It seems no one is immune from the mass water shutoffs here in Detroit as customers with delinquent bills are being asked to cough up or go dry. The latest victim is a relatively drama-free Detroit city councilman.
Go into the comment section of any story about Detroit — it could be about a fucking double rainbow in the skyline and the trolls would still come out — and you'll likely see someone pointing out that Detroit is nothing but a corrupt liberal city that elects idiot politicians. While Detroit has elected some goofballs over the years, city councilman James Tate isn't one of them.
So color everyone surprised when Tate appeared on WDIV last night to confess that he, too, was behind on his water bill by three months and had to pay off his balance to have his service restored:
"The reality is, elected officials, we experience life just like everyone else," Tate said. "I can't put it on the water department. Realistically, life happens. Whether it's student loans that my wife and I have to deal with, or car repairs. You can't predict life. When that happens, you've got to prioritize."
Tate made a payment and his service was immediately restored.
"I handled the business like I would expect any other resident to do so," he said.
Tate said he didn't ask for special treatment. He was treated just like any other customer and knows there are Detroiters who need help.
City councilmembers make about $73,000 annually, which is nothing to sneeze at. And the average Detroit water bill is about $65 a month. I'm not Tate's accountant, but I suddenly wonder about how he's spending.
The last time Detroit had questions about a city councilmember's personal finances was when ex-city council president Charles Pugh, a perennial Jalopnik favorite, was revealed to have been facing numerous evictions and foreclosures before he ran for elected office. And we know how that story ended.
The difference between Tate and Pugh is that Tate came forward to the press, rather than have the press come to him, which leads me to think that maybe his hands are clean and that shit happens in life. But hey — if he had waited a little longer, he could have contacted PETA to pay his bill.