L. Brooks Patterson: Flint water crisis not as bad as some say

The Oakland County executive says the water crisis is not as bad as some say.

A Detroit economic club meeting at the auto show ends in controversial words by Oakland County executive L. Brooks Patterson, why he is saying the Flint water crisis, has been overblown.

A friendly debate during the North American International Auto Show at a Detroit Economic Club meeting got heated Tuesday. On the panel the "big four" of Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and Wayne County Executive Warren Evans.

Oakland County Executive L.Brooks Patterson said the water crisis in flint isn't as bad as people are making it out to be.

"I don't think we should say or use words anymore like Flint's been poisoned," Patterson said. "Because I don't think that's accurate."

Patterson says he changed his mind after hearing the account of Bill Ballenger, a Republican political analyst in Flint who claims to be showing no signs of lead poisoning after drinking the water.

"I've been using words like Flint's been poisoned," Patterson said. "I won't use that anymore, I think the jury's out."

The other three executives on the panel disagree on the effects of lead proven in the people who unknowingly drank contaminated Flint River water for a year.

Many children have already tested positive for elevated levels and the effects are not expected to materialize for another few years.

"What are the lead levels and the learning disabilities that these kids may have," Evans said. "That's what I want to identify."

"The real issue is, not, get the water bottles out and the filters out, which is important," said Duggan. "The real issue was these children have been exposed to lead levels that are going to affect their learning ability for years in ways we don't know."

"I would have made my emergency management center - myself personally - located in that city of Flint," Hackel said.

Patterson still calls this a crisis, and along with the other panelists, he expects more from Governor Snyder.

"He's going to have to say 'Hey, I screwed up, my departments were not well managed, not aggressive enough, they work for me and therefore it reflects on me.'"

Others agree, there's a need for more transparency and action.

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