• Interview

Interview: Mayor Mark Mallory Looks Back

Cincinnati has blossomed into the city it has meant to be while in Mayor Mark Mallory's watch. We have much to thank  Mayor Mark Mallory for getting Cincinnati back on the map! We caught up with (now former) Mayor Mark Mallory to get a brief retrospective on his time in office. 

What is something you are most proud of that that you accomplished for Cincinnati?
There are a lot of things: The Banks, OTR, Downtown, neighborhood development. The attraction and retention of more than 24,000 jobs.  However the biggest thing would be the change in attitude. I said all along that we needed to challenge the conventional thinking in Cincinnati.  I realized early on that if we can change how we as Cincinnatians think about our city then we can change how the world thinks about Cincinnati.  It used to be that on the Internet people just loved to run Cincinnati down, but now, you get run down if you say anything even moderately negative about Cincinnati.  I remember traveling and telling people that I was from Cincinnati and watching people slink away as if I had a plague or something.  But now, you tell someone that you’re from Cincinnati and they have the opposite reaction.  Now they want to know about what’s happening here.  They’ve heard good things and they want to know more. 

As Mayor, what was your favorite part of the job?
The groupies.  This is a music website, right?  Groupies. No, in all seriousness the best part of the job was being a cheerleader for Cincinnati.  They didn’t give me pom-poms but I was out there singing the praises of this city every chance I had.  Another great part of the job was presenting a vision for what Cincinnati can be and then watching people get behind that vision and then seeing it become a reality.  This question is like asking a music freak who their favorite band is – it depends on the day and the genre.  

Downtown, OTR, The Banks, Bunbury...Wow. Tell us about how you were involved in the vision and execution...
A big part of being Mayor is encouraging and supporting a lot of the big ideas that people have.  I tried to create an atmosphere where people felt free to think big.  When I first came to office people kept saying that The Banks would never happen and that I should just give up on it.  We had 2 developers back out on the project and there was a logjam between the city and the county on what the banks should be and how to go about it.  It was part of that self-defeatist attitude that permeated not only the city of Cincinnati but the region – the conventional wisdom was to just drop it. I am glad that I didn’t listen to the naysayers because The Banks is happening and I really think that set the tone for the city. 

If you could give the next Mayor a piece of advice, what would you say?
Invest in Cincinnati’s future! 

Do you wish to comment on the Cranley Streetcar debacle?
You’re hitting me awful hard for a music website. Can't we talk some Patti LaBelle or Motown?  Anyway, I believe that the Streetcar will continue to move Cincinnati towards being the world-class city it was meant to be.  That’s why I pushed for it as Mayor.  Cincinnati isn’t alone in building a streetcar – Atlanta, Minneapolis, DC, Seattle; Portland has had one for over a decade.  Streetcars have a great track record of building a city’s economy.

I have to ask... What is your favorite local band? Favorite festival?
I have always been a big fan of the Macy's music festival.  I have attended it for many years and I will never forget giving  Patti LaBelle a key to the city on stage.  Cincinnati lost that festival due to several different issues. When we got it back I created a different way of hosting the event which has lead to new attendance records in recent years.  Favorite local band…when I was younger, my sister, my brothers and I admired the Jackson 5. It's been fun seeing several local bands gain national prominence in recent years.  I’ve been told that Foxy Shazam is great live.  Maybe I’ll check them out sometime soon.   

What is next for Mayor Mark Mallory?
I want to run for Mayor of the International Space Station.  Is that possible?  If so, then I hereby declare my candidacy.