Project Mayhem Task #4 touches upon something that I would like to highlight: the civic involvement of Mike Brown and the Bengals in the larger Cincinnati area. Specifically, the lack thereof. For a family sustained by taxpayers, they show surprisingly little interest in the region that supports them. And I'm not just talking about the charitable end of things, but the business end of things too.
The plans to build the stadium were underway in 1996, over 12 years ago, for example. And the plan to develop the Banks seems to just now be gaining traction. While many parties are at fault here, it is not like you ever heard of the Bengals being a proactive force. Nope, from what I have heard they were mostly unhelpful and satisfied to earn parking revenue rather than encouraging development that would likely make them more wealthy, successful and popular in the long term. For an example, check out this quote from an Enquirer article about condo development on the Banks in 2005:
Bengals owner Mike Brown and Reds chief operating officer John Allen attended the commissioners' press conference Friday in a show of support for the project, but there was no talk of what if any contribution they might make toward the project. The Bengals have veto rights over some development that could be visible from Paul Brown Stadium.
As you can see, Mike's stance amounts to: I maintain the right to veto, but I feel no obligation to contribute. Sweet. Love that positive engagement from the leader of the most public organization in Cincinnati. I will touch upon this topic more, civic responsibility and the Bengals, but for now I'll close with just one more quick anecdote.
In the quest to make Project Mayhem as successful as possible, every now and then I find out some interesting tidbits from those who have held positions of leadership in the Cincinnati community at some level (be it business, gov't, not-for-profit, etc.). For example, here is a line from an email I received from a person I will keep anonymous:
Mike Brown, everyone, in a nutshell.
(I'm going to run a cheese grater across my knee cap now)