Sunday, June 30, 2013

...We Need Pugh's Perspective...


I know this isn’t my traditional Sunday post.

For some of you, it won’t even make sense.

Charles Pugh
Still, I wanted to say a few words about this whole Charles Pugh thing.

Just to get everyone in the loop Charles Pugh is the Detroit City Council president who has been missing for just over a week now as I write this, possibly longer as you read it. He is also a journalist (having worked at Fox 2 and on WJLB FM 98) for many years before pursing politics.

He initially requested a four week medical leave which was declined by Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr who threatened Pugh to show up to work by 5 pm Wednesday, June 26 or render his resignation.

Charles Pugh didn’t show.

Just as this medical mystery started to unfold, a local woman complained that Charles carried on an inappropriate relationship with her 17 year old son, an allegation denied by both the son and Charles. She believes this to be true based on text messages and gifts that Pugh purchased for her son.

Sixteen is the age of consent in Michigan but because the young man was a participant in a mentorship program with Pugh, this situation falls under a different guideline: no interaction is permissible, so we’re talking about a criminal act.

When Charles did radio, he would do something he called Pugh’s Perspective, little mini op-ed pieces on various subjects.

The one that I remember most was about the Friday, the 13th superstition.

I don’t remember all the details about the piece, but I remember he was very honest about having lost a parent to suicide, and within some years, someone else very close (possibly the other parent, or someone else in a caregiver role, I can’t remember) both on a Friday the 13th.

His point was to not believe the hype, but I remember it because it’s really a story about mental illness and survival.

When Charles was denied his medical leave, I read a lot of comments on various sites from people I could summarize as “you don’t get to take a break on the city’s dime.”

How poor do you have to be to think like this? Not just financially poor, but overwhelmingly poor in character. You are truly spiritually bankrupt.

We don’t know what the reason was for requesting the break, and EM Orr- who’s plans for the city have thus far have amounted to little more than a drunken loser at the bar slurring, “hey, I think I got an idea…”- does not get to play God.

He’s barely playing financial manager.

Whether Charles has taken leave of the city and his life (even his family hasn’t heard from him) due to the allegations, impending lawsuit or criminal case, or if he is truly dealing with health issue, we should respect the space between now and whatever comes next.

We should send prayers to Charles, and let him know that the best thing to do is come home and face everything directly.

When I first heard that Charles requested the medical leave and then disappeared, I was worried for his health and safety.

 I still am.

Because now that everyone is so sure that he’s just running away for the accusations, I would think this would be treated like a missing person’s case. An adult hasn’t been seen or heard from by any of his friends, family or co-workers in over a week. For all we know foul play was involved.

Or- and this has happened twice to people I personally know- if he wasn’t (feeling) well, could he have fallen ill? Is he someplace in need but unable to call for help?

And that could be true from a physical or mental point of view.

Whatever the case, Charles should know there are still people that care and support him. There are people that are worried about him, who need to hear from him, that just want to know that he’s okay.

He needs to come back and tell his side of the story. And the rest of us need to wait to hear it.

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