The young and unknown nonprofit executive, turned serious contender
Cleveland's Ward 7 councilman hopes to be next mayor
Quiet, thoughtful president of Cleveland City Council ready for 'most important municipal election'
'America's Boy Mayor' takes another run at old job more than 40 years later
Former councilman is back for another attempt to become the mayor of Cleveland
Ohio state senator is vying to become Cleveland's first female African American mayor
Crime and Safety
Cleveland's mayoral candidates talk police reform, mini-stations, illegal dirt bikes, and more
Cleveland's mayoral candidates talk about city's financial health amid COVID-19, the digital divide, and future of Progressive Field
Cleveland's mayoral candidates answer rapid-fire questions
In just a few months, the city of Cleveland will have a new mayor as voters hit the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 2. The election will determine which of the seven candidates will take charge as Mayor Frank Jackson exits the role after serving four terms.
All but one candidate -- Ross DiBello -- agreed to meet with 3News at Cleveland Public Theater for a one-on-one interview.
In our new series known as “Leading The Land: Cleveland Mayor’s Race 2021,” we press the candidates on key issues from crime and safety to the city’s economic recovery. To highlight their lighter side, we also questioned them about all things Cleveland, from their favorite park to their favorite mayor.
You can watch their full unedited interviews by exploring the chapters below (each candidate is listed alphabetically by their last name). A comparison of their answers will air in a three-part series on What’s Next on Channel 3 at 11 p.m. beginning Monday.
Justin Bibb: The young and unknown nonprofit executive, turned serious contender
Nine months ago, if you had asked many Clevelanders who Justin Bibb was, you might have gotten a response such as, “is he related to Leon Bibb?” Actually, he is a distant relative of our 3News senior commentator, but Justin Bibb is making a name in his own right, rising up from 34-year-old non-profit executive to serious contender to be Cleveland’s next mayor.
Watch our exclusive one-on-one interview with Bibb below:
To put his age into perspective, Bibb was not alive when Dennis Kucinich last held the office of Cleveland mayor. He has used his youth in campaigning with the message that he represents a new generation of leadership and vision for the city.
“We have a culture of complacency in this city. It’s a cancer on our community right now. And it’s that lack of urgency that has gotten us to this point,” Bibb told 3News’ Mark Naymik in their conversation.
Bibb earned a law degree and MBA and works for the Spokane, WA., based nonprofit Urbanova, which helps cities and others employ smart technology to be more efficient. He sits on local boards, including the Regional Transit Authority’s.
Bibb has gained several key endorsements along the way, including from The Plain Dealer/Cleveland.com, as well as from former Cleveland Mayor Michael White.
“I say to those who say that 'Justin isn't this' or 'Justin isn't that,' take a second look," White said during his endorsement of Bibb. "Take a second look, and I'll tell you what you're going to see: A smart, hard-working, committed individual who did what we asked him to do."
As far as current issues are concerned, Bibb told Naymik that his top way to reform police will be to execute the civilian review board which will give more oversight of the police. Voters in Cleveland will decide on the ballot initiative in November. “The prerequisite to having safe and secure neighborhoods all across our city is re-establishing that trust between residents and the police,” he said.
Bibb also understands the importance of revitalizing Cleveland’s economy, especially given the current pandemic. “We have a ‘moon shot’ moment with the relief funds we’re getting from President Biden, over $511 million. If I’m mayor, I want to leverage that investment to a couple billion to make sure we can have capital we need to better invest in our neighborhoods.”
The conversation between Bibb and Naymik also focused on how to lift up the education of Cleveland’s students. The digital divide became noticeable during the pandemic as many of the city’s children did not have access to the necessary technology for online learning. Bibb believes the problem runs deeper than that.
“Many of our children were suffering due to the achievement gap even before COVID-19. It was only exacerbated during the pandemic. One thing I want to explore is maybe year-round school and year-round high-dosage mentoring for our children in the next academic year to make sure they can get caught up,” Bibb said. “What we also learned during the pandemic is that the nature of work has changed. We must make sure we are repositioning the Cleveland Metropolitan School District to get ahead of this curve. I want to encourage and support every junior and senior in CMSD high schools to have a year-long apprenticeship or internship program so we can have a straight-to-work pathway for every child inside Cleveland Public Schools.”
