Thursday, October 3, 2013
Lanci on mayor's race: 'Everybody I know thinks I'm crazy for running'
"Everybody I know thinks I’m crazy, for doing this, for running, for spending the money," says Ken Lanci. "They don’t think I have a chance."
But Lanci, Mayor Frank Jackson's challenger in the Nov. 5 election, thinks the state of Cleveland's neighborhoods gives him a shot at taking over City Hall. The millionaire printing company owner and philanthropist is covering the town with bus and billboard ads proclaiming, "Together we can do better." Some are installed upside-down, to get attention.
Lanci's an eccentric, supremely confident guy. He's livened up an otherwise sleepy election season with his his very orange tan, his very expensive car (a Bentley, personalized license plate "Seraph"), and his curious campaign promises (lake cruise ships, asking bikers such as the Hell's Angels to fund youth boxing).
His critique of the mayor is simple and blunt: Lanci calls Jackson a failure on crime, education and jobs. What's his alternative?
My profile of Lanci, "Million-Dollar Challenger," in the new issue of Cleveland Magazine and online now, digs into why he took on Jackson, his ideas on schools and crime and cops, the near-death experience that inspired his runs for political office, and the ink he shows off to voters. ("So you've never had a mayor with tattoos," he said to a woman in the Lee-Harvard shopping center as he rolled up his sleeve...)