From the Motor City to the Emerald City: 28 hours in Seattle - New York News

From the Motor City to the Emerald City: 28 hours in Seattle

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DETROIT (WJBK) -

No wonder Charles Pugh chose Seattle. It's a vibrant, laid back city surrounded by snow capped mountains, sparkling blue water and people, lots of people. And it couldn't feel further from Detroit.

I was home in LA, taking a few days away from the dizzying pace of Detroit news, when I got a call from Charlie LeDuff. "Hey Kid," he said, " Pugh's in Seattle! You're in LA. Why not hop a flight and go find him?"  The assignment sounded like a wild goose chase, but it also sounded like fun, so of course, I was ready to go.  Early Sunday morning, I boarded a flight to Seattle. I had no hotel room, no return ticket, just a suitcase and a mission.

A photographer named Dave met me at the airport and we took off, headed for a sleepy town about an hour from Seattle, searching for a man named Charles Pugh. Not Councilman-On-The-Run Pugh but another Pugh. We thought the latter Pugh might have been the former Pugh's uncle or a relative. We pulled up to a little blue duplex on a dusty road. We stealthily got of our unmarked SUV and marched to the door with the camera rolling. I rang the doorbell. A tall black man in his 70s opened the door. "Did I finally win?" he asked with a wide smile on his face. Clearly, this Charles Pugh didn't know our Charles Pugh because if he did, he wouldn't assume the camera crew at his door was from Publisher's Clearinghouse. We made small talk with him, learned he'd never been to Detroit, thanked him for his time, then headed to Seattle.

Downtown Seattle's impressive to say the least. It sits right on the water. It's the home of the first Nordstrom and plenty of fantastic shopping. We checked the swanky hotels, bustling department stores and boutiques, and hot spots like Pike's Place Market where crowds  of tourists applaud as fishmongers toss around giant salmon. We checked parks where hoards of people enjoyed a rare 90 degree day and a view of the Puget Sound glittering in the intense sunlight. We even went to a parade. We went everywhere. We saw everything, except Charles Pugh.

By 6pm, Dave was on overtime and I had to continue the search myself. It didn't get any better. I never found Charles Pugh. But what I did find was the irony in all this.

Charles Pugh, a man who Detroiters elected to represent their interests and make their communities better, has abandoned his job and was spotted spending time in a city that many of his constituents can't even afford to visit. In Seattle, streetlights just work and no one bats an eye when a shiny, new, fire truck or police car rolls by.  Those things are expected. But in parts of Detroit, they're a luxury.

Charles Pugh was elected in hopes that he could help change that. For a number of reasons, many of which are outside of the council president's control, he has failed to deliver. I'd assume sitting in the world's first Starbucks surrounded by a long line of people who make enough money to demand high priced coffee doesn't make that reality any easier to swallow.

Seattle was fun. It's a beautiful city and probably a cool place to live. But, after 28 hours, it was time to go back to my job, my responsibilities and my city. I wonder when Charles Pugh will be ready to do the same.

Until then the people of Detroit deserve to know where one of their elected leaders has gone.  That's why I went on this goose chase.  Charles, if you're out there, please call me. 

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