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Basham bashes & Kwame ducks

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State Rep. Raymond E. Basham, D-Romulus, penned a testy letter to Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick last month regarding a Metro Times article ("Injection rejection," Metro Times, Aug. 7-13) about plans to dump hazardous liquid waste into two 4,000-foot wells in Romulus. Basham, a staunch critic of the wells, fears that the waste may contaminate drinking water. Kilpatrick also was a vocal critic of the wells — until he became mayor. Now he is mute on the subject. Basham wants Kilpatrick to talk some sense into the folks providing the majority of funding for the wells to the tune of $12 million: The Detroit Policeman and Fireman Retirement Systems Board. The mayor appoints voting members to the board.

In the Metro Times article, Kilpatrick spokesman Jamaine Dickens said that Basham needed to touch base with the mayor’s government liaison to spur some action. Outraged, Basham penned an indignant letter. "I was deeply offended by Mr. Dickens’ comments that I simply needed to contact your government liaison for you to get more involved in this issue," wrote Basham. "His statement that I have thus far failed to do so is absolutely false. To the contrary, my office has placed repeated calls with your liaison since the first of the year about this matter. You might be interested in knowing in the last call made to her earlier this summer she indicated that she simply was unable to handle this matter. My inquiry has since been passed off to three other people on your staff and has yet to be addressed. The point is I am not the one who has dropped the ball on this issue!"

And what response did Basham’s receive from Kilpatrick? "He never responded to the letter," says Basham.

Dickens tells News Hits that he does not know if the mayor responded to the letter, but adds that the mayor opposes the wells and is busy with many issues involving the city. "He still opposes the injection wells and he is working on re-engaging that issue."

So what’s the next step for Basham?

"I will do whatever I can do to formally press the mayor and council and the pension board that they need to pay attention to environmental issues that affect the entire region," he says.

Good luck. You’ll need it.

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