Detroit (html).
Washtenaw County (html), MI | Official Website.
Wayne County (html) Home Page.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer – Whitmer (html).
Michigan Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II (html).
Michigan House of Representatives (html).
Michigan Senate Home (html).
Michigan Department of Education (MDE).
Home | Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG). SEMCOG is a regional planning partnership of governmental units serving 4.7 million people in the seven-county region of Southeast Michigan striving to enhance the region’s quality of life.
Investing in Our Future – Michigan Venture Capital Association (MVCA).
MichBio– Drive Bio-Industry Growth in Michigan. Our mission encompasses broad industry sub-sector representation including pharmaceuticals and therapeutics (human and animal health, generics and OTCs), medical devices, diagnostics, research tools, informatics (healthcare and bio-informatics), nutritional health (nutriceuticals), clinical research, industrial biotechnology, and bio-fuelsand bio-agriculture. Michigan Venture Capital & Angel Groups (html).
Michigan Economic Development Corporation | MiPlace.
Pure Michigan (html) | Official Travel & Tourism Website for Michigan.
Michigan Corporate Relations Network (MCRN) | Promoting innovative research by connecting Michigan’s corporations to university assets.
Ann Arbor SPARK| Economic Development Services & Resources.
Michigan State University Foundation (html) – Connect • Invest • Inspire.
Innovate Blue (html) | University of Michigan (UMich). University of Michigan’s hub for entrepreneurship and innovation, Innovate Blue helps turn ideas into action by supporting, connecting, and expanding the Michigan entrepreneurial network and community.
PlanetM Landing Zone (html).
Welcome to PlanetM (html).
Home – The Detroit Center for Innovation (html).
Michigan Small Business Development Center (html).
U.S. Public Interest Research Group (US-PIRG):
- Home – Student (PIRGs) Public Interest Research Groups.
- S. PIRG Public Interest Research Group (US-PIRG) Education Fund (html) | US-PIRG.
- Public Interest Research Group (html) – Wikipedia.
- Public Interest Research Group in Michigan | PIRGIM Education Fund (html).
- The Public Interest Research Group in Michigan (PIRGIM) – Home | Facebook
- Public Interest Research Group in Michigan (html) – PIRGIM | University of Michigan (UMich).
- Public Interest Research Group in Michigan (PIRGIM) | Standing Up to Powerful Interests.
- S. Public Interest Research Group (US-PIRG) U.S. PIRG | The Federation of State PIRGs.
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan (ACLUMI).
Michigan unemployment and economy tracker: Recovering from coronavirus, July 28, 2020 (html) | Detroit Free Press.
Michigan (html) | Feeding America (html) In Michigan, 1,359,650 people are struggling with hunger – and of them 318,960 are children. That means 1 in 7 people struggles with hunger, additionally 1 in 7 children struggles with hunger. See Hunger & Poverty in Michigan | Map the Meal Gap (html). NOTE: This is from 2018 data, conditions have worsened considerably!
A third of the world’s children poisoned by lead, new groundbreaking analysis says, 30 July 2020 (html) | UNICEF. Lead poisoning is affecting children on a massive and previously unknown scale, according to a new report launched today by UNICEF and Pure Earth (html).
Developmental Delay: Your Child: University of Michigan Health System (html).