EDITORIAL: Where’s Michele? Free Michele!


By Carol McCracken  (Post # 1,422)

Where’s Michele?  When does your medical leave end?  This is the second time since last year that mhn.com has asked the city – “Where’s Michele Sturgeon?”  Maybe there will be an answer this time as well as there was previously.  MHN.com has repeatedly asked the city, but has received no satisfactory answer from anyone in city hall….  “Wait ’til she’s available,” is the answer. “Wait ’til she’s available.”  I GET it. She can talk to people just as soon as she is limited by a gag order not to speak to the press or anyone forever and ever? Amen. That would not be the first time the city has forced this silence on people.

My simple question to the city is:  How much longer does her medical leave last?  Last December the city spokesperson informed the public that Sturgeon was on medical leave. That was five months ago.  Why can’t the city inform us again of when her medical leave ends and she’s back at work?  When will she be set free from the muzzle  placed on her by the city?  Free Michele!

To refresh your memory, Michele Sturgeon is the city’s health inspector whose name became inexorably linked with The Porthole Pub, 22 Custom House Wharf, late last summer.  That was when she  shut down the waterfront watering hole long enough for the owner to correct the numerous, serious health violations (including rats) she found there.  In fact,  it’s common knowledge that was an unsanitary place to eat or drink.   Even Ken Macgowan, wharf owner, acknowledges he knew of the unsanitary conditions at The Porthole and told no one about them.  Bowing to political and business pressure Doug Gardner, director of the city’s health office,  overuled Sturgeon’s shutdown order and reopened the Porthole prematurely. (This was not the first time that a Keithley restaurant has been shut down for unsanitary  conditions.)   Despite plans to reopen under the same ownership, it never did.  Business owner Keithley said he could not overcome the negative PR this publicity caused.  Instead, wharf owner Ken Macgowan opened it late last month.  This controversy will live on with Sturgeon forever and the city may permanently thawrt her ability  to speak about it openly and honestly.  Sturgeon was right to do what she did, political and business pressure be damned!  Jeopardizing  public health is a serious matter.  Gardner needs  to be held accountable for jeopardizing  the public trust that is inherit in his position.  Public health be damned!  For more background information, please visit Posts # 1,401, dated 4/22/13 and # 1,213, dated 9/15/12.

It’s a simple question:  When does Michele’s medical leave end?  Apparently, the answer is too complicated for public consumption.