George Cushingberry Jr. wasted no time.
Just a day after the Detroit City Council narrowly selected him as council president pro tem – the No. 2 position – the former state lawmaker lashed out at the Detroit News for an editorial questioning the wisdom of making him a leader.
Cushingberry was frank and dismissive in his response in the newspaper’s comment section: “Thank you but Go to Hell is much shorter and gets the point across. The news has endorsed loser after loser for Detroit and I don’t have the time to write an ‘educated’ response because I have a district to represent,” Cushingberry responded
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Cushingberry, who became the youngest state House representative when he was elected at the age of 21 in 1975, wasn’t finished and added on his Facebook page: “Dear Detroit News, Go to hell. Go straight to hell. Do not pass go and don’t even think about collecting $200.”
The comments come at a vulnerable time for the city, which is hemorrhaging jobs and services after becoming the largest municipality in U.S. history to file for bankruptcy. Cushingberry is among a bloc of council members who adamantly oppose state intervention and the appointment of an emergency manager.
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Those who supported Cushingberry as president pro tem were Brenda Jones, Scott Benson, Mary Sheffield and Gabe Leland. Cushingberry voted for himself, and he beat out Andre Spivey for the pro tem job.
Cushingberry’s comments to the Detroit News were not received well by many readers, who called the former Wayne County commissioner juvenile, toxic and incapable of holding a leadership position.
“It’s always good when a politician proves an editorial board correct with his or her own words,” one reader responded.
Another said, “Councilman, you are just another pig at the trough on the backs of poor people in Detroit. If you really cared you would never have replied. The old days are gone where attitude it everything. we need forward thinking people to save this city.”
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The Detroit News editorial argued that Cushingberry is out of touch and incapable of building bridges.
The council could only have made a worse choice in George Cushingberry Jr. — an old-school political operative and former Wayne County commissioner and state representative. And while council didn’t choose him as president, it offered Cushingberry the No. 2 position. He beat out the council’s former pro tem, Andre Spivey, who would have been the better option.
Brenda Jones, also known as an obstructionist, was elected as council president Monday.
Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.