In Search of Culture Leaders for Cincinnati Politics

Dr. Herman J. Najoli
3 min readFeb 18, 2021

Recently, in an opinion piece titled, The Trouble with Cincinnati Politics, I outlined seven problems. In this post, I invite you to consider seven best practices targeted at addressing the problems. The collective practices emerge from corresponding first letters from the words ‘culture’ and ‘leaders’ to outline adaptable systemic changes for our local politics. Here are the best practices for establishing CULTURE LEADERS in our city for years to come:

Character Leadership

If the 2021 mayoral elections are to meet this moment, they must be a referendum on the need for character in city leaders. As we move past the embarrassing council failures of 2020, we need integrity in leadership. We need doers who eschew toxic turf wars and personal feuds. Good character emerges from moral persons who have ethical uprightness embedded in their personality. We need individuals who model good stewardship, values-based living, principle-centered dispositions, and excellent organizational leadership acumen.

Unbiased Electioneering

Our politics would be stellar when voters source their information prior to arriving at the polls. Electioneering using sample ballots breeds unhelpful straight-ticket voting. Unregulated campaign activity within restricted zones of polling locations must be stamped out. Candidates must be held accountable to attending debates and public forums during the campaign season. We must end the saturation of voters with flyers at polling locations. Only non-profit groups which provide unbiased information should be allowed at polling locations.

Leverage Authenticity

Authenticity in public servants beats betrayal of public trust. Authentic servants just cannot engage in abuse of power or immoral judgment in decision-making. Authenticity is a lever for excellence and should be required in Cincinnati politics. The most authentic candidates are those who collect their own signatures. This shows a willingness to meet nominating voters and answer direct questions on why an aspirant should be on the ballot. Authentic leaders model the way of service. True transformation will only happen in Cincinnati through authentic leadership.

Transformational Development

The calling of public office is to serve all people equally, not to favor segments of the population and special interests. The unscrupulous backroom deals that I labeled last month as a ‘Barter Exchange’ must be eliminated from our public sphere. Quid pro quo is a cancer within government that must be eradicated. We need transformational development in our communities where leaders look openly at broad needs that are more inclusive and allow experts to make wise decisions on deals for the public good.

Unaffiliated Engagement

Our city elections are non-partisan, yet we see the dangerous effects of partisanship. Independent candidates do not receive a fair hearing in the marketplace of ideas. The Charter Committee’s philosophy of ‘no Democratic or Republican way to fix a pothole’ is vitally important and the best practice for weighing which candidate has the most innovative ideas. All candidates deserve to be judged on the merits and should be engaged evenly in all elements of the process. Our city desperately needs unaffiliated political outsiders to be given a fair chance.

Robust Resourcefulness

Past city leaders have shown a lack of long-term vision for many reasons, including an improper focus on small things instead of the issues of the time, proliferation of personal squabbles, and constant reaction to developments in other cities. In a nutshell: wrong priorities. A cavalcade of ideas only emerges from robust resourcefulness. Leaders must buckle up and focus on generating vision for the city. In my run for Mayor, I have developed the Cincy 2021 platform. This prospectus captures the big ideas that I will bring to this city that I love.

Extroverted Selflessness

For us to emerge as a shining city, we must embrace extroverted selflessness. We must go ‘big’ on being others-oriented for the sake of Cincinnati citizens and residents. The problem of egotistical greediness can be thwarted through extroverted selflessness. Endless selfishness in elected leaders has tarnished Cincinnati’s reputation. We can fix this in 2021 by electing wise doers who are not interested in self advancement and brazen gain from public office. Hence, I am running for Mayor this year to promote a new breed of culture leaders in Cincinnati politics.



Dr. Herman J. Najoli

R.E.A.L. educator. Doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership. Father, Friend, Futurist. Fan of People. Nonprofits. Service.