Open Letter from Mayor Jim Fouts to Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel
November 30, 2016
To: County Executive Mark Hackle
Dear Mr. Hackle:
To say that I was disappointed that you decided to be a “no-show” at our scheduled debate on WXYZ-TV on November 28, 2016, is an understatement. was prepared with facts that you authorized illegal dumping at the Freedom Hill landfill and made misstatements about the situation. The facts remain that no permit for clean-up purposes was issued by the South Macomb Disposal Authority (SMDA), no site plan and no notification of the M-DEQ per the 2005 consent decree agreement. It is clear that the first time anyone took action on illegal dumping was during a November 12, 2016 meeting many months after the dumping began.
Over and above that “no-show,” I want to address statements you made about me and Warren on The Frank Beckmann Radio Program.
On August 11, 2014, over 5 inches of rain fell on Warren and other Macomb County communities in a 5-hour period. The normal rain is 1 .5 inches.
As a result of this 200-year rainfall, a large number of city streets and basements and the Warren Police Headquarters were flooded.
The biggest problem was 2.1 billion gallons of sewage overwhelmed the Red Run Drain. Your radio interview comments seemed to excuse Oakland County’s actions.
Your interview said I had “to get my house in order first” as mayor before criticizing Oakland County.
For your information, here is how I responded to this emergency to help Warren residents:
- Declared a state of emergency in Warren immediately.
- Authorized overtime for city employees to help residents in any way.
- Contacted U.S. Congressman Sander Levin and Governor Snyder requesting emergency help through FEMA.
- 6554 individuals received $9.4 million in FEMA individual homeowner assistance grants – highest in Michigan. (This is an initiative that should have been taken by a concerned county executive).
- 17 .5 million pounds of curbside trash removed in 3 weeks.
- Normal curbside trash pick-up resumed 2 days after the flood.
In addition, we took the following actions to minimize future flooded basements and streets.
- Repair of sewer-water mains $855,698
- Sewer cleaning – (7 miles) $104,606
- Relief sewer construction $9,999,056
- 12 Mile – Schooner
- 10 Mile – Hoover
- 13 Mile and Martin Road relief sewer construction $9,577,238
Over $20 million in relief sewer projects
And I initiated the following flood insurance reform proposals to the Governor and State Legislature:
- Bold print on home insurance policies that states: “Flooded basements not covered”
- Mandatory basement flood coverage
- Cost of policy-reasonable and competitive
- Policy coverage: furnaces, water heaters, appliances
- Non-cancellation of policy for flooding claims
Also, with the help of Councilwoman Kelly Cole gio, we mobilized hundreds of volunteers from the Southern Baptist Convention Disaster Relief Team and local churches to assist residents with clean-ups for 18 months after the flood.
All of these actions were taken without any help from the County Executive’s Office. Not been so much as a phone call to me offering county resources to help flooding victims. (Your only input was to show up for media coverage of the Governor’s tour of flooded areas of Warren).
Your inaction during a time of crisis is disappointing.
Your comments about the Oakland Macomb Interceptor situation showed you have no degree of understanding on this issue. You claimed Warren wanted to join the interceptor for “free.” The last proposal was a $14 million buy-in for Warren which we considered excessive plus other costs in millions.
Never once during negotiations did Warren ask for a “free” tie in to OMID. Because of the OMID Board’s excessive demands, we are pursuing an alternative to build our own detention basin to minimize flooding of streets and basements. We have taken the first steps toward finalizing this alternative, saving Warren taxpayers millions in OMID “buy-in” costs.
Instead of taking positive action to stop the billions of gallons coming into Warren and other county communities and offering help from the county, you have decided on a course of action that includes cover-ups, possible pollution of our waterways, contractor favoritism, and excuses for Oakland County dumping billions of gallons of sewage into Macomb County.
I hope you will realize how your inaction and falsehoods accomplish nothing. Your leadership as county executive goes beyond media interviews and photo opportunities. Most importantly, leadership mandates telling the truth and not ignoring the facts or twisting them. It also includes helping communities such as Warren during emergencies.
Mayor of Warren
P.S. In the radio interview, you stated I was angry because “my buddy Tony Marrocco was defeated for public works commissioner on November 8.” For your information, I did not endorse or help Mr. Marrocco in any way during his campaign for re-election.
And, I hope in the future, you will speak for yourself on important issues like the Freedom Hill cover-up, instead of “hiding” behind the words of your deputy.