Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson on His New Puppy, an American Bulldog

click to enlarge Frank Jackson (5/4/2020). - Cleveland City Hall Facebook Live Video
Cleveland City Hall Facebook Live Video
Frank Jackson (5/4/2020).

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson noted, in introductory remarks before a tele town hall event Wednesday night, that if participants heard barking in the background, that was his just new puppy "in his little cage."

Jackson left the event shortly before it concluded due to a medical emergency at his home, but he answered a number of questions related to public safety and the coronavirus vaccine, including how the city might spend an expected infusion of federal dollars.

His answers to questions about the vaccine left many on social media frustrated. While he said that scientists recommended the vaccine, and noted that when more people got it, more people would be able to withstand the virus, he also stressed that the vaccine was "voluntary" and "not mandatory." 

"The science says you can [trust it]," Jackson said, "but there is some skepticism, and people have to make that choice."

The guarded messaging was a missed opportunity. At the launch of the Wolstein Center mass vaccination site last week, both Gov. Mike DeWine and FEMA regional director Kevin Sly said that, particularly for people of color, personal endorsements were even more valuable than scientific ones. 

"[The vaccine] is the number-one priority for people of color and for all Ohioans," Sly said. "It is imperative that you all get the shot, especially those communities that have been hit the hardest with Covid-19.”

But Jackson, who conducted the event from his home, was most animated when he was asked about his puppy.

"It's an American Bulldog," he responded to a questioner who asked what kind of dog he had. "I've had one before. They're a good breed. They are of course aggressive, but they're not vicious animals. They're very athletic, and the more you work it out, the more it wants to work out. It takes some management and some physical activity and exercise. It's a task-oriented animal. It needs something to do all the time, but it's a good dog, about 10 weeks old."

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