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FLINT, MI — Gov. Rick Snyder’s top aide told a Flint activist that he hasn’t “earned the right to disrespect” Snyder over Flint’s water crisis nor does Snyder “deserve to be vilified.”
Rich Baird, Snyder’s top aide, sent a text message to Flint resident Arthur Woodson in February after Woodson commented to the Detroit News regarding Flint water crisis hearings saying more residents would show up to the hearings if they were focused on top state officials like Snyder.
“You can say whatever the hell you want but know that when judgment day comes, I will not be turned away based on the hatred of people who don’t even know me but think they can talk about me,” wrote Baird in the text message. ” Don’t bother responding Art.”
Woodson who talked about the text message during an earlier March community meeting on Flint’s north side said he was in disbelief.
“This shows how they are trying to make light of the Flint water crisis,” Woodson said. “The state is continuously pulling resources from the residents, and this is how Rich responds. It’s true if Snyder was on trial more residents would show up to the hearings.”
Baird also told Woodson to “crawl back into whatever hole of illusion you reside in and hope that lazy reporters will occasionally forget that you cease to be relevant long ago.”
Woodson has attended a number of Flint water crisis hearing, but turnout has been low as Flint residents fail to make it to court.
“They will feel like it’s a waste of time because it may not be bonded over,” Woodson told the Detroit News in Feb. 26, 2018 article. “They feel like it’s a dog and pony show. Look at it, you don’t see anybody in there. They feel like nothing’s going to happen.”
Since April 2016, 15 people have been charged with various crimes and misdemeanors in the Flint water crisis, but only one has made it to trial.