Two local advocacy groups intend to pull petitions to recall Mayor Frank Jackson in response to what they call "ineffective leadership" and a "lack of concern for Cleveland neighborhoods."
Al Porter of Black on Black Crime Inc., and Jeff Mixon of Black Lives Matter in Cuyahoga County — unaffiliated with the national Black Lives Matter movement and its local chapter, Black Lives Matter Cleveland — submitted a list of demands in an affidavit yesterday that included implementing a jobs program for teens, lowering property taxes for low- and middle-income residents, funding initiatives to combat bullying and domestic violence, and complying with the recommendations of the Cleveland Lead Safe Network. An affidavit of this sort, outlining the reasons for the recall attempt, is required by city charter.
These demands were addressed not only to Jackson but to the "corporate entities" of Cuyahoga County, with whom the advocacy organizations say they have lost patience.
The Jackson recall is being positioned as the first in a series of efforts to oust local leaders who have lost touch with the community, including Congresswoman Marcia Fudge and Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish. (Budish may be recalled in a similar fashion, but there is no mechanism for an electoral recall of members of the U.S Congress.)
Mixon, in a speech posted to Facebook, above, calls many of Cleveland's leaders "tried and true sellouts" from the black community who have been installed by business leaders for decades.
A devout Seventh Day Adventist, Mixon said that he was animated by the teachings of Jesus Christ, including the directive to love one's neighbors. "One of the ways we love our neighbors is by demanding better government," he said.
Mixon said that he and other activists have tried to hold elected leaders accountable in many ways for years, but that black leaders have taken advantage of their positions of authority, recognizing that historically oppressed black communities are "just so happy to see black faces" in power that they're less likely to hold them accountable.
He said the endorsement process in Cuyahoga County was corrupt and ineffective, and that even if the Jackson recall drive was ultimately unsuccessful, the goal was to send a message that the community is fed up.
"We are tired of leadership that serves corporate Cleveland and corporate Cuyahoga while ignoring the needs of the people who put them in office,” Mixon concluded.
The Cleveland affidavit turns out to have been invalid because Al Porter is not a Cleveland resident, but the groups will submit a new one shortly. They will then have 30 days to collect 12,160 signatures from residents who voted in the 2017 mayoral election.
that no recall petition has been successful in Cleveland's history, including an effort to remove Frank Jackson in 2015. That effort failed after organizers were unable to submit the required number of valid signatures.