Friday, January 14, 2011

Cincinnati Mayor appears on "Reality Show". Council should seek his resignation.

Those of you who read my blog on a regular basis know I tend to steer clear of "controversial issues' and tend to avoid any political discussions unless they directly pertain to Historic Preservation. This blog does not endorse political candidate nor will it ever, as I believe that endorsements, just like ones vote should be private.

But this blog is about promoting Cincinnati to out of towners who might choose, based on our architecture, to locate here and some of those people bring their business as well. It was revealed in a Cincinnati Enquirer last night that the mayor 'chose' to go on a TV reality show called "Undercover Boss" and that show will air this spring.

To me, this represents a lack of "sound judgment" on the mayor's part. I don't care if it is a 'popular show'. The fact is that those who serve in Political office, particularly a Mayor, must deal with the business community, and , as such, they are the 'public face' of this city. Mayors, in the true sense, no longer 'run' city government, that is primarily done by the City council and the city managers office. They are its, figure head and their public conduct can make, or break, the image of the city. Ask Detroit how they feel about their former mayor just indicted on racketeering changes and how it will effect their efforts to attract new business to their city.

Part of a mayors duty is to promote their city, they do that by ribbon cuttings, appearing on the news, promoting the 'good things' that happen in the city. A big part of a mayors job these days is in the business arena, traveling and promoting the city to businesses that may want to potentially locate here or expand operations here or do business with the city. This is extremely competitive and regionally we compete with cities like Indianapolis, Louisville  and others in the area of new business development.

If you ask most people what they think of when they hear the word Cincinnati, I typically get the following responses, "Oh that the city that elected Jerry Springer Mayor" or "that's a really conservative city than banned the Mapplethorpe exhibit" or "its a poor dying rust belt city". Of course you also get the Pete Rose gambling scandal or that the city has history of corruption, is racist and unfortunately, the riots in 2001.

Those are tough 'negative images" for a city to overcome, despite that , the city is making progress. I suspect most corporations approached by this "reality show" issue a polite "thanks but no thanks" to its producers because they are concerned about their public image. That would be the response I would "expect" our Mayor to make. This apparently never crossed the mayor's mind that this 'might' be viewed as a negative for the mayor and this city's image when this city is in a deep financial crisis, ranked number 4 as a city most likely to go into bankruptcy in 2011, has a major pension problem, a streetcar that has divided the city and a perception by many that this city is headed into decline.

This was not an exercise in 'good judgment' plain and simple, and to me, represents a lack of "common sense" and respect for the office of Mayor. This city, like many cities, has issues and it calls for the Mayor to at least appear to be in charge and acting in the best interests of the city.

As someone who owns three businesses and am trying to find the right location to relocate those businesses to and plan on investing over a million dollars in this city, frankly Newport and Covington are looking better and better. I'd like to think that this city is competently run, by people who care, who understand that as elected officials they have a responsibility to put their best face forward and, in turn, the city's. Right now I'm not so sure.

Although, I am sure some think this show is 'cute', I am sure that some people think this is no 'big deal'. As a businessman, my image is everything and I'd like to think the city I chose to do business with feels the same way. I do not view this decision by the Mayor to do this, a 'good thing' for the image of this city, I think it shows poor judgment and lack of respect, not only for the office of mayor, but its citizens as well.

The council needs to to seek the resignation of the Mayor. We need professional competent leadership, not someone who thinks being the Mayor of a major US City is a joke.


Angie said...

This just goes hand in hand with the Police Women of Cincinnati tv show. I cannot view either as a positive promotion of the city. Let's see the impact on economic development, tourism, and city growth. All of these organizations should be outraged at these stunts at thier 15 minutes of fame.

Quimbob said...

There's also all the episodes of "Cops" that were shot here, distracting police & urging them to showboat....
Anyway, not to dwell on negativity (I'll leave that to Westwood Concern), because your blog has a very narrow focus, political scorecards from you could be very valuable.
PS, have you looked at the funeral home in Northside? Large space, central location, parking lot, near Building Value.

Radarman said...

Oh, for heaven's sake. Lighten up. Denver's John Hickenlooper, one of the most effective mayors ever and now governor of Colorado, never stands on dignity when he wants to make a point. Go to the You Tube of his shower ad.

Neil said...

I'm no fan of reality television, but I actually think this particular series/appearance isn't so bad. It would be a good opportunity to show the mayor surrounded by Cincinnati's beautiful architecture, which IMO would help promote it. I don't really see this show showcasing the underbelly of the cities problems like the cop shows would do.

When Mallroy was first elected he messed up a throw on opening day for the Reds. Instead of just sitting around and being a complete laughing stock, he went on the late night circuit and both demonstrated that he had a sense of humor and used it as an opportunity to promote the city.

There is probably a lot more methods that he should be utilizing to promote what makes Cincinnati great, but in both of these instances he's doing the right thing.

We should focus more on the cop shows which do show the negative side of things.

Julie said...

Agreed with Neil. "Undercover Boss" tends to actually make the businesses (and now cities) they feature look better from the bits and pieces I've seen of episodes. Having watched Policewomen of Cincinnati, it makes Cincinnati look like it's all drugs and prostitutes. I'd be far more critical of Policewomen than I'd be of Undercover Boss.

Paul Wilham said...

How this show is edited, will determine how the city appears. I suspect they will choose to show the 'underbelly' of this city rather than the high points.

I have a hard time believing this in any way, will enhance the image of the city.

At the end of the day its about leadership, or in my opionion, lack thereof. But then this is Cincinnati where the ineffective are promoted, no one in city government EVER gets fired and deals are still made behind closed doors. City employees are paid far more than comparable cities, yet accomplish far less.

Neil said...

I agree with your statements about the leadership in government of Cicninnati in general. There is still much work to be done to make this place have leadership with a spine.

However, one of the biggest cultural issues Cincinnati has to face its an overbearing cynicism amongst people living there. Its a cynicism that blinds people from taking notice at good things going on when they happen down there. Its the kind of cynicism that destroys pride and without pride people are unwilling to stand up and fight to improve things for the better. I'm happy that someone like you is willing and able to keep fighting, just don't become so cynical that you see the city as never being capable of doing the right thing.

When I lived there I got caught in that cynicism. Since moving away and living in a more optimistic environment, I've seen cautious progress, its not as much as I'd like to see but its still progress nonetheless. When I talk to my Cincy friends about how great it is to see some progress with the Banks, OTR, and Downtown, they scoff at me and say things are still as awful as when I left, which I don't think is right.

Credit is due where its due - if Luken was still mayor (who believe it or not was worse) I'm positive that OTR wouldn't have a "Gateway Quarter" and the Banks would still be a pile of dirt. Mallroy has achieved some good things. His biggest problem is that he's cautious and timid in achieving his goals he needs to be a bit more bold if the city is to get over its problems.

I'm totally not asking for blind pride as some people down in Cincy have resigned themselves to being happy with mediocrity and the status quo, but the kind of constructive criticism that pushes things forward even when the inertia seems really strong.

As for the TV show, maybe you should try to track down other episodes of this show before judging how its going to end up (I'll do so myself). See if the show is sensationalist tripe looking for shock factor, or if its low brow entertainment that makes the companies/organizations profiled look good while showing challenges bosses have to take while taking their employee's places. I've got a feeling that its more like the latter, but I'll check and let you know what I find out.

I urge you to do the same.

Cincy Images said...

I completely disagree! I am very pro city and think it was a smart move by Mayor Mallory. I applaud him for promoting the city and showing it in a positive light.

Cincinnati is typically off the radar for many Americans, this was an inexpensive way to promote the city.