Dennis Kucinich waited almost the last minute to officially announce his campaign to become Mayor of Cleveland again. Assured that his name recognition among voters was far better than that of other candidates, Kucinich contented himself with speaking about some Cleveland issues like the West Side Market as a well-known private citizen as rumors swirled, believing that there was not much to be gained by officially declaring and giving his opponents time to start probing the most sensitive areas of his CV (work of Fox News, defense of Bashar Al-Assad in Syria) .
Those first days of calm are over.
His official announcement, which came in front of one of the Cleveland script boards in Tremont and was generally a bit awkward, led to the promise that his No.1 issue was security.
From the cover of Scene that day:
On this subject, Kucinich’s position was nuanced, striking a balance between pro and anti-police factions at the local level. We must support the police officers who risk their lives every day on the one hand, he said, but âinterrogate the police and take appropriate disciplinary actionâ when they violate internal rules or violate civil rights.
Kucinich said moping by current leaders about violence was not a solution. Action is required. He pledged to hire 400 new police officers and 100 new police assistants to be more responsive to crime. He also wants to create a “Department of Civic Peace” and launch a non-violence program in Cleveland schools – a variation of a proposal he envisioned 20 years ago in Congress – which he says will would address all forms of violence in Cleveland.
Kucinich spoke at length in a recent municipal criminal justice-focused forum about his ideas, which besides the Department of Civic Peace overlap here and there with other candidates, many of whom said public safety was also l one of their main concerns.
None of them, however, took the step that Dennis and his campaign took this morning with a pretty visceral (some would say tacky) direct mail that shows a bullet-riddled, blood-dripping Cleveland script sign. .
The reverse side reads “Cleveland Neighborhoods Besieged With Crime” with a mishmash of recent crime statistics and a claim that people in Cleveland are afraid to walk the streets or shop.
The reaction, as one might expect, was not overwhelming, but it was Kucinich’s own campaign that blew up the mail and background information with quotes to reporters this morning (Subject line: Disturbing ), and she, as you might expect, is pretty happy with the way it’s going. .
This morning’s press release included quotes from Dennis that punctuated their talking points:
“The image is disturbing,” Kucinich admitted, “but the fear, apprehension and anxiety felt by the Clevelanders in neighborhoods across town is far more than worrying.”
âAnd city officials and candidates who are not paying attention and ignoring this crisis do not understand what is going on or what to do about it. Anything else that is positive we want to do in this city depends first and foremost on making Cleveland a safer city, âsaid Kucinich.
And later, Kucinich told Ideastream Public Media:
âIt’s one thing to watch social media, which is always worth considering, but the townspeople face a reality far more shocking than this image,â Kucinich said.
Justin Bibb has so far been the only mayoral candidate to address Kucinich’s mail, tweeting “Clevelanders won’t be fooled by this scare campaign.”
It is the worst kind of politics – it is dangerous, divisive and damaging. The Clevelanders won’t be fooled by this scare campaign. https://t.co/y9HVVvjyNw
– Justin Bibb for Mayor (@BibbForCLE) July 2, 2021
The mayors’ summer season is off to a good start.
Meanwhile, Destination Cleveland, who were also not thrilled with the mail, took a positive look at the day with a bit of shade for Dennis to boot.
The CLEVELANDÂ® writing is a precious emblem of our city and its inhabitants. It has become a symbol of immense pride for the Cleveland community. This July 4th weekend, consider visiting one of the six signage locations around Cleveland to celebrate your love for our city. #ThisisCLE pic.twitter.com/6tga8n2ZpD
– DestinationCleveland (@TheCLE) July 2, 2021