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.