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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

MAYORAL ADMINISTRATION OF FRANK G. JACKSON

MAYORAL ADMINISTRATION OF FRANK G. JACKSON

The MAYORAL ADMINISTRATION OF FRANK G. JACKSON has been characterized by stability amid difficult economic times. Although unable to reverse the effects of population decline, Mayor Jackson managed to sponsor a number of development plans, avoid scandals, and win re-election by wide margins.

Frank G. Jackson was born in 1946 to an inter-racial family in Cleveland. Jackson grew up in Central (see Central [neighborhood] ), and attended Cleveland public schools. After serving in the army during the Vietnam War, Jackson earned degrees from Cleveland public schools , Cuyahoga Community College , and three degrees from Cleveland State University. Jackson became an assistant city prosecutor, and then a Cleveland city councilperson in 1990. As a councilperson, Jackson was known for a low-key demeanor and "neighborhoods-first" approach to governing, and became city council president in 2001.

On November 08, 2005, Frank G. Jackson was elected mayor over incumbent Jane Campbell, 54,643 (54.97 percent) to 44,754, (45.03 percent). Two of the highest profile issues of Mayor Jackson's first term resulted from the passage of two state laws in 2006 that countered Cleveland city law. One ended Cleveland's requirement that city employees reside within the city and the second overrode the city's gun control laws. Since Cleveland made usage of residency laws to retain middle class workers in the city, Mayor Jackson became a prime opponent of the law, arguing that it violated Ohio's "home rule." The issue was eventually settled in a 5-2 decision by the Ohio Supreme Court in June of 2009 in favor of the state law against the City of Cleveland's position. In December 2010, the Ohio Supreme Court also upheld the Ohio Law preventing cities like Cleveland from having tighter restrictions on assault weapons, gun registration, and carrying weapons than the state's general law.

Aside from these issues, Mayor Jackson faced one of the worst economic climates in Cleveland's history. By 2006-7, Cleveland was one of the epicenters of a national foreclosure crisis. At one point, a zip-code largely encompassing Cleveland's Central [neighborhood] Slavic Village neighborhood had the highest foreclosure rate in the United States, while Cuyahoga County was ranked tenth overall. Despite the fiscal pressures brought on by what had become a large-scale national recession in late 2008, Cleveland managed to avoid service cuts or layoffs in 2009. This accomplishment helped Mayor Jackson win a landslide re-election in November of that year 60,512 (77.27 percent) against former Cleveland City Councilman Bill Patmon's 17,278 (22.06 percent).

In 2010, the U.S. census revealed that Cleveland's population had declined 17.1 percent from 477,472 in 2000 to 396,815 in 2010. By that year, however, the national economy was recovering, and work began on a number of other building projects. In 2010, construction began on the Uptown project in University Circle. The project added housing, retail, restaurants, and a new Museum of Contemporary Art along Euclid Avenue in University Circle . It was funded by a combination of loans from traditional lenders, the Cleveland Foundation and Gund Foundation , and the city of Cleveland. This area was furthered boosted by the opening of the bus-rapid transit HealthLine (originally called the Euclid Corridor transit line), which began service two years prior. The Healthline ran along EUCLID AVENUE, connecting PUBLIC SQUARE downtown, with the Cleveland Clinic , University Circle, and East Cleveland . In 2012, Mayor Jackson strongly supported a 15 million dollar public school levy, financed through a property tax increase that voters approved in November.

In 2013, the downtown Global Center for Health Innovation (also known as the Medical Mart) and new convention center opened. The project had been approved by county commissioners in 2007. As of 2014, designs to develop the downtown lakefront and Public Square were also near completion and were beginning to garner the necessary funding.

Despite political party differences and adamantly opposing Governor John Kasich's support of prohibiting state employees from collectively bargaining, Mayor Jackson has been known to have a good relationship with the governor, as well as the new county government.

In 2013, Mayor Frank Jackson was re-elected over businessman Kenneth A. Lanci 38,834 (66.06 percent) to 19,952 (33.94 percent).