Bill Brodberger is easily the most colorful of the four candidates for mayor of Cincinnati. A private investigator and the owner of a security company, he likes to show off his Cadillac. He talks with so much self-confidence you might think he were already mayor.
Brodberger says he supports a proposed amendment to the city charter that would end civil-service protection for the police chief and other senior managers.
"I want to be able to have a certain amount of control over our employees," he says.
Sometimes Brodberger takes on a military air, for example when he describes his work during the riot in April. Some of his people were paid to observe what was going on, he says.
"I'm pretty proud of my men and women," he says. "We held all our lines."
The Hamilton County Republican Party has not endorsed a candidate for mayor.
They could have picked Brodberger, who requested the endorsement, but declined. He is now running as an "independent Republican," he says.
Attending community council meetings in every neighborhood that has one, Brodberger has shown he's no slacker. He also talks the Republican line, saying we should "streamline city government."
The key to avoiding confrontation with police in Cincinnati?
"Abide by man's and God's rules," he says.
Brodberger supports the "enforcement, prosecution and sentencing of all crime" and says the police need to have "full support from City Hall." A resident of Madisonville, he believes Cincinnati needs to send a message of intolerance for crime.
"We want to get the word out that you can be a bad guy somewhere else, because if you do it here, we're going to stuff you in jail," he says.
Brodberger has been convicted three times for driving under the influence and twice for theft. One of the theft convictions, he says, was a matter of being with a man who was trying to steal tires. The other, he says, has to do with a movie rented in his name by another person and never returned.
The DUI convictions, Brodberger says, are the result of "being a devout bachelor running businesses and never being in a big hurry to get home" and also a "genetic health disorder" that means he can no longer drink — which, he's quick to add, he doesn't.
A club for our kind
Brodberger rejects the idea the events in April were a threat, as "self-appointed leaders" have claimed. He will not use the word "disturbance," saying what happened was a "riot, flash point, lightning strike."
"You don't have that many people incarcerated by a love-in," he says.
Brodberger views Cincinnati as a club.
"Anybody who lives here in Cincinnati is automatically a member, and all members should be afforded the same benefits, protections and responsibilities," he says.
He thinks city employees need to join the club, calling for a residency requirement for all new city employees.
"I think it's very important that your employees have a vested interest in the community," he says.
A residency requirement, according to Brodberger, would discourage the interest of some police officers from outside the city who come into the city with a "prison-facility mentality."
Other recent reforms, he says, are pointless, such as the demographic report that police have to fill to comply with the city's racial profiling ordinance.
"If you do have a rogue bad cop, he or she isn't going to sit down and fill out that form and say 'Yes, I whacked that guy,' " Brodberger says.
The call to repeal Article 12 of the city charter, which prohibits anti-discrimination measures on behalf of gays and lesbians, is not an issue Brodberger has taken a special interest in. But he says he has "no intention of standing in the way" of repeal.
While attending community council meetings and speaking to people he meets while campaigning, Brodberger has gathered ideas. One of the best he's heard, he says, is relocating the convention center to Over-the-Rhine, to the ill-fated site proposed for a Broadway Commons baseball stadium.
Move the convention center and expand it to 12 to 14 city blocks, Brodberger says. Moreover, the new facility should include underground parking — and a bio-tech commerce center.
Think of it as a new clubhouse. ©