If Bibb is elected mayor of Cleveland, what would the city look like four years from now?
“Growing population. Regardless of whether you’re on the east side or west side, you have access to quality parks, access to affordable public transit, and access to a good paying job. Lastly, a different character and a different swag to our own narrative as a city. We’ve got to get out of this defeatist mindset and I think we need a mayor who is going to give our residents a sense of pride, a sense of hope, and a sense of optimism. I believe I’m the right leader for the right time in order to deliver on that promise,” Bibb told Naymik.
Basheer Jones: Cleveland's Ward 7 councilman hopes to be next mayor
Basheer Jones’ journey to being a candidate for mayor of Cleveland began in Brooklyn, New York, where he was born. His family moved to Cleveland when he was a child. Jones graduated Cum Laude in 2006 from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Ga., earning a degree in African-American studies.
Watch our one-on-one interview with Jones below:
Jones was elected to Cleveland City Council in 2017 and has built up a sizeable local and national following. Besides campaigning for former President Obama, he also had a career in talk radio and was a guest on networks such as CNN and MSNBC. His unique advocacy has also made headlines, such as when he slept outside in a tent for two days back in 2018 to raise awareness of rising violent crime in the city.
In a conversation with 3News’ Mark Naymik, Jones talked about how he wants to make the residents of Cleveland feel safer. “As mayor, you’re going to see me on the streets. You’re going to see me walking the beat. You’re going to see me in classrooms. You’re going to see me bringing city services to the people. For the police, you’re going to have a champion mayor, who’s not just going to criticize, but also make sure you have high-quality equipment to allow you to do your job. I think we have handcuffed the police here, as a result of that, over 100 positions within the Cleveland Police Department have been unfilled. So we realize that people don’t want to come and serve in Cleveland, as a result of that, Cleveland continues to be one of the most dangerous cities in the nation,” he said.
Jones serves on several committees as a member of Council. He is vice chair of the Health & Human Services Committee, while also sitting on Development Planning & Sustainability, Safety and Workforce & Community Benefits. His role in the Safety Committee has allowed him to track the progress of the Consent Decree, the agreement made six years ago between the city of Cleveland and the U.S. Department of Justice to reform the Cleveland Division of Police.
“I’m told we are far, far away from achieving our goal,” Jones told Naymik. “This consent decree, we are spending a lot of money as a city, but we are not getting it. You know why? Because you have to have a mayor that is an ambassador, a champion. As mayor, that’s exactly what I’ll be. We are going to hold police accountable, but at the same time we are going to make sure officers have the best equipment that they need. Not only police, but you have firemen who are living in fire stations that are falling apart. You have EMS workers that are driving vans that are falling apart. We have to be a place where officers want to come and work.”
The city of Cleveland has come under fire for its inability to stop dirt bike operators from riding illegally on the streets. There have been reports that those on the dirt bikes have also been firing gunshots, but Jones is adamant that it’s not the case. “This propaganda that is going out by some of my competitors who are saying these riders are driving around, riding around, shooting guns. This thing is not true. The first thing I want to do, that I’m doing already, is sit down with them and hear their concerns. They’re human beings like everyone else.”
In his conversation with Naymik, Jones also spoke of his vision for a better economy in Cleveland. “We will increase affordable housing here in our city. Next thing is we want to have better technology in regards to city services. The city should not take months for a simple business permit. The city hasn’t been good for residents or for businesses,” he added.
So what should people know about Basheer Jones that they haven’t heard about yet? “Who I am is sincere. What you see is what you get. If I’m wrong, I’ll tell you that I was wrong. I’m open to listening, I’m opening to learning. And most importantly, you can’t lead people if you don’t love them. And I love this city and the people in it. I’m willing to take the risk.”
Kevin Kelley: Quiet, thoughtful president of Cleveland City Council ready for 'most important municipal election'
How important is the decision facing the voters of Cleveland in selecting the city's next mayor? According to Cleveland City Council President (and mayoral candidate) Kevin Kelley, “I happen to believe the 2021 election is the most important municipal election in our lifetime."
Watch our exclusive one-on-one interview with Kelley below:
Hyperbole aside, Kelley enters the race for mayor of Cleveland with an experience in Cleveland politics. He has been a member of Cleveland City Council since 2005, representing several West Side neighborhoods, including Old Brooklyn, in Ward 13.
