Wednesday, November 6, 2013

By Kathy Wray Coleman: Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson wins third term, opponent Ken Lanci quits politics, says media was biased

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson (left) with his wife Edwina,
 campaign manager Blaine Griffin,
and a host of supporters
 during his victory speech Tuesday night. Jackson, 67,
won a third four-year term with 66 percent
 of the vote over millionaire businessman Ken Lanci.

A two term mayor and former Cleveland City Council president,
he has led the predominantly Black
major American city since 2006.
(The Cleveland Urban News.Com article on Cleveland City Council races Tuesday night is coming. Stay tuned and please read the below article on Tuesday's mayoral election in Cleveland)

By Johnette Jernigan and Kathy Wray Coleman, The Kathy Wray Coleman Online News Blog.Com, Ohio's No 1 and No 2 online Black newspapers ( and ( Reach us by phone at 216-659-0473 and by email at

CLEVELAND, Ohio-Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson will keep his $137,000 a-year job as mayor of the largely Black major American city of some 400,000 people, easily winning a third term Tuesday night over millionaire businessman Ken Lanci.

Jackson won with 66 percent of the vote in the nonpartisan general election for Cleveland mayor and got 37, 488 votes to Lanci's 19, 336 votes,unofficial results from the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections reveal.

Voter turnout was low at 21 percent, the worst turnout in 40 years,  the Plain Dealer Newspaper reports.

Flanked by his wife Edwina and other family members at a victory party at Sterle's Country House Restaurant on the city's east side, Jackson, 67, was poised and diplomatic in victory. He thanked political strategist Arnold Pinkney, campaign manager Blaine Griffin and his family and supporters during his 8 minute victory speech. He was articulate in his delivery and sounded more like a visionary mayor for the first time since his election for a first four-year term in 2005.

"I want to thank the people who actually ran the campaign," the two term Black mayor said to cheers and applause. "I want to thank the people of the city of Cleveland for having confidence in me."

The mayor said that improving Cleveland requires an across-the board approach involving community stakeholders at all levels to deal with core problems that most urban centers across America like Cleveland face regularly, and he asked  "how do we institutionalize and create that infrastructure?"

He said that he fails as mayor if the city regresses under his leadership.

Jackson's message of improving the city with one of its own, himself as the leader at the helm, resonated with voters, most Black, many poor, and some still fighting a recovering national recession. And he was convincing with his political platform of a balanced budget, a successful schools levy last year to help the failing public schools that he controls under state law, more jobs, and better neighborhood safety.

"Mayor Jackson is a good mayor and the voters agreed," said Bishop Eugene Ward, an influential Black minister and pastor at Greater Love Missionary Church in Cleveland who was among about 150 supporters that joined Jackson Tuesday night at Sterle's for his acceptance speech.

Ken Lanci
An Independent turned Democrat who lost a bid for Cuyahoga County Executive in 2010 who says he prefers Italian- American to being called White, Lanci, 63, thanked his supporters, mainly community activists, at the Masonic Temple Auditorium on East 36th Street and Euclid Avenue, and he told Cleveland Urban News.Com before giving his concession speech that he quits politics. By his side Tuesday night  was his wife Linda, his adult children, and many of those with his campaign that went the long haul hoping for what they say is needed change. He was polite, but still agitated as a neophyte politician getting both the glory and the dirt that come with politicking.

"I'm not running for mayor, county executive, I'm not doing nothing," Lanci said, still upset by what he said previously was media bias in coverage leading up to the election that his campaign said favored the Jackson campaign.

Lanci said that the local mainstream media television stations, the Plain Dealer, which is Ohio's largest newspaper, and the Call and Post, a Black Cleveland  print weekly published by international boxing promoter Don King, were among the media outlets partial to Jackson.

Community Activist Michael Nelson, a Lanci supporter who owns a restaurant and party center at East 69th Street and Superior in Ward 7, said Tuesday at what Lanci supporters hoped would be a victory party, that Jackson won a third term because of community complacency.

"They don't want change," said Nelson.

Regardless of the reason for loving him, voters of a city nearly 59 percent Black gave Jackson, a Black mayor,  a re-election mandate with 66 percent of the vote.

Cleveland Attorney Michael Nelson Sr., no relation to the other Nelson and who lost a nonpartisan primary election to Jackson in 2005, getting less that 3 percent of the vote, said last night that Lanci's finish with 34 percent of the vote was not bad.

Given that Lanci has never held public office and his message was more anti-Frank Jackson than what he could really do to improve the city, Lanci made a decent showing, Attorney Nelson said.

Lanci did tout high unemployment, the failing public schools, and increasing crime. But voters wanted four more years of the popular Frank Jackson, a former assistant city prosecutor who worked his way through law school and was city council president before ousting Jane Campbell in 2005 to become mayor.

Jackson and Lanci grew up in the Cleveland ghettos on the city's eastside, Lanci, near East 55th St in Woodland, and  Jackson, near E. 39th and Carnegie Avenue near where he lives now in a moderate home with his wife and family.

Lanci is a poor boy turned multimillionaire, and though he gives millions to the city schools, tax breaks included, he could not convince voters that moving to the suburbs and then back into Cleveland just last year makes him a homie for purposes of becoming mayor in the territorial Black city.

Both campaigns spent in excess of half a million dollars, some saying that Lanci, a local graphics and printing company guru who funded over 90 percent of his campaign with his own money, should have saved his money.

Jackson had a campaign war chest of over a million dollars and if Lanci did anything he forced Jackson to campaign harder and to become more visible in the community, Lanci supporters said.

"It was an exciting campaign and I wish Mr. Lanci had won," said Community Activist Dionne Carmichael Thomas, owner and operator of Josephines Lounge at East 79th Street and Central Avenue in Cleveland.