Cleveland promoter Alonzo Mitchell III, who is still most widely known for his short-lived "Ohio Homecoming" New Year's Eve celebrations
, has announced that he will run for Cleveland City Council.
In a Facebook Live video Monday night, Mitchell succinctly declared that Cleveland was in desperate need of new leadership. He has been encouraging civic engagement, particularly among young people, for years, and in the past several months has helped organize seminars for those who wish to run for office. But now:
"I have to be the change I wish to see," he said, paraphrasing Gandhi.
He is collecting signatures, he said, for the Ward 6 council seat. Ward 6 is on the city's east side
, and spans the Little Italy, Fairfax, Buckeye-Shaker and Mount Pleasant neighborhoods.
Mitchell has kept a fairly low profile since an embarrassing moment in 2015
when he announced on Facebook that he'd been asked to select a restaurant in Cleveland to have dinner with President Barack Obama. The announcement turned out to be a publicity stunt.
But his rhetoric hasn't changed much. In fact, his comments then served as a teaser for his announcement Monday.
"I believe that WE are who the President and local leadership should be meeting with - the young, motivated, entrepreneurial - the future!" Mitchell wrote in a post admitting that his White House invitation had been a fiction. "Amidst corruption, systematic deficiencies in public safety, a poor economy, and educational system - the city is certainly in need of a LIFT. That Lift lies in the next generation. The future greatness of our city lies in US. We Are Running in 2017."
The 72-year-old Mamie Mitchell is currently the councilperson in Ward 6. She is completing the second of two four-year terms and will face at least four challengers
in the September primaries.
Unlike most challengers citywide, Alonzo Mitchell III actually has a website. He has directed supporters to alonzoforthepeople.com
, and suggested that he hopes to to raise $30,000 for his campaign.