He became council president in 2014 and has been closely aligned with Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson’s administration. They both fought against a campaign to establish a citywide $15 minimum wage, something they argued would harm the city without a statewide wage increase.
Kelley is quieter – and some say more thoughtful – than past council presidents and has worked to address eviction issues and lead poisoning. He has Jackson’s endorsement.
“I have worked with Kevin for more than 20 years and during this time, he has made hard decisions. Those decisions weren’t always in his own political interest, but they were the right decisions for the people of Cleveland,” said Jackson in his statement endorsing Kelley. “His decisions have helped position Cleveland for the future and are motivated by the need to continue to make our neighborhoods stronger and safer. I am confident that, as Mayor, Kevin Kelley will continue to lead with integrity and put the best interests of Clevelanders first.”
If Kelley were to succeed Jackson as the mayor of Cleveland, how would he handle the important issue of police reform?
"We need to make sure we are staffing the police at the level the council authorized," Kelley told 3News' Sara Shookman. "We need make sure that we fill all of the openings in the specialty units and be giving the police the tools they need to do this very difficult job. We also need to institute wellness for the officers themselves. We're asking officers to respond to 20-30 calls for service in one shift."
The 53-year-old Kelley is a former social worker who says he understands that dealing with people in crisis is "exhausting." The fact that we are so understaffed is putting a strain on specialty units (of the Cleveland Division of Police) and also on the men and women in the zone cars."
Shookman asked Kelley what his priorities would be with the over $500 million in funds available through the American Rescue Plan. He talked about broadband access as a way to tackle the digital divide that is affecting Cleveland's students. "We have to make sure every resident in the city of Cleveland has access to knowledge and opportunity," he said. Kelley also would plan to assist the Greater Cleveland Food Bank with their mission, as well as deal with the ongoing lead paint poisoning problem in the city.
"Another thing I want to do is make the statement that any Clevelander who wants to work, should work, and we need to have a job for them. I want to put together a jobs program that will guarantee that if you want work, there will be a job for you," Kelley added.
Kelley has cut a public image as a partner of Mayor Frank Jackson more than his watchdog. How will he be different from Cleveland's four-term mayor and not be "Frank Jackson 2.0?"
"Look back to the bold, progressive actions the city has taken in the recent past. I would suggest those came out of the council under my leadership. I'm very proud of my record as council president," Kelley told Shookman. "We've had a great council with a great relationship and I'm happy to have worked with the mayor on a lot of big initiatives."
Dennis Kucinich: 'America's Boy Mayor' takes another run at old job more than 40 years later
Who says you can’t go home again? Not Dennis Kucinich. Nearly 42 years after last serving as the mayor of Cleveland, Dennis Kucinich is back for another shot at his old job at City Hall.
Watch our one-on-one interview with Kucinich below:
Elected mayor in 1977 at age 31, Dennis Kucinich became the youngest person to lead a major American city, earning him the nickname “Boy Mayor.” But his two-year tenure was messy, most notably allowing Cleveland to go into default when he refused to sell the city-owned power company, Muny Light, to the Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company (CEI) to help clear city debts.
Kucinich went on to become an eight-term member of the U.S. House of Representatives and a two-time presidential candidate. Now at age 74, he is looking to come full circle with a bid for mayor of Cleveland.
When he looks at the current state of the city, Kucinich is focusing on police reform and ways to curb the crime that has made Cleveland one of the most violent cities in the nation. He believes it starts with getting reinforcements to the Cleveland Division of Police.
“I’m going to make sure there are enough police to do their job,” Kucinich told 3News’ Mark Naymik in an interview. “And there aren’t. The first reform is funding. The city has been hoarding money. It’s sitting on over $80 million in funds that could be used to hire more police. And why they’re not doing it, why they haven’t done it is beyond me. But when I take office, that changes.”
Throughout his campaign, Kucinich has been adamant that police must be allowed to pursue violent criminal offenders. “Right now, police are being told to stand down at many critical points and that’s not right. We ask people to be in law enforcement so they can enforce the law. When a crime is being committed, they shouldn’t be told where they can’t enforce the law,” he said.
