Patterson is officially Oakland County Executive, aka Head Honcho for Life, of Oakland, Michigan — those cities (Pontiac) and suburbs that did very well off “white flight” from Detroit. L. Brooks’ latest, per the Washington Post:
Even as authorities are still advising residents in Flint, Mich., not to drink or bathe in city’s tap water, leaving thousands to rely on bottled water to survive, some of the state’s prominent political voices think Flint’s water crisis may be exaggerated.
Foremost among them is Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson (R), who voiced skepticism about the severity of the crisis during an appearance before the Detroit Economic Club luncheon Tuesday, according to the Detroit Free Press.
“I don’t think we should say or use words anymore like Flint’s been poisoned,” Patterson told reporters, according to Fox affiliate WJBK. “Because I don’t think that’s accurate.”…
Despite what many see as definitive evidence of a crisis, Patterson told the station he changed his mind after hearing a radio interview with Bill Ballenger, a well-known Republican political analyst, former state lawmaker and Flint resident, who said he was offering “the other side” of the story…
In the interview cited by Patterson, Ballenger said his own blood tests hadn’t revealed elevated levels of lead and he wondered whether the crisis was a hoax, according to the Free Press. He argued that the crisis was instead perpetuated by politicians and members of the media “with an ax to grind.”…
Insert your own grim jokes about how hard it would be to identify signs of lead poisoning — “reduced intelligence quotient (IQ), behavioral changes such as shortening of attention span and increased antisocial behavior,” per WHO — in a lifelong Republican political analyst.
Patterson has a long history of “inflammatory” (racist) public comments. Last November he very publicly hopped on the anti-refugee bandwagon…
… In a stern letter to Pontiac Mayor Deirdre Waterman, Patterson warned of “imminent danger,” saying “I am dismayed by Pontiac’s agreement to develop a ‘Syrian Refugee Village’ within its borders,” referring to plans to build a community center and housing for Syrian refugees and others in Pontiac.
His letter drew a sharp response from Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner and developer Ismael Basha, saying that Patterson was politicizing the issue with erroneous and inflammatory claims…
… and he’s basically made his career, first as a “tough prosecutor” and then as county executive, by attacking those people in Detroit. From the New Yorker, two years ago:
For the past twenty-one years, L. Brooks Patterson has governed Oakland County, a large, affluent suburb of Detroit. Oakland County embodies fiscal success as much as Detroit does financial ruin, and Patterson, the county executive, tends to behave as though his chief job in life were to never let anyone forget it. One week in September, he gave me an extended tour of his empire, in a chauffeured minivan. Near the end of the first day, we headed toward Lake St. Clair, at the mouth of the Detroit River, for a party on a yacht. Patterson sat in the front passenger seat. Over his shoulder, he said, “Anytime I talk about Detroit, it will not be positive. Therefore, I’m called a Detroit basher. The truth hurts, you know? Tough shit.”…
When a black Detroit city councilwoman alleged racism during a business dispute, Patterson publicly declared that he’d “rather own a 1947 Buick than own” her. After accusing Detroit of trying to save itself by poaching Oakland County companies, he said, “I don’t see how moving furniture around on the deck of the Titanic helps this region grow.” In 2012, Robert Ficano, the executive of Wayne County, which includes Detroit, became the subject of a federal investigation; when Patterson was asked what advice he’d give Ficano, he joked, “Go in the garage, pull the door down, leave the engine running.” Patterson once compared road reforms to rape. He marked the death of Coleman Young—Detroit’s first black mayor and a former nemesis—by calling him singly responsible for the city’s demise…
When I asked him how Detroit might fix its financial problems, he said, “I made a prediction a long time ago, and it’s come to pass. I said, ‘What we’re gonna do is turn Detroit into an Indian reservation, where we herd all the Indians into the city, build a fence around it, and then throw in the blankets and corn.’ ”…
Although, as dutifully noted in a related Huffington Post article, Patterson said he “worked hard to build good relationships with some of the past mayors of Detroit. I do not intend for The New Yorker article to damage my relationship with Mayor Duggan… “ (who just happens to be — at long last, Detroit learns its lesson! — white).
