Monday, October 29, 2001

Fuller would be king




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        Since when did Courtis Fuller become a candidate for King? November's ballot still has him running for mayor. But he's been acting awfully regal lately. Dodging questions. Ducking debates. Using the royal “we” in public.

        “We've been busy.” “We're committed.” “We are really focused.”

        We get the drift.

        Here's hoping he leaves his “we” at home for Tuesday night's mayoral debate on Channel 5. No fair ganging up on the opposition.

        Ever since he won the Sept. 11 primary — beating Mayor Charlie Luken in a battle of former Channel 5 news anchors — King Courtis has behaved as if he's going to wear a crown on Nov. 6.

        Memo to the would-be king: Nov. 6 is Election Day. Not Coronation Day.

People power

        Since the primary, his majesty has developed a severe aversion to debates. He repeatedly declines invitations, doesn't show or arrives late when he has a chance to be in the same room with the mayor.

        He's dismissed his spotty attendance record by saying:

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Check candidates and issues in four counties
        “I set my own schedule.”

        “There are no rules to this.”

        “I run my campaign.”

        King Courtis must remember he's running for an office that belongs to all of the people of Cincinnati.

        The mayor serves everyone in every neighborhood, from Avondale to Sayler Park, from Hyde Park to Westwood.

        As many people as possible deserve the chance to see the challenger go head-to-head as often as possible with the incumbent. That helps voters make an informed choice.

Drawing a blank

        Courtis Fuller is taking part in a historic race. And the stakes are high. Winner gets a four-year term as Cincinnati's first directly elected strong mayor to take office since 1925.

        This is not TV, where news anchors appear on opposite channels or opposite ends of a desk as they look at a camera and read the news.

        The voters need to examine the candidates one-on-one, face-to-face. No holds barred.

        Last week, King Courtis held court at a press conference to clear up a discrepancy about his college education. The League of Women Voters' online guide for the Sept. 11 primary showed him with a bachelor's degree from Marquette University.

        “That information went out without my authorization,” he said.

        He admitted attending Marquette. But he said he's 30 credits shy of a degree.

        Questions about his college education arose after the printed version of the League's November voters guide appeared. In the Courtis Fuller section, the space after the word “education” is blank.

        “We only had a certain amount of words,” he explained.

        A trend's developing here. King Courtis doesn't care to share information. Especially about himself.

        That trait in a mayor would not benefit the people of Cincinnati.

        If a question popped up about a conflict of interest, race relations, plans for developing downtown or improving the police department, he could give an evasive answer. Or just leave it blank.

        Evading questions and blank spaces could come back to haunt King Courtis.

        On Election Day, voters will see a space next to his name on the ballot.

        They might leave it blank.

        Columnist Cliff Radel can be reached at cradle@enquirer.com; 768-8379; fax 768-8340. Past columns at Enquirer.com/columns/radel

       



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