Flint’s toxic water crisis was 50 years in the making

When I was writing my recent article “Flint’s Water Problems are the Symptom, not the Disease” I ran across this LA Times op-ed piece by Andrew Highsmith, a U-M grad who now teaches history at UC Irvine. I found it interesting because Andrew views the Flint crisis from an objective historical perspective, and cites specific government policies that led to the city’s demise. Andrew has also written a book, “Demolition Means Progress,” which details how the urban renewal campaigns carried out in Flint resulted in a more divided and impoverished city.

See the article summary below, and click on the link to view the entire article on the LA Times web site.

Flint waterIn the fall of 1966, African American activists from the impoverished North End of Flint, Michigan, turned out en masse for a series of hearings on racial inequality sponsored by the state’s Civil Rights Commission. One of those who testified, Ailene Butler, drew links between the segregationist policies that had created the North End and the corporate practices that had immiserated its inhabitants.

Source: Flint’s toxic water crisis was 50 years in the making

Flint’s Water Problems are the Symptom, Not the Disease

Article in Belt Magazine – Dispatches from the Rust Belt

These past few months, the news has been full of stories about the water contamination in Flint, Michigan. As a native of the city with family and friends who still live there, this story has been particularly painful. The reality of the situation, however, is that even if Fiji water flowed from Flint faucets, the residents there would still be suffering from decades of neglect and disinvestment. My recent article, published in Belt (as in “Rust Belt”) Magazine, chronicles Flint’s decline in personal terms, and describes what must be done to reestablish Flint to what it once was – a model city.

To read the article in Belt Magazine, click on the link below.

Source: Flint’s Water Problems are the Symptom, Not the Disease | Belt Magazine | Dispatches From The Rust Belt

To get a PDF file of the original article text, click here.

Quelle Chance! Hamilton Tickets!!!


While in NYC yesterday, I decided to try to see “Hamilton,” the Broadway phenom. After walking to the theater and standing in the “cancellations” line for an hour, a young lady came up and offered two tickets for $560 each. The guy next to me (Drew) and I negotiated her down, and outbid another guy in line, and ended up paying $310 each. Yeah, crazy, I know. But it was a bargain! Our seats were 4th row orchestra, and we could almost smell the actors!

The originator, writer, composer, and lead actor in the show was Lin-Manuel Miranda. I immediately recognized him from somewhere. Just before intermission, I realized that he was the star of one of Nadiyah and my favorite Sesame Street episodes! It’s the one where Big Bird decides to move to a new habitat. See the trailer here: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=B33uEhlt8wA

The show was amazing. What a day! What a lucky, lucky day.

2015: A Year of Anniversaries

2015 was a year of anniversaries – some happy, some sad, some bittersweet. As each anniversary came and went this year, I made a mental note, but didn’t otherwise recognize it. Doing so distracted me from the flow of daily events, and besides that, it made me feel old. However, sitting here on the eve of the eve of a new year, I feel like collecting and recognizing these anniversaries. If you were a part of any of them, you know how special they were. Continue reading

New Dean for U-M College of Engineering: What’s Your Opinion?

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The University of Michigan College of Engineering is searching for a new Dean. The second and final term of the current dean, David Munson, ends next June, and the search for his successor is well underway. I am serving on the search committee, and we’ve received a lot of input from people in and around the College. As an alumni community search committee member, I’m interested in hearing as broad a range of opinions about the attributes the new dean should have. What do you think the priorities for the next dean should be? What attributes would you most like to see in the selected candidate?  You can let me know by posting a comment here, or by sending me a private e-mail. In any case, I’d appreciate hearing from you.

Thanks!

Speaking @ Christ The King Church Flint, This Sunday

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This Sunday, July 12, I have the honor of being the Festival Speaker at Christ the King church in Flint, Michigan. Always great to go back home and see so many long-standing friends. Thanks to Father Phil Schmitter for the invitation. I’m still settling on my topic .  The problem is that there are so dang many to choose from! If you’re in the Flint area this Sunday, come on over — we’ll have a good time. When? Immediately after 9:45 am service.