SHARECOMMENTMORE

CLEVELAND -- There's always abuildup for the City Club of Cleveland mayoral debate.

And while the contest between Mayor Frank Jackson and challenger Ken Lanci did not produce any game-changing moments, it did deliver some passion and apparent dislike between the two candidates.

It took a while for things to heat up. Both candidates heavily relied on scripts for opening remarks.

But later things got more personal.

Jackson portrayed Lanci as an outsider, a wealthy suburban businessman, who only recently moved back to the city of his birth.

Jackson said many of Lanci's plans to help single-parent families and underachieving students were insulting and intended to make Lanci feel good.

"You've just decided to move back to Cleveland because you feelyou have a burden. ... This condescension and disrespect, it has a tone of disdain. I tell you, you cannot serve those you disdain," he said.

Lanci portrayed Jackson as a lifelong under-accomplishing politician seeking to continue a record of mediocrity.

"Thirty-seven years as a politician. How has that worked for the city? How has that worked out with a still-failing school system and another promise that we're going to fix it?" Lanci said.

Lanci raised some eyebrows explaining his proposal to mentor seventh-grade students by recruiting motorcycle club members to steer them away from gangs by forming boxing teams.

"I've asked some of the motorcycle clubs to help mentor these kids, to give them something to belong to other than being a gang-banger," he said.

Lanci repeated his view that Police Chief Mike McGrath and Safety Director Marty Flask should be fired. That's the view of the police union, which is endorsing Lanci.

Mayor Jackson continued to smolder over Attorney General Mike DeWine's statement that the chaotic November police chase that ended in the shooting of two unarmed suspects showed a department's systemic problems.

Jackson said, "The systemic failure was with the attorney general's office for denying civil rights to two victims. ... I haven't heard you (Lanci) talk about them."

Lanci claimed his wealth would guarantee he would work for residents because he would not need campaign contributions from those expecting favors.

"The residents need our help. Their quality of life is what we're fighting for," he said.

Jackson said his living with his family in one of Cleveland's dangerous neighborhoods is continuing proof of his commitment.

"This stuff is painful, because I live it everyday. And it's painful when my wife and children and grandchildren ... deal with this on a daily basis. ... The people of CLeveland know one thing, I care about them," he said.

Most observers thought there were no gaffes or knockout punches likely to change the perception that Mayor Jackson remains the overwhelming favorite to win a third term.

The election isin 46 days.

SHARECOMMENTMORE