He also believes that the city and police need to take a firmer stand on the problem of illegal dirt bike riding in Cleveland. “When I’m elected, that ends. I intend to crack down on all of those gangs who feel they have the right to take over neighborhoods, to take over parks, to take over streets, to bring a form of lawlessness to this community,” Kucinich told Naymik.
Away from crime and police reform, Kucinich was asked how he plans to lead the city back economically from the COVID-19 pandemic. “I don’t think we can talk in terms of a quote ‘recovery’ from the pandemic because it’s quite possible that we may have this challenge of the COVID virus or variants of it for a long time,” he responded. “We want to make sure we use the surplus funds and some of the American Rescue Act money for protecting our neighborhoods.”
Kucinich says one of the first city departments that he will overhaul is the mayor's office. “They have people falling over each other trying to figure out what they do. I’m going to reorganize the mayor’s office and the cabinet. I have a plan right here [he waves organizational chart around from city budget] -- just in case I was asked," he told Naymik.
How would he feel about returning to Cleveland City Hall after more than 40 years? "I put my life on the line," Kucinich responded. "You know, there was corporate espionage and sabotage. A mob directed assassination plot, which Channel 3, by the way, uncovered. And am I older and wiser. Yeah. But am still willing to take a stand for the people."
Zack Reed: Former councilman is back for another attempt to become the mayor of Cleveland
Four years after losing his bid to become Cleveland's mayor, Zack Reed is back for another run. He sounds much like he did in his last campaign, talking largely about crime and safety.
Watch our exclusive one-on-one interview with Reed below:
“My job, our job, the government’s job is to provide safety. So, we’ve got to do whatever we can to ensure that we provide safe streets, safe neighborhoods," Reed told Sara Shookman in their conversation.
The 60-year-old Reed has worked in local and state government for over 35 years. He was appointed to the Civilian Conservation Corps in the Ohio Department of Natural Resources from 1985 until 1996. He became a Cleveland City Council member in 2001 and served until 2017.
After losing his bid to become mayor of Cleveland, Reed became the Minority Affairs Coordinator for Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, working to hear the needs of the minority business community and combating foreign misinformation that was targeting the minority community.
Reed was asked what single most important step he would take to address the growing violent crime in Cleveland as mayor. "We're going to start to look at it from a different lens. For far too long we've looked at things from one lens, the criminal justice lens. We need to start looking at it from a public health lens. This is a public health problem. The leading cause of death for African-American males age 18-24 is homicide. For 10 straight years, the city of Cleveland has had at least 100 homicides. 75 to 80 percent of those homicides are young, Black men," Reed began. "Let's try a different approach. That's why you have to have a mayor that's visible, that's out there, that has street cred, that's able to ask 'what do you need?'"
Illegal dirt bike riding has become a symbol of the lawlessness in Cleveland. Reed addressed the controversial issue, while blasting opponent Kevin Kelley for supporting Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson’s 2017 proposal to build a dirt bike track in the city to provide an alternative to riding in the street.
“They don’t want to go riding around on some tracks," Reed said of the dirt bike operators. "They want to be out there on the street. They want to see the girls out there howling and streaming while they are doing their wheelies.”
Shookman and Reed discussed whether Cleveland has a systemic race problem. "We've always had it. This is nothing new. We have to come to the realization that that's a river (Cuyahoga) out there, not a wall. For too long, people on the east side have been afraid to go west and the people on the west side are afraid to go east. A person that got shot on the east side should affect the west side. A person that gets harmed downtown, everybody in the city should feel that. We've got to all come together to believe that that problem is our problem. Your problem is my problem. And we're going to solve it together."
Reed was also asked about his past issues with alcohol. He has been convicted of driving while under the influence three times, most recently in 2013.
“I'm in a good place right now. It’s been a tough road along the way, but it's been a successful road along the way," he explained. And I would say since my last DUI, I’ve got re-elected. I’ve held the job as a minority affairs coordinator for the Secretary of State. So I’m doing well at this particular time.”
Sandra Williams: Ohio state senator is vying to become Cleveland's first female African American mayor
After more than 14 years in the Ohio legislature, first in the House of Representatives, and now as an Ohio Senator, Sandra Williams believes she is the most experienced and accomplished of all of her fellow mayoral candidates.
Watch our exclusive one-on-one interview with Williams below:
The 52-year-old Williams has also worked as a corrections officer, probation and parole officer, and mediator for the State of Ohio. She was a member of the United States Army Reserve until 1995. Now she has her sights set on Cleveland City Hall.
