At a lunch table somewhere, a man starts choking. His colleagues take notice, but instead of acting, they merely talk about the problem, and how best to react. Time goes by, and the man's still choking - dying actually - but his friends haven't yet reached consensus on how exactly to save the man.
If you've been watching television lately, you may recognize this scene from the script of a TV commercial. Even if you haven't seen the spot, you can imagine how it ends. The consensus-seekers around the table don't save the poor fellow. But a strong and decisive person at a neighboring table did. WIth the right maneuver, and in the nick of time, the food was dislodged, and the choking man was saved.
And this, curiously, brings us to the mayoral election. In their pre-primary co-endorsement of Mark Mallory and David Pepper, the Cincinnati Enquirer made a very accurate and important distinction between the leadership styles of the two remaining candidates.
Mr. Mallory, they said, would try to use consensus to save Cincinnati, banking on his apparent friendliness and love for discourse to solve the enormous problems this city faces today. On the other hand, this paper said, David Pepper would lead by being decisive and acting as a strong mayor should: by implementing new policies to better serve, by using new strategies to address major problems, and by building a new political infrastructure to end the bickering at City Hall.
Of course, these claims are not characterizations made only by the Enquirer. These are also the messages of the individual candidates and their campaigns. After all, Mr. Mallory has stated publicly that he would spend all of his four year term focused narrowly on finding consensus within City Hall.
David Pepper, however, has made himself the candidate known to be capable of leading by bringing new ideas to the table and acting on them, changing the way politics and policies move through our City's broken system of politics.
With violent crime on the rise, citizens leaving on a daily basis, and the City's social, economic, and physical infrastructure deteriorating before our eyes, voters must ask themselves if Cincinnati can afford to have a career politician whose first term objective is to sit around and look for consensus while the City suffocates.
The answer: Cincinnati can't afford to elect that candidate.
On November 8th, Cincinnatians should elect the candidate that understands that consensus only means something if it has a purpose, a direction, and if it leads to decisive action. The only candidate who understands this is David Pepper.
It seems that the Cincinnati Enquirer had it right all along. They said, "Pepper has the smarts and skills to make the most of Cincinnati's stronger-mayor form of government... You could expect to see a difference almost from Day 1." Lucky for Cincinnati, Mr. Pepper already has that day planned out.