Perspective: "Don't read anything into it"

10:14 AM, Apr 25, 2013   |    comments
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PERSPECTIVE -- Everybody knew about Ed FitzGerald's big announcement for more than a week.

After months of crisscrossing the state and laying groundwork, he was finally announcing he's running against Governor John Kasich.

The date and time was widely publicized.

He was kicking off his campaign in his hometown of Cleveland. It was his big day and a big media event, guaranteed to lead newscasts and be headline news.

Then about 10:30 Wednesday morning, a surprising e-mail dropped into newsrooms all over Greater Cleveland.

Mayor Frank Jackson and his team investigating the Nov. 29 police chase that preceded the barrage of gunfire that killed two unarmed suspects would finally release their 2 p.m....Wednesday.

Suddenly, two blockbuster stories were butting heads.

At FitzGerald's event, many were buzzing, wondering if there is a backstory. Was Mayor Jackson attempting to undercut or upstage FitzGerald?

And why wouldn't Cleveland's Democratic mayor be part of an event to launch FitzGerald's campaign?

Was there a feud? A tiff? How about a wilder theory, that Mayor Jackson was in cahoots with Governor Kasich?

Well, the word from Mayor Jackson's communications chief Maureen Harper is that it was all an unfortunate coincidence.

"Don't read anything into it," she said.

She claimed the mayor and his team had actually picked this date before the announcement of FitzGerald's date.

But they didn't publicize that until hours before it was scheduled to keep it under wraps.

Those close to both men say FitzGerald and Jackson have a businesslike, but not backslapping, relationship.

Harper claims the police investigation press conference was actually moved back from a 1 p.m. start time so as not to go head-to-head with FitzGerald.

Harper says Mayor Jackson called FitzGerald after the events to make sure there was no misunderstanding, explain the curious timing, and assure him that "it's all good."

Still it seems a little communication, flexibility or courtesy could have avoided a situation that will still have lots of people going ..."Hmmmmmmm."

POSTSCRIPT-After this original column appeared, we got assurances  both men were aware of the conflict ahead of time.  But sources said it was too late to change either event.




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