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Troubled waters in Flint, a half-off sale in Detroit, and a gun bill going ahead in Lansing

Jan 28, 2015

A Flint resident holds a sign at a recent public meeting. Residents are angry over the quality and safety of the city's drinking water.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This week in Michigan politics, Jack and Emily discuss anguish over Flint’s water, a plan for some Detroiters to pay half price on auctioned homes and a new gun bill moving ahead in Lansing.


Flint’s troubled water

Flint residents are unhappy with contamination and discoloration in the city’s water as well as the heavy amounts of chlorine being used for treatment.

This comes after Flint temporarily switched from Detroit's water system to using the Flint River.

The plan is for Flint to eventually get its water from Lake Huron through the Karegondi Water Authority, but Lessenberry said it’s unclear how long this could take.

“In the meantime, [Flint residents], unless they want to rely on bottled water, don’t have a whole lot of choice,” Lessenberry said.  

Detroit’s half-off sale

Under a plan proposed by Mayor Mike Duggan, city workers, retirees and their immediate families could get a 50% discount on vacant homes up for auction in Detroit.

So far, the city hasn’t had any trouble selling high and low end homes, but houses in the $25-35,000 range have been harder to move.  

Lessenberry said finding buyers who qualify for a mortgage and are able to invest in fixing up a property has been a hindrance to the plan.

“It’s a very shrewd program if you’re talking about bringing back the city,” he said. “The devil is in the details.”

Lansing’s new gun bill

Governor Rick Snyder recently vetoed a gun bill over concerns it would put domestic abuse victims at risk. Now there’s a similar bill moving forward in Lansing.

Under the old bill, opponents said someone under a personal protection order would still be able to qualify for a gun permit in Michigan.

Lessenberry said that language, which has been removed from the new legislation, carried the potential for tragedy.

“The NRA’s response was that the person who was threatened should get a gun also,” Lessenberry said. “That didn’t really wash with the governor.”

– Rebecca Kruth, Michigan Radio Newsroom