No matter if you think Frank Jackson was an excellent, good, mediocre or horrible mayor, few can seriously doubt or call into question his love for the City of Cleveland. In point of fact, his stated reason for running four years ago (when he probably should have retired) was because he didn’t think either of the two leading candidates — Zack Reed and Jeff Johnson — had what it takes to lead the city. Is that what he thinks of the current crop of contenders vying to replace him now?
Cleveland has a somewhat notorious history (going back to the Stokes brothers’ era) of Black elected officials not grooming someone to take their place when they retire, and Jackson is obviously no different. To my knowledge, he hasn’t taken anyone under his wing to prepare and groom them to lead the city forward. Why? Could all of them have been afraid that if they prepared someone that person might seek to take their place before they were ready to leave office?
Or could it be that the mayor is timid about endorsing someone because he doesn’t want to piss off any of the other candidates? Somehow, for some reason, I find that somewhat difficult to believe. Frank Jackson has always struck me as being too much his own man to be that concerned with how the other candidates might feel.
But back to my opening sentence: There’s no doubt in my mind in regards to how much the mayor loves the city he has worked for virtually all of his adult life. But that sets up the puzzle: If he does indeed love Cleveland as much as he clearly does, then why won’t he take a hand in determining who occupies the mayor’s office once he cleans out his desk?
Even if the mayor is still of the frame of mind that none of the current crop of candidates measure up to him in their talents, it seems that he would pick the one he feels could do the job best and throw his endorsement behind them — if for no other reason than this would be the most logical way for him to try to ensure the city continues to move forward in the direction he would like to see it go.
Puzzling, very puzzling indeed.