-- Charlie Luken on Nov. 6
Your once and future mayor is stuck on stupid.
When approached by a CityBeat reporter on the night of the biggest political win of his lackluster career, Mayor "Mister Charlie" Luken greeted her by saying he was still waiting for his endorsement -- this paper endorsed Courtis Fuller -- but at least we didn't criticize his anatomy this week.
The mayor's holding a grudge. It's soooo Cincinnati.
Luken seethed with a "because I said so" vibe during all those damage-control soundbytes. You know the ones. In some he explained away two curfews. In others he refrained from addressing his condition of testicular-in-absentia when he didn't have the cajones to fire City Manager John Shirey for not firing Police Chief "Uncle Tom" Streicher.
On election night, however, it all gleefully and woefully surfaced. He bore his teeth.
He's mayor! He's back! He can hide the hostility no longer! And why should he?
Luken's snide aside refers to the CityBeat headline, Roxanne Is Gone, So Why Is Our Mayor Still Dickless? The journalistic gem accompanied a story (see issue of Dec. 7-13, 2000) questioning the mayor's inability or disinterest in stopping the Ku Klux Klan from erecting its annual holiday cross on Fountain Square.
Back then, we took Luken to task for his lack of moral indignation and his lack of action.
His 55-45 percent victory over Fuller isn't a reason to breathe a sigh of relief. We're all tired. We could all use a sigh.
But hold your breath. You see, this is only the beginning, folks.
You see, the lack of ideas, the hostility, the myopia and the sidestepping -- remember when Luken ducked out of a City Hall meeting after Timothy Thomas was shot? -- are part and parcel of what got us here. Watching Luken in (in)action is like watching videotape of a drunken captain steering a ship full of sleeping passengers into an iceberg. Can you say Titanic?
But who's gonna save us from ourselves? Individually, we must.
The outcome of Cincinnati's first direct election in 76 years doesn't prove Luken is the strongest. It proves voters are afraid.
It could've been a new road, but instead it's the same cow on a long stretch of Kansas freeway. And when we finally come to rest after this anxious journey that could've been our trip to bountiful, we'll see we're actually at the beginning again.
Yeah, this is the beginning. It's the start of something new, of a new set of tests.
And I don't envy Luken, a man so concerned with proving his opponent's inexperience for the mayor's job he neglected to convince us he wanted or even deserved the job.
That goes for the others who badmouthed Fuller. Sure, he was light in his loafers in political-speak. But at least he wasn't afraid to walk among the people he wanted to lead.
So with four years looming, Luken has his work not just cut out for him -- it's sitting in a big heaping pile of parts like a bicycle on Christmas Eve. He's gotta convince us he likes us, and then he's gotta prove he's not annoyed by us.
And I ain't just talking about CityBeat.
Hell, as far as this paper is concerned, Luken doesn't have to ever speak to another CityBeat staffer again. In fact, he'd prove himself a stronger man if he came out and said so and ceased with the passive-aggressive frat boy behavior.
Instead, he tosses off biting asides in front of other media members to embarrass a CityBeat reporter when he could've been unifying and coming together. Maybe he was trying to dish it out like it was served.
I know what you're thinking: What's the big deal?
Well, it's this kind of Homer Simpson behavior that keeps Cincinnati mired in the National Hall of Shame. D'oh! We can't ever seem to clear away the early-morning eye boogers and see life for what it is.
Character is who you are when no one's looking. Therefore, I think we've got a petty mayor who thinks he's supposed to be mayor because of some name-brand recognition or family pedigree. Either that or he's got egous humungus and it restricts him from getting out of the way of change.
Apparently you don't think so. You invited him back.
As for saying something about his anatomy, at least we know Fuller's shoes are bigger.