Frank Jackson has heard the talk that he's finally gone from caretaker mayor to visionary mayor. It bugs him.
“I’m no different today than I was then,” Jackson says. “It’s just that people see me different, because they’re looking at these things, and they say, ‘Oh, the mayor has come up with ideas!’ ”
He’s talking about his plans to develop the waterfront and close Public Square to traffic, creating a single park. They capped a good 2011 for Jackson, when a lot of people around town thought he stepped up more as a leader.
That helped make Jackson #4 on this year's Power 100 list, published by Cleveland Magazine's sister publication, Inside Business. That's up from #7 last year.
Some of the buzz about Jackson's vision is premature. His highly touted lakefront plan has very little money behind it and is best understood as a marketing move to try to attract private developers. But progress with the Rock Hall induction, sustainability, and downtown jobs have the mayor feeling confident.
“I know people have talked about, ‘Why doesn’t the mayor use the bully pulpit more?’ ” Those critics, Jackson says slyly, “were critical because they thought I ought to use it for them.
“But I do use it for the schools. I do use it for the lakefront, for the square. I do use it for sustainability. And I guess the bully pulpit of the mayor’s office in those areas wasn’t considered as relevant. But now it seems to be.
“Because I must be a new person, they tell me. I must be a new person.”
You can read my article about Jackson here and in the January-February issue of Inside Business. You can see who else made the Power 100 list here.