Now that I’ve had time to think about the Hamilton County Commissioners’ decision, and I have read this morning’s article from the Enquirer “5 Reasons Music Hall Got Dropped from Tax Levy,” and I have this to say (Opinion expressed here represent my own thoughts and not those of my employer):
News flash: Neither Union Terminal or Music Hall is a stadium. While I know this is not breaking news, it clearly needs to be stated. I am disappointed that the stadium woes continues to be the scapegoat that continues to hold all Hamilton County, and all of Southwest Ohio back. I am disappointed that the stadium finance problems of yesteryear have decided tomorrow’s cultural facilities outcomes. The commissioners should exercise real leadership and quit with the excuses. That is all the stadium argument is; an excuse to make the “easy wrong” as Bob McDonald put it. I do not get to blame people from 10 or 15 years ago for not performing in my job today, right here, right now.
It is a shame that the county and the city cannot work together. I spent years in the Indianapolis area and am used to the UniGov system of government. In 1970, Indianapolis and Marion County consolidated government which made government more efficient with many shared services. It was not an overnight fix, for instance a consolidated Indianapolis Metropolital Police Department which consolidated Indianapolis City officers and Marion County officers did not happen until 2005, and I still think consolidated Fire services has been a bigger struggle still. Overall coordination of the entirety of Marion County, Indiana has been a (relatively) peaceful and efficient process. There are some areas in Marion County that are not part of Indianapolis government, but still receive county benefits. The bickering between city and county is not something I’m familiar with (Bickering between City/County and State, however is MUCH different). Hamilton County could benefit from such a system. I know there are a billion little villages, towns, townships, cities and more inside the confines of Hamilton County, Ohio, but at some point, “leaders” need to consider what they are sacrificing to bloat their own egos. Quit fighting amongst each other because as John F. Kennedy once said, “a rising tide lifts all boats.” Unfortunately, the tide is out in Hamilton County.
I am fortunate to have shaken Bob McDonald’s hand. That is a moment that I will never forget. I was in my yellow Save Our Icons t-shirt, holding a yellow “Speak for Us” sign and of course sporting my yellow Icons hard hat. Bob McDonald, Cultural Task Force chair, former CEO of Procter and Gamble, and now 8th Secretary of Veterans Affairs, shook my hand on his way out and thanked me for my support. He thanked me! If anything, I thank him for his tireless support and model leadership. I only wish I could be half the leader that he is. Bob McDonald called into the Commissioners’ meeting yesterday from Washington because Veterans Affairs, and asked Commissioners “to make the hard right, not to make the easy wrong.” Regardless of the outcome of yesterday’s vote, his words will stay with me forever, and he has inspired me to be a better leader.