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Mayor Frank Jackson and Ken Lanci Debate at City Club

James W. Wade III | 9/24/2013, 9:21 p.m.
Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and his challenger Ken Lanci squared off in a debate at The City Club of Cleveland. ...
Incumbent Frank Jackson and challenger Ken Lanci faced off in a debate held at the historic City Club of Cleveland. Photo by James W. Wade III

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and his challenger Ken Lanci squared off in a debate at The City Club of Cleveland. The debate, monitored by Rick Jackson, a host and producer at 90.3 WCPN/ideastream was a chance for the candidates to talk about the upcoming race.

Mayor Jackson coming off a Levy campaign showed true passion to the discussion of education, but at the same time Lanci seem to take his platform towards education too and shared some of his vision of he get the job as Mayor of Cleveland. Such questions on education, the quality of life and race relations were topics that had the candidates shooting under cuts to each other all afternoon.

If you have been paying attention to the race thus far you have seen Lanci at various events giving away gifts and hot dogs. “I don’t go to a place of tragedy with hot dogs and hamburgers to be disrespectful and condescending to that tragedy,” Jackson said. “But I make my communications heard in a subtle and non-media way, so the people of Cleveland know one thing about me that I care about them and their wellbeing and I’m not going to betray their trust in me,” said Mayor Jackson.

Lanci during his time spoke about the Mayor getting police protection at his house does not make the Mayor one of them. “I will fire the Chief of Police and the Safety director,” said Lanci.

Jackson in one of his remarks showed how Lanci was not being fair with the voters. “Just because he was born and spent some time in Cleveland’s inner-city, Lanci eventually moved to suburban Brecksville, and now returns to offer solutions to Cleveland’s problems,” Jackson said. The Mayor said Lanci is being disrespectful to the community when describing the problems he sees blaming students for problems in the schools and unwed mothers for issues that stem from broken families. “It’s condescending and it has a tone of disdain,” Jackson said.

Lanci fired back sayingt “it’s disrespectful for the residents of Cleveland to have lived for the last eight years with a failed school system.” The city has nothing to show for Jackson’s two terms.

Lanci spent most of the day jabbing at Jackson for lacking the business sense that Lanci feel is needed to lead the city to prosperity and for entering into numerous bad deals. He cited the example of fired consultant Peter Tien, who recently received a $250,000 settlement from the city for his work preparing an air emissions permit application for a waste-to-energy plant.

“Thirty-seven years as a politician. How has that worked for the city? How has that worked out with a still-failing school system and another promise that we're going to fix it?” Lanci said. Lanci talked how his wealth would guarantee he would work for residents because he would not need campaign contributions from those expecting favors.

Mayor Jackson at one point stated how confused he was because at one time he said Lanci's was on the record for firing the chief and director of safety. “You have been endorsed by a organization that you protested against,” Jackson stated.

Mayor Jackson also stated how he has lived in the Central area and understands various issues that happens in the city. Knowing the issues facing Cleveland residents particularly problems with drugs and gun violence is superficial, at best.

“I have yet to hear you or the police talk about the two victims that were killed. This stuff is painful, because I have to live it every day. And it’s painful when my wife and children and grandchildren and their friends have to deal with this on a daily basis,” Jackson said.

The election will take place Tuesday November 5, 2013.