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What We’re Following
Running dry: Flint’s water crisis has dragged on for well over four years, with many residents still drinking bottled water and pointing to corroded pipes that haven’t been replaced. They also point to the deliberate pace of the state’s investigation of itself. Now the highest official to face criminal charges for the city’s water crisis is about to go to trial—but he’s still on the job.
Back in June 2017, prosecutors indicted Nick Lyon, the director of Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services, for involuntary manslaughter and misconduct in office in connection with the infamous lead contamination. With the support of Governor Rick Snyder, Lyon still leads his department even as the trial diverts the agency’s attention, as the chief medical executive also has been indicted.
The curious situation of top officials holding their jobs after being indicted in a notorious public health disaster has local leaders shaking their heads. “Obviously in America we have the presumption of innocence until proven guilty,” said Michigan Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich, who lives in Flint. “But that doesn’t mean you get to keep your job, or not even go on paid or unpaid leave.” Anna Clark, the author of The Poisoned City: Flint’s Water and the America Urban Tragedy, has the latest in the saga, detailing the long, slow, and very expensive legal drama behind the Flint water crisis.
More on CityLab
What We’re Reading
Miami will be underwater soon. Its drinking water could go first (Bloomberg)
How curbs became the new urban battleground (Wired)
Washington state joins 14 others in banning housing discrimination based on income source (Governing)
Quantifying New York City as an August ghost town (New York Times)
A day in the life of a city (PlanPhilly)