I loved living in Michigan, but I didn’t love the men in charge of its politics. I led with the Washington Post article here because it’s got the most background, and also a full-sized photo of Patterson’s best backpfeifengesich.
Fuck this sumbitch with several farm implements marinated in Flint city water.
Man, I’m glad he’s not a D.
Tie him to a chair and force him to drink a couple of gallons of Flint tap water.Then bathe him in it for a week
WTF is a “County Executive”/ Is he an elected official, a Dept. of Water or HHS expert? Or is he a lying, appointed hack by the democracy destroying corrupt Governor?
@rikyrah: But then, what could we possibly do for long-term contaminant storage of the water once it’s been exposed to the still worse filth of his body and soul. Think of the planet!
Someone should ask this imbecile if General Motors was in on the “hoax” when they said the water was corroding the machinery in its factories…
Former Oakland County resident here. Brooks has always been an asshole. I would see his ugly mug on the tv and yell at it. Was always pleased to vote for the person running against him (though it didn’t do any good).
I hate people like Brooks Patterson and everything they represent. They’re evil. Like Rikyrah says, it’s who they are.
A county executive is the head honcho of the county. It’s an elected office. Pontiac, BTW, is mostly poor and largely African American too, but the great majority of voters in Oakland county are indeed affluent white people. Patterson first made his bones in the 70s as an anti busing activist and cheerleader for capital punishment (which Michigan has outlawed since the 1840s, despite conservative’s best efforts). He tried for the governorship a few times in the 70s and 80s, but didn’t get the brass ring, and indeed became the Oakland County honcho till hell freezes over.
@mark: It’s an elected position. Leads the county government.
@Linda: Am I remembering correctly that Brooks has had problems with alcohol in the past? For some reason, that comes to mind.
It’s probably already been mentioned here somewhere, but a post on FB showed the first two pages of Snyder’s email dump. The only bits not redacted were the “to” and “from.” That’s some transparency!
@rikyrah: I doubt it would change anything.
How could you tell if he got dumber and more evil? Was it the lead, the humiliation, or the natural progression of the suburban white GOP toad?
Ugh, why won’t he die? Too many good people he’s outlived.
@Chat Noir: Not that I know of.
Wow this guy. I can only imagine his constituency.
Presume the L. is short for Lameass.
Yes, this is one time when waterboarding is really appropriate.
Present Oakland resident here, and I’m pleased OC is at least purplish these days. LBP will be county exec until they carry him out of his office feet first, well, just because, but I’m sure his successor will be a Dem, which will drive the MRP absolutely batty.Oh, and Pontiac is a small, downtrodden former industrial city like Brockton, MA, Camden, NJ, or E St Louis, IL. The beneficiaries of white flight were Troy, Novi, and West Bloomfield.
@efgoldman: I saw that too. Apparently Bundy was on the phone with an FBI negotiator today, Fluffy Unicorn standing guard by the pay phone.
Bundy apparently made it be known he’d only speak to a Mormon FBI agent.
@Don K: I lived in Southfield, Farmington Hills, and Waterford for 21 years before moving to Chicago in 2011. Was happy in 2008 when Gary Peters beat Joe Knollenberg and the MI-9 (at the time) flipped to Dem. And Peters was one of the few bright spots in 2014 when he was elected to replace Carl Levin in the Senate.
Hey, give the guy a break. Lead in the water is a science thing and Repubs don’t do science.
From the sound of this sonofabitch, it doesn’t sound like a diet of Flint tap water would do him all that much harm – he’s already exhibiting symptoms of dementia. Also too, notice the resemblance between this shithead and Joe Arpaio. Could be brothers, which for all I know they may be. Kindred spirits for certain.
That face screams racist old white.
I’ll miss how pretty Michigan is, but not a whole lot else when I leave. Lotta those types around here.
Adam L Silverman
@efgoldman: Not tonight. I have seen that. Also, the Oregonian reported that Ammon Bundy and the FBI negotiator on site in Burns met on today. And that Bundy and Finicum claim they don’t know the guy from California with the felony conviction for murdering his father even though the article about it has a picture of them standing two feet from him at one of their press conferences.
OT, but amusing– WaPo quotes someone on a DC supermarket checkout line, “I’ve got the bread, the milk, and the toilet paper but now I’ve lost the recipe.”
