Sam Allard / Scene
Jackson addresses the media.
The Plain Dealer’s
former editorial boss Brent Larkin sat down with Mayor Frank Jackson recently and published a piece in Sunday’s paper
which characterized him as being on the precipice of a “gigantic” decision: whether or not to run for an unprecedented fourth term,
"What I don't want to be is like an old fighter not knowing to get out of the ring,” Jackson told Larkin in the one-on-one interview. “So if I believe — and this is a major consideration — that I bring relevancy, if I bring value, then the danger of staying will be less.
"If I don't bring value, if I've outlived my style of doing things, if it just doesn't fit the times and would pose a huge danger to the city, if I'm getting in the way of what I'm trying to do for the city and becoming an impediment, then I'm gone.”
That’s a pretty subjective series of standards by which to measure one’s own impact — Can you imagine Jackson admitting that he posed a “huge danger” to the city? — but we suppose we take his point. Larkin said he suspects Jackson is leaning “ever so slightly” toward staying, which would mean he would surpass Michael White as the longest-running Cleveland Mayor of all time.
Jackson has presided over the city's recent “renaissance,” and has chalked up budgeting woes to the state and its ruthless chopping of funds for local governments. He also told Larkin that at least some among the current crop of Mayoral hopefuls are more bark than bite — council malcontents Jeff Johnson and Zack Reed, most likely — and that even if he chooses not to run, he wants to make sure the next candidate is primed for success.
Per the Cleveland City Charter
(section 68), there are no term limits for the office of Mayor. And given that Jackson has never lost an election for a City Council seat or the Mayor’s chair, he can serve as long as he pleases — Larkin says that if he runs again, he'll surely win — “until his successor is elected and qualified.”