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Too Many Beaks

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“I just want to wet my beak a little.” That demand for a payoff from Don Fanucci to a young Vito Corleone in Godfather II may explain Jackson’s water problems. And other problems too due to incompetent bureaucrats. There are lots of them from Jackson to Washington. Some may be crooked too.  We can live with crooked bureaucrats and politicians who aren’t too blatant and too greedy – if they are competent.

But when the toilets don’t flush and you can’t drink the water, and all you hear is “we need more money” and “it’s not my fault”, you know incompetents are in charge. And too many beaks are getting wet. And it’s time to do something.

Vito did something. He offed Don Fanucci – an incompetent extortionist, bully, and crook. And took over his business. Vito was a crook too. But he was competent. He protected the weak, administered neighborhood justice, kept order, was a faithful husband, and didn’t kill people just for the fun of it. Killing was just business. He was good at business. There are lessons here. Maybe even a few morals.

It’s not that we need crooks if they are good at business, although I would rather have a competent professional than a feckless amateur. It’s that we need an honest competent crook. Is honest crook an oxymoron? Probably. But you know what I mean.

A recent report from a competent professional engineer says this about our water system: “… the Jackson system is a ticking bomb poised to cause immeasurable harm to water customers. I have witnessed many water systems in the US and abroad that do not meet US EPA Safe Drinking Water Standards. This is one of the worst for a developed country. There are immediate concerns with the continued operation of the system as it is currently operated but it poses additional harm as microbial and viral contaminates enter the system due to lack of adequate maintenance.”

The report goes on to note the City’s failure to comply with the March 2020 EPA Emergency Order re disinfection and pH (acidity) control and sampling for coliform bacteria.  And the City’s failures to meet Lead and Copper Rule requirements since 2015. It says these violations are emergencies (the City says they are not) because they “…are linked to fetal deformity, impairment of child mental and physical development, adult kidney disease, and blood chemistry issues…. Keep in mind the ingestion of lead in the body cannot be cleansed or flushed…. So the city is playing roulette with the lives of the citizens of Jackson.”

The City Council President’s recent letter to the WSJ Editor in response to its “Jackson’s Water Woes Explained” says Jackson’s Mayor didn’t tell the council or Jackson’s citizens about the EPA Emergency Order for over a year. Maybe the stylish young Mayor thought the City Council and the citizens didn’t have a need to know. Maybe he was concerned citizens might worry unnecessarily about non-emergencies like contaminated drinking

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