Thursday, June 26, 2014

USA: bankster dictatorship in Detroit cuts water to citizens

Some 3000 homes have been cut from the water supply in the US city under bankster dictatorship, breaching all common sense humanitarian and health concerns. According to Webguerrillero[es] Citizens have appealed to the United Nations as more and more needy people is being deprived of the most basic, while companies are being treated with great benevolence.

A mere 60-days delay or a debt of more than USD 150 is enough to loose access to water under the draconian bourgeois dictatorship.

Detroit is in bankruptcy since last year and this has been used as pretext to suppress democracy in the city, imposing a dictatorship by the banksters instead. This dictatorship exacts up to the last drop of blood from the denizens (ex-citizens) of the once prosperous industrial city. 

The case of water cut-offs in the City of Detroit speaks to the deep racial divides and intractable economic and social inequality in access to services within the United States. The burden of paying for city services has fallen onto the residents who have stayed within the economically depressed city, most of whom are African-American. These residents have seen water rates rise by 119 per cent within the last decade. With official, understated unemployment rates at a record high and the official, understated poverty rate at about 40 per cent, Detroit water bills are unaffordable to a significant portion of the population.

The City of Detroit declared bankruptcy in the summer of 2013. A high-priced bankruptcy lawyer was named its Emergency Manager with a mandate to get the city back on its feet financially by imposing a savage austerity regime.

According to a DWSD document obtained by the Sierra Club, there are more than 179,000 residential water accounts in Detroit. By April 30, 2014, more than 83,000 of them were past due. The average amount owed per household was just over $540.3
(...) city spokesperson Greg Eno confirmed that the city would be ramping up cut-offs to 3,000 residents per week starting June 2. (...)
The Detroit People’s Water Board is hearing directly from people impacted by the water cut-offs who say they were given no warning and had no time to fill buckets, sinks and tubs before losing access to water. In some cases, the cut-offs occurred before the deadline given in notices sent by the city. Sick people have been left without running water and working toilets. People recovering from surgery cannot wash and change bandages. Children cannot bathe and parents cannot cook.

The MWRO is working with people who have been affected by the crisis. According to the MWRO, mass water shut-offs began in April. The organization estimates that as many as 30,000 households will have had water shut off over the next few months.
(...) the DWSD is issuing past due notices that have a red line across the front of the bill. Notices are issued when bills reportedly reach $150 or more, with a 10-day window before water shut-offs can happen.
The MWRO has heard from people who are being charged as much as $500 per month for water. One member estimated the average water bill for a family of four is $150 to $200 per month. The MWRO says, “for thousands of people in this city – and in the surrounding suburbs as well – this represents as much as 20 per cent of their monthly income.” These bills include two charges: one for water service and another charge for sewerage service. The sewerage charges are about twice the water charges.
Many corporations and institutions are also in arrears on their bills, but have not been targeted in the same way as residential users. A Sierra Club representative attended one of the department’s finance committees and learned that 57 per cent of “city commercial” users had not paid their water bills (10,042 out of 18,057) with an average bill totaling $1,976.98. Fifty-five per cent of “city industrial” users were delinquent (869 out of 1,588) with an average bill totaling $10,817.96. In total, there are 10, 911 delinquent commercial and industrial users owing the city $29,253,599.93.

The Detroit People’s Water Board argues it would be more just and efficient for the DWSD to spend its resources collecting unpaid bills from commercial and industrial users than depriving households of basic services.

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