“You should vote for me because I am the most qualified experienced candidate for mayor that has delivered for Cleveland in multiple ways, policies, money and everything else," Williams told 3News' Sara Shookman in their conversation. "And I’m the only person with a track record of success and a person who can go down to Columbus, have doors open for me, talk to the state about what we need to continue to move Cleveland forward. I am the only candidate in my opinion.”
To help police reform in Cleveland, Williams says she would look to adopt the PIVOT Program that was used previously in Cincinnati. PIVOT was developed to address small areas where violence has been chronic and sustained, with a strategy that focuses on identifying place networks that facilitate violence. "This is a very targeted, long-term approach, but in Cincinnati it reduced violent crime by 68 percent," Williams explained.
Williams is also an advocate of bringing back neighborhood 'mini' police stations in Cleveland, recalling the joys she had as a child getting to know officers before she went into law enforcement. "I want people to feel comfortable in their neighborhoods. Many residents of Cleveland just do not feel safe in their community."
Asked how she would help get students in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District caught up after losing so much instruction during the pandemic, Williams believes that year-round schools would be the right approach. "I really think that is what we should be doing in the city of Cleveland. Even without the pandemic, when you are off school for three months, you are losing so much educationally. We need to have more intensive programs within the community where students can actually walk or get to, with a targeted approach, working with the children based on their needs," she explained.
Williams was asked by Shookman to discuss her role in House Bill 6, which provided a bailout to two of the state's nuclear power plants, but was also at the center of what has been referred to as "the largest bribery case ever in Ohio." Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and four others were arrested for their roles in the scheme, in which FirstEnergy allegedly paid the defendants $60 million, which they used to promote Householder, pass House Bill 6, and defeat a ballot initiative to overturn the legislation.
Williams was the lone Democrat in the Ohio Senate to co-sponsor HB6. And although she has not been accused of any wrongdoing, the bill clearly has been tainted.
"I voted for HB6 to save jobs," Williams stated. "The voters in the city of Cleveland should know that I always have their best interests in mind. I would not do anything to harm them. And if that bill hadn't saved jobs, saved our nuclear plants, and given a renewable portfolio standard, then I wouldn't have voted for it."
Crime and Safety: Cleveland's mayoral candidates talk police reform, mini-stations, illegal dirt bikes, and more
Crime and safety are at the center of debate in this year’s race for mayor. In the first installment of Leading the Land: The Cleveland Mayor’s Race 2021, Sara Shookman and Mark Naymik sit down with six major candidates to talk about everything from police reform, staffing, mini-stations, and illegal dirt bike riders. All but one candidate, Ross DiBello, agreed to meet us at Cleveland Public Theater for a one-on-one interview.
Our first question: “What is the most important police reform you will pursue as mayor?”
Dennis Kucinich: “The first reform is funding. The city has been hording money. It’s sitting on $80 million in fund that could be used to hire more police.”
Justin Bibb: “For me it’s going to be executing the civilian oversight review board that’s going to be on the ballot this November. The prerequisite to having safe and secure neighborhoods across our city is re-establishing that trust between residents and the police.”
Zack Reed: “Accountability. Period.”
Kevin Kelley: “We need to make sure that we are giving the tools and support they need to do this very difficult job.”
Basheer Jones: “We are going to hold police accountable. But at the same time, we are going to make sure that officers have the best equipment that they need, not only police, but you have firemen who are living in fire stations that are falling apart.”
Next question: “Neighborhood police mini-stations. Would you bring them back?”
Sandra Williams: “When I was a child, we had neighborhood police stations. And that’s how I first met police officers. They were walking the beat or citing in their offices. Yes, the neighborhood stations would be back.”
Dennis Kucinich: “I’ll bring that back. I mean, it’s not about just a place for police to sit. They’ll be walking the streets.”
Kevin Kelley: “Oh, that’s my goal. That is part of my plan. Foot patrols, bike patrols, community relations committee, community service unit and just making sure that we fully understand all the uniqueness of every Cleveland neighborhood.”
Basheer Jones: “You are going to see me walking the beat itself. You are going to see me in classrooms. You’re going to see me bringing city services to the people. And I think also for the police, you going to have a champion mayor who’s not just going to criticize but also going make sure that you have high quality equipment to be able to do your job.”
