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Water shutoffs, Detroit Public School’s emergency manager, and campaign trail updates

Oct 1, 2014

This Week in Michigan Politics, Emily Fox and Jack Lessenberry discuss Detroit’s water shutoffs, Detroit Public School’s emergency manager and updates from the campaign trail.

Water shutoffs

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes on Monday refused to put a stop to Detroit’s controversial water shutoffs.

The decision came after Detroit residents filed a lawsuit asking the judge to put a six-month moratorium on the shutoffs.

In his ruling, Judge Rhodes said free water is not a guaranteed right and ending the shutoffs would hurt the city financially.

Lessenberry said the judge is sympathetic to those without water, but he doesn’t have the authority to end the moratorium.

The plaintiffs’ attorney said they’ll appeal the decision.

Public schools emergency manager

The Detroit Public School Board on Monday voted to get rid of the district’s emergency manager, Jack Martin, saying his term has come to an end. However, not everyone agrees on when Martin’s term began.

The board based its vote on when the emergency manager law went into effect, not when Martin was appointed to the district. Today, a circuit court judge will decide when the clock started.

Lessenberry said it’s difficult to predict the case’s outcome.

“Even if they manage to get rid of him, there’s no guarantee that they won’t have some level of state supervision or another emergency manager at some point,” he said.

Campaign trail

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land still has not agreed to a public debate.

Lessenberry said Land has been less accessible than any other candidate for a major Michigan office he can remember.

“[She’s] sort of like Greta Garbo. She doesn’t engage with the press in interviews and so far hasn’t agreed to a debate and does everything through a spokesperson,” he said.

– Rebecca Kruth, Michigan Radio Newsroom