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OPINION

Letters: Readers on voting, Flint crisis

Put redistricting in hands of voters

In response to Greg McNeilly’s column (“Lawmakers, leave redistricting maps alone,” March 16), Republicans are doing exactly what he is saying the Democrats would be doing if they controlled the process for determining congressional and legislative boundaries. We must take the process away from the political party in power and return it to the voters.If the Democrats controlled the process in Michigan, they would be doing the same thing.

McNeilly states two Democratic lawmakers “have introduced legislation to take redistricting out of the hands of ‘voters.’” An independent commission would not take redistricting out of the hands of voters. It would rather take it out of the hands of the party in control of the process.

There are many respected organizations across the state that support redistricting reform, including the League of Women Voters and Common Cause. Voters Not Politicians is a non-partisan committee seeking to amend the Michigan constitution to create an independent Citizens Redistricting Committee. I am disgusted with both major political parties whose sole goal seems to be to perpetuate their control.

Phil Leech, Spring Lake

People missing from Flint report

While there is much to applaud in the Civil Rights Commission report on the poisoning of the families of Flint (“Snyder commission: Racism played role in Flint crisis,” Feb. 18), there is also a huge flaw. The commission’s thoughtful analysis of the systemic racism at the root of the crisis is belied by its refusal to hold perpetrators accountable as racists, because it’s “not constructive.” There was nothing “constructive” about the conscious or unconscious devaluing of human life based on skin color that led to the Flint water crisis, and then extended its duration far beyond any rational limits.

This applies directly to Gov. Rick Snyder, his emergency managers, Michigan DEQ officials and other key decision makers who had every opportunity to do the right thing. Can anyone imagine residents of Birmingham or Grosse Pointe marching to City Hall with tainted water and the governor or the attorney general not leaping to action? The fact is we all know that many more precautions would have been taken if Flint was a majority white population.

We need to hold specific individuals accountable for taking racist actions.

Thomas Stephens, Detroit