Lastly on crime and safety: Illegal dirt bike riders have not only become a symbol of lawlessness, but there is a legitimate safety issue that comes along with these riders. How do you plan to address this issue?
Dennis Kucinich “When I’m elected mayor, that ends. I intend to crack down on all of those gangs who feel they have the right to take over neighborhoods, to take over parks, to take over streets, to bring a form of lawlessness to this community.”
Basheer Jones: “The propaganda that is going out by some of my competitors who are saying that these riders are driving and riding around, shooting guns. And this thing is not true. The first thing I’m going to do is sit down with them and hear their concerns. Now, we won’t tolerate the doughnuts in the middle of the street.”
Sandra Williams: “License them. Like you have to every other vehicle on the street, if you drive a car or truck, you have to have to be licensed and regulate them on the state level as well as the city level.”
Zack Reed: “When you look at a Kelley-Jackson administration, which has gone along with these dirt bike riders, appease these riders. The fact that we were going to build a $2.3 million dirt bike track, which you know, I voted against. When you do those type of things, then they say it’s okay. Everything all right? Everything’s not cool. But it’s not alright.”
Kevin Kelley: “We need to involve the community to where they see them. And then we just really have to make sure that when there’s a call that it becomes a priority call that these dirt bikes are at a certain intersection, they’re gassing up and they are fueling. We need to make sure that the police respond quickly.”
Justin Bibb: “I believe you need a special unit inside of our police department to track down and crack down on these ATVs.”
Economic Recovery: Cleveland's mayoral candidates talk about city's financial health amid COVID-19, the digital divide, and future of Progressive Field
In part 2 of our series, "Leading the Land," the candidates turn to Cleveland’s financial health amid COVID-19, how they’ll close the digital divide, and the sticky issue of renovating Progressive Field.
First up: What’s the first thing you are going to do as mayor to help the city recover from this pandemic?
Kevin Kelley: “If you look at who has really been hurt by COVID, it’s been restaurant operators, street level retail, hospitality industry. We need to make sure, though using American Recovery Act dollars that we support that base of the economy.”
Dennis Kucinich: “I don’t think we can talk in terms of quote recovery from the pandemic because it’s quite possible that we may have this challenge of Covid virus or variant of it with us for a long time.”
Justin Bibb: “Well we have a moonshot moment, an opportunity right now with the relief fund we’re getting from President Biden, over $511 million. You know, if I’m mayor, I want to leverage that investment to a couple billion to make sure that we can have the capital we need to better invest in our neighborhoods.”
Zack Reed: “I take the $500 million that we have and I’m giving it to work with small businesses. Small businesses are the lifeline of our community.”
Basheer Jones: “You know, Mark, you are my favorite”
Mark Naymik: “Yeah, everybody says that about me, so somebody wants something.”
Sandra Williams: “The first thing I would do if half of the $511 million is left over would be to number one, help small business, make sure that they are stable in our community. I was able to just recently bring home $350 million to help clean up our vacant contaminated properties all throughout the city of Cleveland. I would love to create job hubs on those sites to attract businesses.”
Next up: “What else would be your priority with that $500 million?
Basheer Jones: “We will increase affordable housing here in our city. The next thing is we want to have better technology in regards of city services. The city should not take months for a simple business permit. The city has not been good for residents or businesses.”
Kevin Kelley: “So broadband is going to be a place to start”
Dennis Kucinich: “We want to make sure that we use the surplus funds and some of the American Rescue Act money for protecting our neighborhoods.”
Justin Bibb: “Obviously, this Digital divide is a major issue and Council leadership, and mayor missed an opportunity nearly five years ago to take swift action to eradicate the digital divide.”
About Progressive Field: Do you support public funding of the proposed renovation of Progressive Field? Why or Why Not?
Zack Reed: “Oh, yeah. I definitely do. We own it.”
Kevin Kelley: “I think it is critical that we keep the Guardians in the city of Cleveland. I want to keep the team because Progressive Field has been very good for the city of Cleveland financially.”
Sandra Williams: “Yes. I would support that proposal. If you look at the economic benefit that we will get from the investment in the Guardians Field, that’s about $3.2 billion.”
