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Cushingberry, Detroit deserves better

Detroit's beginnings
Detroit's beginnings

Here Detroiters’ are, barely into the New Year and there is already trouble in paradise.

Councilman Pro Tem George Cushingberry has received more news coverage than newly elected Mayor Duggan. Moreover, the news coverage on Detroit’s Pro Tem is more controversial and less dispassionate.

A recent Detroit News headline stated, "City Council is off to a bad start." The article calls Cushingberry an "old school political operative" and newly-elected Council President Brenda Jones an "obstructionist."

Cushingberry’s response was, "They can take all that straight to hell because that's hellion activities."

Cushinghberry, regrettably, is feeding into the Detroit News’ name calling/labelling and responding in a manner that makes him an easy target.

The Detroit News also published that, “The City Council’s decision to make Jones president is a huge step backward.” President Jones’ lack of a response put her in a better position to get on with the business at hand of city affairs and not waste time on a newspaper that has a history of bias journalism when reporting about the city and its residents.

A political slippery slope

Pro Tem Cushingberry is teetering on the fence of political suicide. He is embroiled in the aftermath of a traffic stop that reeks with questionable goings-on. Cushingberry alleges that he was pulled over for no reason by police officers after he left a neighborhood bar on Jan. 7, 2014.

Yet, the police account states that a brief chase ensued when Cushingberry refused to pull over after nearly hitting the police car. The controversial police stop also involved alcohol and marijuana being found in Cushingberry’s car.

Cushingberry agreed that the police officers probably smelled marijuana in his vehicle because the person that was with him had a medical marijuana card—this Examiner would presuppose that Cushingberry’s friend was smoking at the time of the stop for the smell of marijuana to be noticeable. Do ones’ symptoms flare up at inopportune times wherein firing up a blunt immediately is required for relief? Hmmm.

There was an old empty bottle of rum in Cushingberry’s car also (from a few weeks ago, he said). Again, this Examiner would speculate as to whether the old empty bottle of rum had been consumed in his car, or does Cushingberry take empties out to his car for storage or disposal? Hmmm.

This Examiner has an empty bottle of Frappuccino’s ice coffee in her car. And yes, it was consumed in the car. Circumstances make some evidence quite evident.

During the traffic stop Cushingberry did admit to having one drink that night, but insisted he was nowhere near being over the legal limit. Was a sobriety test administered?


Cushingberry’s current track record begs for a brief inquiry into some past allegations also: Such as Attorney General Mike Cox charging former Rep. George C. Cushingberry, Jr. (D-Detroit) with two counts of Felony Perjury and one count of Misdemeanor Failure to file two or more Campaign Statements. The charges covered a five-month investigation of alleged noncompliance with Michigan’s Campaign Finance Act and Election Laws during the 2004 election.

There were concerns during 2007 in which Cushingberry’s political interests and conflicts of interest were heavily scrutinized.

As of this week, in a separate case, Cushingberry’s lawyer indicated that Cushingberry has agreed to a 45-day suspension of his law license. The discipline board’s complaint alleged Cushingberry failed “to take reasonable steps to protect a client’s interest upon termination of representation” and failed to communicate fully with his client and the court. The Michigan Attorney Discipline Board imposed this restriction.

Additionally, the local news media disclosed that prior to becoming a councilperson, Cushingberry stripped his former house of all plumbing, electrical wiring, and heaters before moving out. Neighbors that were interviewed concurred with the news’ findings.

Detroit fights back

Police Chief James Craig has revealed that there was a drop in homicides as we closed 2013. The chief has been very visible in raiding and putting a big dent in drug operations at two hot spots in the city. The chief has received a vote of confidence from many residents and his efforts are being applauded.

Mayor Duggan has hit the ground running by tackling Detroit’s public transportation woes. He has addressed the needs of the residents and it appears that he is going to fight to bring the City of Detroit back to the echelon of a model metropolis.

Meanwhile, Detroit’s newly formed City Council has stayed out of the media’s proverbial spotlight of ill repute, with the exception of Pro Tem Cushingberry.

Public officials are not without fault. They make mistakes and bad decisions. They sit in full view of the public’s eye. Nonetheless, they are still accountable to the citizens that they serve. Clearly, the operative word in the latter sentence is “serve.”

In order to lead one must be willing to serve. Service requires leaders to be humble, honest, and fair minded. In short, a leader is obligated to serve the demands of a people. Leaders have been known to stand and subsequently fall because of their lack of service to the populous.

Pro Tem Cushingberry’s score card has fallen short in too many areas. To this end, one might ask, “Who is keeping score?” The answer: Everyone who wants the city to win and anyone who wants Cushingberry to quit.

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