Adam L Silverman
@sigaba: That’s the last thing he should want. The Mormon members of the FBI are some of the straightest shooters, so to speak. They aren’t going to give him any leeway just because of shared faith, especially given his understanding of the tenets of The Church of Latter Day Saints isn’t exactly the normal one.
Remember Mitt stating with firm conviction that the trees there are “just the right size?”
(Did you switch to using a capital S in your nym?)
Adam L Silverman
@efgoldman: I already downloaded the photo for a future post. I intend to put arrows on the California schlub, Bundy, and Finicum and caption it with: “he’s right there. Three feet to your right, leaning against the fence. Do you not have peripheral vision?!?!?”
Have told the anecdote preciously, but was standing in line behind the then mayor of our little spot on the ocean. He was 6’6″ or 6’7″ and somewhere between 350 and 400 lb. Hard to miss him. And his first name was Hannibal.
Anyway, while waiting, glanced at what he was purchasing.
The complete inventory: 6 large cans of refried beans and a 12-pack of toilet paper.
Funnier for those who live here because of a locally oft-repeated story of how much he’d spent to have a specially reinforced heavy-duty toilet installed in his house.
@rikyrah: Remember, waterboarding isn’t torture. So, no problem.
@The Lodger: Yes, it is. I understand the joke, but just no.
@Adam L Silverman:
These morons are so convinced of the validity of their quest they presume all right-thinking (white ) folks automatically agree with them and their right to free shit.
Kind of how Willard was “surprised” by his loss.
@The Lodger: Don’t know if we have a clear ruling on if there’s lead in the water.
Srsly. Give it a shot (this one is sticking more that usual)
FYWP eated my correction. Also when we bring up a$$hole county executives lest not forget Spiro Ted Agnew, formerly of Baltimore County, MD.
To erase all negativity unless you lack a soul, here are some Syrian refugees discovering snow.
Why does L Brooks insist on opening his mouth? Nothing good ever comes of it. After the NYer article, you’d think he would have learned. But no.
He’s always been an asshole, and he is still an asshole. No news here.
Oakland is definitely purple. There are red areas (Troy and some exurbs) that drag the more progressive areas down. But even Troy, the Teabagger Dreaming, actually recalled their homophobic mayor when she began embarrassing them on the national stage, so there is hope. And the area is getting more and more multicultural–the high school I went to had one black and one jewish family when I went there in the 70s; now it’s pretty much majority minority.
@The Lodger: Every county executive everywhere is awful. Counties shouldn’t have governments, county governments in the US are aggregations of Mandarins and auto-dealership owners in search of their own legitimacy.
@Don K: Beneficiaries is an odd word to use if those towns got people like Patterson.
@sigaba: Well, like it or not, county government is the default system of government outside of urban areas. Schools, local police and law enforcement, emergency services, land-use policies– all supported mainly by property taxes, local bond issues and, in some cases, local income tax. It’s the way most people are affected by government most of the time and can’t just be dismissed.
frosty fka Bro Shotgun etc etc
What about us folks in the East with tiny little boroughs and townships smaller than a county? Mandarins and car dealers would probably be an improvement.
@Omnes Omnibus: Thanks for the link. It is nice seeing the happy kids and the American adults who showed them how to ride the sleds.
@sigaba: No not so much. I could talk for hours and hours about how kick ass my little town is. In an election where we voted 57% for McCain we voted 63% to build a new $60M high school. In another election we voted to raise business taxes to build parks.
Country executives suck. We like our city manager.
County government is all we have here. Nothing – nada, zip, zilch – at the city, town, village or hamlet level, solely county. Thus, for example, we elect the mayor of Maui County (Maui, Lanai, Molokai, Kahoolawe and Molokini islands).
@NotMax: autocorrect did for me I think. Sometimes I just let it have it’s way with me.
Good Dog, L. Brooks Patterson is still around? I thought he’d have shuffled off this mortal coil years ago; I remember him when he was being a dick about school desegregation in Detroit and the suburbs.
Great video, but it ain’t America. It’s Canada.