Justin Bibb: “Well, it is great economic and civic asset. The public has not been involved in these discussions yet. Even City Council found out at the last minute and that jus screams to me as a lack of transparency.”
Dennis Kucinich “I am the quintessential Cleveland Indians fan. You may not know this but in 1964, I was first runner up in the Cleveland Indians batboy contest. Wait a minute. I want to go back to this. Okay. Right. No, the lease is a black box. We don’t know what’s in it.”
Lightning Round: Cleveland's mayoral candidates answer rapid-fire questions
This is the third and final installment of our series, "Leading the Land," featuring a look at the six candidates in the race for mayor of Cleveland. In this final segment, Sara Shookman and Mark Naymik go rapid fire with the hopefuls, so you can get to know them better. All but one candidate, Ross DiBello, agreed to meet us at Cleveland Public Theater for a one-on-one interview.
First up: What's your favorite city park?
Justin Bibb: "Got to be Selma George Park. That's where I learned how to play ball like a man back in the day."
Basheer Jones: "You know, of course, The Fanny Lewis Park, right in Ward Seven. But I've been enjoying Lincoln Park."
Dennis Kucinich: "Oh, the Worthington Park. It's behind the First District. Okay, my wife and I walk there all the time. We love it."
Sandra Williams: "I would say Woodhill Park. It's my favorite because it was the closest to me. But then can I add a second one?"
Kevin Kelley: "Loew Park."
Zack Reed: "Luke Easter Park."
Next question: Who's been the best mayor of your lifetime?
Justin Bibb: "Man, that's a great one. Mike White."
Zack Reed: "You got to give me two on that one. George Voinovich and Michael R. White"
Basheer Jones: "Well, Jackson has been here for 16 years. I don't want to say that one."
Dennis Kucinich: "Carl Stokes. No question about it."
Basheer Jones: "I would probably say Mike White. I would say Mike White."
Sandra WilliamsL "I would say early on Mayor Jackson's administration, but I did like some of the policies Mike White put in place, but I really don't know."
Kevin Kelley: "Frank Jackson."
Question 3: Burke Lakefront Airport. Keep it open or close it?
Dennis Kucinich: "Build the most beautiful park right there."
Justin Bibb: "Close it."
Kevin Kelley: "That is something where an irresponsible politician will say close it."
Sandra Williams: I want to make it the best lakefront available for residents. So do I want to close it? I don't know if I want to close Burke Lakefront Airport or have a park built there and still keep it open."
Basheer Jones: "The experts say there 's no way that we can close it right now at the moment."
Who is your favorite: Cleveland Indians, Cavs or Browns?
Basheer Jones: "Who's your favorite. Browns, man? The Browns. I'm a Browns guy. Now, when LeBron was here …"
Dennis Kucinich: "Well, some of my friends like the Indians and some of my friends like the Browns. And some of my friends like the Cavs. I'm for my friends."
Kevin Kelley: "All three."
Sandra Williams: "Cavs."
Justin Bibb: "Browns. Why? I'm just a football guy."
How about this one: Cleveland's corporate community – friend or foe?
Zach Reed: "Friend"
Justin Bibb: "Friend and key partner"
Basheer Jones: "I have higher standards for corporate Cleveland. There's a lot that needs to be changed. A lot to be done."
Kevin Kelley: "Both"
Sandra Williams: "Friend -- at least they were before this campaign."
Dennis Kucinich: "Oh, I'm their new best friend."
Our next-to-last question: "If you could triage City Hall departments right now, which one needs surgery immediately?"
Dennis Kucinich: "The mayor's department. They have people falling over each other trying to figure out what they do. I'm going to reorganize the mayor's office and the cabinet."
Sandra Williams: "Economic development."
Basheer Jones: "Oh, man. Building and housing"
Kevin Kelley: "Department of Health."
Zack Reed: "Building and housing."
And finally: Who is your second choice for mayor?
Dennis Kucinich: "Zach Reed. I think Zack is terrific."
Zack Reed: "I don't have a second choice. There is only one choice. Zack Reed."
Justin Bibb: "I would say State Senator Sandra Williams. Probably I'm biased because we both go to the same church."
Sandra Williams: "I am the only candidate in my opinion.
Kevin Kelley: "I might write in Blaine Griffin."
Basheer Jones: "Oh, man. Basheer, Basheer. I'm the first choice and my second choice."