Activists steal water from Manoogian Mansion

Activists walk right onto Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan's property, steal some of his water and no one stopped them.

They say they only left with 12 gallons or so, but what they really wanted to do was send a message to the mayor.

The battle cry: "Dehydrate the D and we dehydrate you."

Fitting words for the actions taken Monday as activists converged on the Manoogian Mansion with water jugs in hand they hooked up a hose to an outdoor spigot at Duggan's residence.

"We thought it was important that water be shared and liberated with the people that don't have any," said Valerie Jean.

Water liberated or water stolen?

Jean is from DCATS - Detroit Coalition Against Tar Sands. They've been outspoken critics of how the city has handled its water woes.

Their anger seemingly hit a breaking point in this nose thumbing, authority snubbing, Robin Hood-ish gesture to make a point.

"Main demand, stop the water shutoffs," Jean said. "Second main demand implement a water affordability plan, where we all have some say."

They say many Detroiters cannot afford the city's sky water rates and an affordability plan would only charge people what they can afford.

Between May to June 30, the city's water department shut off service to nearly 9,000 homes. The department is owed more than $100 million in outstanding residential water bills.

"You can't say they need the money that bad when they're definitely paying the banks," Jean said.

FOX 2: "But they're obligated to pay the banks."

"But aren't they obligated to make sure people have water too," Jean said.

There are ways people can get help to pay their water bills. The Water and Sewerage Department says as of July 24, the Detroit Water Fund has about $860,000 left to help homeowners in need.

But Jean and these water warriors say that's not the point.

"Those types of things don't address the core issue of people not being able to afford their water," she said. "None of the things (Duggan) implemented actually addressed that. One month they get help, the next month they can't afford it."

And while the few gallons they "liberated" from the Manoogian Mansion won't solve the problem, it just might raise more awareness about it.

Once the Great Lakes Water Authority begins, there will be a $4.5 million fund to help people who fall  behind on their water bills.

FOX 2 contacted Duggan's office for comment  and received a statement from John Roach, director of communications:

"When you are dealing with people whose only goal in life is to call attention to themselves, there's not much point in responding to them."


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