Friday, August 15, 2014

The terrible choices Detroit confronts as it cuts off water to its own residents - The Washington Post

I think this is a pretty good example of how silly it is to give government the job of delivering water to humans.  How the heck are politicians supposed to manage this nonsense and do what they are really good at - get re-elected?
The other noteworthy point - the race to the bottom effect and the "entitlement mentality bites back." This city has been nursing the entitlement game for a long time. The outcome will be bad for all.

People gather to protest against the mass water shut-offs to Detroit citizens behind in their payments during a demonstration in downtown Detroit on Friday, July 18, 2014. (Rebecca Cook/REUTERS)
On Friday in Detroit, hundreds of local residents and activists — and, somewhat inexplicably, Mark Ruffalo — gathered to protest what has become an only-in-Detroit kind of crisis: The city's water utility has been shutting off service to thousands of homes, many with the elderly, the poor and children inside.
The story of how this has happened — and on the shores of one of the largest bodies of freshwater in the world — is not as simple as one of government incompetence or indifference to the poor.
The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department says that nearly half of its customers haven't been paying their water bills, for a total of about 90,000 delinquent accounts, leaving the public utility with some $90 million in debt. But in a city of abandoned properties, squatters and tremendous poverty — 38 percent of Detroit lives below the poverty line — the department has had a hard time distinguishing empty homes from occupied ones, and customers who legitimately can't afford to pay from those who've simply opted not to.

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