JACKSON SCORES - "UN" - IMPRESSIVE VICTORY

Submitted by Roldo on Wed, 09/09/2009 - 14:15.

For Mayor Frank Jackson a deep economic recession and an abysmally apathetic public made for a winning combination.

 

Getting more than 70 percent of the vote is quite impressive – until you look at the vote total. Then it is depressing.

 

Clevelanders apparently didn’t care much to vote for anyone for Mayor.

 

Mayor Jackson’s victory was even less impressive when you consider that some hot Council races drew some excitement among voters. The vote could have been even much lower without these contests.

 

Can you blame the public for being apathetic? I’d say NO!

 

A livelier campaign might have made for a better result. This campaign can be equated with an old balloon depleting air. No sizzle at all.

 

It could be a sign that the vast majority of people are satisfied with how life is in Cleveland.

 

You have to ask, however, how could that be?

 

The other factor that plays into this apathy is the fact that the bomb hasn’t blown up yet. The financial bomb, that is. It is bound to happen in the coming year, if not shortly after the November election.

 

The mayor is getting a lot of credit for keeping Cleveland financially above water. I’m not sure though that either it could last long or that it’s even true.

 

Jackson is fond of saying enigmatically about affairs of the city that it is what it is. Hard to find much meaning in that. It’s sort of saying things aren’t good and they’re not going to get better.

What is is can’t be much of a platform many politicians would want to run on. Jackson quietly finds it soothing.

The word “dynamic,” I’d say, could be used as an antonym for Jackson.

 

Bill Patmon, who will run off against Jackson in November, isn’t very exciting himself. He tries to appear serious and sincere. It doesn’t work. You get the feeling Patmon thinks he has to compensate for something he did wrong before. It makes him seem, well, sort of faking sincerity.

 

 

Unfortunately for Patmon, he hasn’t been visible as a fighter for the “little people.” I think he’d like to be seen as such.

 

Had he taken some strong stands in recent years he might have a better reputation as a fighter for those at the bottom.

 

I watched Patmon during his Council career - part of which he spent as the finance chairman. It is the top job below Council President. He ran a good committee. Patmon promised when he started that he would not – as had become the sloppy method – to continue a meeting without a quorum. He kept his promise.

 

The problem with Jackson and Patmon, however, is that they don’t have very strong leadership talents.

 

In a city where you need a tough bargainer, there has been a serious dearth of such leadership for many years.

 

Jackson, for example, allowed the Cleveland Cavaliers to move their training camp to Independence. With that move, a lot of income tax revenue moved from Cleveland to Independence. I didn’t see what Jackson got in return.

 

Jackson went along with the Wolstein development in the Flats, showering the Wolsteins with subsidies. Can’t think what he got in return. Nothing seems to be happening with the project.

 

Patmon has ripped into Jackson about the Eaton Corp. move out of Cleveland. Fair criticism, I’d say. However, that move actually was greased long ago by former Mayor George Voinovich and Council President George Forbes in the late 1980s when they opened city-owned land in wealthy eastern suburbs. When the economy revives we are likely to see more movement to Chagrin Highlands to the detriment of downtown Cleveland.

 

Jackson, to my mind, didn’t make a good enough deal on the Medical Mart and Convention Center either. He should have insisted not only for payment of the city’s properties but a share of the County taxes being collected for 40 years from residents. He didn’t drive a good enough bargain for Clevelanders, in my opinion.

 

Jackson also seems to be going along with the so-called Opportunity Corridor, a $350-million project, that is unnecessary and will cut through a part of Cleveland that needs help but will become a mere bypass. The project, heavily backed by the Greater Cleveland Partnership, doesn’t seem to offer Clevelanders anything. It allows suburbanites to slide through the city ignoring its problems.

 

Cleveland is in such bad shape (despite the glee about E. 4th Street, our new version, I guess, of the old Short Vincent) that its officials can’t afford to give anything away without a good return.

 

Jackson used to be good at getting something for his ward as a Councilman. He or somebody needs to be a lot better working deals that help Cleveland’s residents.

 

That’s the bargain voters should be demanding. A lot louder than a 10 percent vote.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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