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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Marty Knollenberg Answers!

Last week, we wrote to Marty Knollenberg with a question. We asked if he bore any responsibility for the man-made disaster currently poisoning the people of Flint?

His office replied. His complete reply is reproduced below, along with our response back.

Dear KTS:



Mike Murray
Chief of Staff
Senator Marty Knollenberg

(517) 373-2523


Dear Marty,

I find your response to my question utterly glib.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised, though. You conflate glibness with leadership. That's something you do on a regular basis. I can prove it by looking at your “leadership.” Let's review, shall we?

When you “led” the fight and introduced the bill to eliminate straight party voting in Michigan, people were, rightly, concerned. Naturally, you received an inquiry about why an appropriation was added to the bill. Your office informed your constituent that the appropriation was added at the request of the Ingham County Clerk.

What you didn't realize is that this constituent would follow up on your claim. This constituent contacted the Ingham County Clerk. As it turns out, you lied. You did what the politician always does: You blamed someone else for something you did purposefully.

And what of SB 571, the election law bill designed to silence municipalities? It was passed in dead of night at the end of the year, with changes described by the Michigan Municipal League as a “complete gag order on local officials" and "a disaster.” Of course, you voted in favor of it. (Roll call vote #655, pg. 2083.)

Let's not forget your recent performance at a Senate Education Committee meeting. In discussing how economic disadvantages and being nonwhite contribute to failing schools, you stated, loud and clear, “I know we can’t fix that. We can’t make an African-American white. That's just, it is what it is.”

Tell me: Was that simple glibness, sheer incompetence, or outright racism? It's probably a bit of all three, because you tried to clear it all up by explaining, “I have an African-American employee who works for me.”

So you'll forgive me if I don't take your glib, “No.” as an answer. Emergency Manager Act was foisted upon the people of Michigan. You supported it. The people of Michigan overrode the law by citizen veto. It was passed, again, adding a referendum to ensure the voice of the people of Michigan was ignored. You voted for it a second time.

The result of which is clear: Rick Snyder used the Emergency Manager to erase the duly elected voices of the people of Flint. That led to a man-made disaster and the poisoning of thousands. A disaster, which, according to Rick Snyder, will cost an estimated $767.4 millions dollars. $712.8 million to replace public water lines and $54.6 million for private water lines.

So I'll ask my question again: Do you bear any responsibility for the man-made disaster currently poisoning the people of Flint? Because if you, as an elected official who enacted the law, are not, who is?

You might want to take your time and answer these questions fully. Because lives have been irreversibly damaged and the people need more than glib answers.

We look forward to reading your response.


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

An Open Letter To Marty Knollenberg

Dear Marty:

I have a question.

Do you bear any responsibility for the man-made disaster currently poisoning the people of Flint? I know that it's commonly reported that the water in Flint has dangerous levels of lead, but lets not forget that the water also contains dangerous amounts of e. coli, trihamlomethanes, and copper. This is the result of forcing the people of Flint to drink from the Flint River.

You may think is strange for me to ask you this question. Because, currently, most of the blame is being leveled at Governor Snyder. But I ask this question to you because Governor Snyder didn't act alone in creating this man-made disaster. He had help.

The way I see it, this travesty stems all the way back to the enactment of the Emergency Manager Law. It was a law revised back in 2011. If you don't remember, the law allows the governor to appoint emergency managers with near-absolute power in cash-strapped cities, towns, and school districts. Emergency managers can supersede local ordinances, sell city assets, and break union contracts -- leaving local elected officials without any real authority. You voted in support of this horrific law. (See pg. 314).

But then, the people of Michigan acted. They started a veto referendum effort and rejected the law, with a spokesman for the referendum explaining, “People are used to electing folks to represent them...[t]hat duty of elected officials is sacred and cannot just be wiped away because of a credit rating. People found that offensive.”

However, you didn't take that into consideration, did you? Nope, Governor Snyder ignored the will of the people and had the bill reintroduced. This time, an expenditure was added so the people couldn't override the law. And once again, you happily voted for it. (See pg. 2684).

Because the law was enacted over the will of the people, Governor Snyder was able to appoint an Emergency Manager in Flint. And the “decision to use the Flint River as an interim source was ultimately made by then-Flint emergency manager Edward Kurtz in about June 2013.”

Most importantly, and I can't stress this enough, the neurological and behavioral effects of lead are irreversible.

There you go. So much irreversible damage created by a legislature hell-bent on overriding Democracy and ignoring the clearly stated opinion of the the people of Michigan.  And you are just one of the legislators that made it possible.

So the question still stands: Do you bear any responsibility for the man-made disaster currently poisoning the people of Flint?

I'll be waiting for your response.