Updated 12:46 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 17:
Mayor Fouts has backpedalled somewhat in a new Facebook post, and insists Warren's drinking water is safe. What he originally described as a still-undefined "major environmental scandal" in Macomb County is now characterized as "not an environmental problem in our city."
Around noon, he posted the following:
"Just viewed my Facebook comments. I want to assure everyone in Warren that our water is safe and there is no environmental problem in our city. There is however an issue of some importance but I'm not able to discuss that issue only to say that it is being dealt with and hopefully will not cost as much as I was originally told. I'm not going to point the finger at any individual or city, but only wait and see if this issue is taken care of as soon as possible."
"Never said anything about water but I said it is an environmental concern and I'm waiting to get all of the facts before saying anything else," he added.
Originally posted Thursday, Nov. 17:
Maybe it's time to take direct social media access away from politicians?
Shortly after 11 p.m.Wednesday night, Warren Mayor Jim Fouts took to Facebook to tease a "major environmental scandal" brewing in Macomb County. But aside from a cryptic comparison to a "mini version of what happened in Flint," the mayor failed to offer any specific information at all — causing Macomb County citizens to go into a panic.
"A major environmental scandal is brewing in Macomb County," the mayor's post reads. "This could cost the taxpayers millions of dollars. I'm closely watching this development. If what I heard and understand is true this could cost the taxpayers a good deal of money and somebody must be held accountable for this unacceptable mess. This is a developing situation. Could be a mini version of what happened in Flint."
With the Flint reference, many citizens assume that the situation must have to do with drinking water safety
. And despite the "mini" qualifier, the sheer scale of the government incompetence in Flint — which has exposed thousands of children to poisonous lead, and could take the better part of a decade to fully fix, at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars
— leaves plenty of room for concern.
Understandably, people are losing their shit.
"Well what the hell is it? Don't leave us in suspense," wrote Tomas Diaz.
"Jim Fouts...why are you leaving everyone hanging???..just what are you referring too??" wrote Brenda Parsons. "if it IS the water we are drinking we need to know and know now!"
Janet Gray wrote:
"I still volunteer in Flint MI...it is still a terrible mess up there...a humanitarian shame. Many people do not believe me about how bad it is...still no clean, safe drinking water in the homes there...going on THREE YEARS NOW. And many do not heed me over the fact that there are a lot of water crises that this State, and the Country, is sitting on. I saddly dread the news to come, Mr. Fouts."
We will update with developments as they become available.