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Mayor Jackson on relationship with Cleveland media: ‘I have a problem with bull***t’

In a news conference held one day after the longtime mayor announced he won’t seek re-election, Jackson defended his administration against perceptions of its lack of transparency
Updated: May. 7, 2021 at 9:46 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Just one day after announcing he would not seek a fifth term as Cleveland mayor, Frank Jackson held a series of rare press interviews in which he discarded the notion that his administration has not been open and transparent with the media.

In an open, albeit virtual, press conference, members of the local media grilled Jackson for several minutes about his decision to get out of the political arena when his term expires at the end of the year.

Due to the nature of the briefing, reporters were instructed to submit written questions which were relayed to the mayor by an aide who read them off-camera.

Toward the end of the event, after far more serious and pressing matters were addressed, 19 News asked a tongue-and-cheek question about the relationship between the mayor and the press.

“Be honest,” reporter Jim Nelson prefaced, prompting an interruption from Jackson.

“Hold on a second now because I think I’m always honest,” he said before the staffer finished the question.

“Will you miss answering our questions?” she said, reading the conclusion of the question submitted by 19 News.

“I ain’t never not answered your questions, now there are certain areas I won’t allow you to tread on and one of them is my family. That’s for sure,” Jackson replied. “Now in all honesty, and I’d hope you’d be honest also, I have a problem with bulls**t.”

Minutes earlier, 19 News asked the mayor if his decision to step aside was at all related to criticism he’s received over his troubled grandson, Frank Q. Jackson, who has landed in court multiple times in recent years.

Earlier in the week, two national news outlets published stories that were critical of the mayor.

“Cleveland mayor allegedly uses status to protect gang member grandson,” the New York Post wrote in its headline to a story published on May 3rd.

“I don’t talk about my grandkids and my considered for me running had nothing to do with that,” Jackson said in response to a question by 19 News.

He reiterated his comments from the prior evening when he said the decision was made because it was simply time to leave.

As for what’s next, Jackson vowed to keep working the taxpayers of Cleveland through the end of the year.

A crowded primary will be held in September, with the top two candidates advancing to the general election in November.

Jackson said he is not ready to endorse anyone, but will be monitoring the campaign.

“Particularly if I believe the conversation and debate that’s occurring among the candidates ... is [not] relevant to the wellbeing of Cleveland,” he explained.

Jackson has served nearly 16 years as mayor, first taking office in 2005 after several years as a city councilman.

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