A Loss for Words

DEAR MAYOR FRANK JACKSON:

Do you have a MySpace? Or maybe a number I can text you at? I’ve been trying to get a hold of you the old-fashioned way for a few weeks, but I can’t get a callback.

I wanted to talk to you about Slavic Village (see page 154). It’s a good neighborhood that is in trouble. Your press secretary, Andrea Taylor, referred me to the city’s Web site, but I had questions for you. How about five minutes on the phone?

Andrea asked why I would feel “entitled” to speak to the mayor. Well, I’m writing a story about your city for a magazine named after the city. Lately, a child and several elderly people have been killed in Slavic Village. Need me to keep going? She said something about how the media treats you unfairly and that you talk to everyday Clevelanders all the time.

So I get it: You don’t like the press.

But here’s the thing. I saw you at the downtown YMCA after a workout. I had on a T-shirt and shorts. I looked like any other guy who lives in Cleveland, because that’s who I am. We’ve never been introduced. I said “Hello Mayor.” You waved your hand in a half wave, half brush-off while scurrying to the door. Since then, it’s happened a few more times at the Y.

If you won’t talk to a sweaty fat guy, who will you talk to? This is Cleveland. Sweaty fat guys have to make up a big percentage of voters. So why won’t you talk to me, Mayor Jackson?

I’m sure there are many others who live in this city who would like you to return their calls, too. My office number is (216) 377-3709. If you’re more of a texter, my cell is (216) 956-6907.

See you at the Y.

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