There are numerous Michigan officials who are equally odious on the issues of the day just like Mr. Patterson. Another thing they have in common is that they will continue to be re-elected by their equally odious constituents who really don’t give a shit about what is happening to “those people”.
I have some personal experience with contaminated water. In the early 1980s I lived in a village in Eastern Ontario that had the water supply contaminated with Diesel fuel. For some reason the original water treatment system had a Diesel powered emergency back up pump located directly next to the water supply. The Diesel tank sprung a large leak, then the tank was refilled without noticing there was a leak. After they realized they had pumped at least twice as much Diesel as the tank should hold, they stopped and inspected the tank. The water treatment operators were three townies who had no training and barely enough smarts to operate a motor vehicle. After the clean up and investigation by the Environment Ministry of Ontario, the village asked the Ministry to take over management of the water treatment system. That and the repairs and modifications done to the system was almost worth the inconvenience. Nobody was hurt by the diesel spill, and we had to drink bottled water for about a week.
My province also had the Walkerton disaster, where seven people died because of water contamination [e coli] that was mostly due to the incompetence of the untrained people running the water treatment plant. After that mess in 2000, the province pretty much took over all the smaller water treatment plants to ensure that properly trained people were in charge of the water. The two people running the water plant were convicted. One for a year in jail, the other nine months house arrest. There should have been political leaders included in those charges, but I guess it was more about ignorance and arrogance than criminal intent.
I still don’t get how the Flint situation went on for so long. There had to be some regular testing by trained people that would have flagged this. I can’t believe those people would stay quiet and ignore the sampling results that was right in front of them.
Well, I guess I do know, but it is not something you want to believe can happen. A lot of people need to be at least charged in this case.
Waaaaay past time for someone in Flint to open up a big can of Erin Brockovich whoop ass on the douchebags that poisoned the water supply… with camera’s rolling, offer them a nice, cool glass of yellow/brown tap water from Flint to drink and see what happens. Me thinks they will decline, just like the shitty puta lawyer in the movie did.
What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?
@Satby: There are a lot of good people in Michigan, but there are a lot of people like the aforementioned asshole, too. People who reflexively blame the poor black folks for every problem or misfortune visited upon them. But don’t call them racist, because they don’t see race.
What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?
@efgoldman: Seems like State law enforcement would have some jurisdiction too, so why doesn’t the Governor order them to do something? Seems like a reasonable solution is within his grasp if he’d just close his fist, but I guess it’s easier to pass the buck to the Feds.
@What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?
1) It’s a federal facility, not state.
2) The governor is a she, not a he.
I am the media and communications officer for County Executive Patterson. Unfortunately, a few in the media has “vastly overstated” Mr. Patterson’s comments. The rest of Detroit’s media did not.
Here’s some direct evidence. The Detroit Economic Club which hosted the luncheon, sent out this selected clip of the event by email afterward. It was dealing with a question about Detroit Public Schools, even there, Mr. Patterson is still stating how serious the crisis in Flint is:
Also, the next morning, Paul W. Smith on WJR-AM, who attended the luncheon, interviewed Mr. Patterson. Smith started off with about a minute of dialogue about how astounded he was at the false headlines:
http://www.wjr.com/paulwsmith/ (click on the podcast with Mr. Patterson)
Meanwhile, Carol Cain, who emceed luncheon asked Mr. Patterson ahead of time what he thinks is the greatest regional issue. In a Jan. 9 to Cain, Mr. Patterson wrote: “Unfortunately the Flint water crisis looms as the biggest regional challenge. A whole community has been exposed to lead poisoning. It will be years before the full extent of the damage is known.”
Those are not the words of a regional leader downplaying the crisis.
He was quoted bringing up a radio interview that morning of Bill Ballenger, a pundit and Flint resident. Ballenger was the one who said it was overstated. Mr. Patterson used it to say that some need to dial down the rhetoric so we can continue to listen to the experts to find the long-term solution.
@Bill Mullan: Then you work for a jerk. I own homes in BHAM. Patterson is still hanging on to the riots of the 60s etc. Patterson has always beat down on Detroit, this just follows a pattern.
I grew up in Oakland County (Troy specifically) and my father still lives there. I’ll be glad when Patterson’s out of office.