31 July 2009

Dixon Defenders, I Got The Proof, Sheila Don't Care

“If they shoot it out among themselves, that’s all fine and good. . .” – Mayor Sheila Dixon.
As the words came out, while Dixon stood next to Police Commissioner Frederick Bealefeld, I almost couldn’t believe what I heard. Then again, why should I be surprised? Wasn’t the Mayor just finally admitting how she’s really felt all along? A quick scan around the room revealed other looks just as shocked and astonished as the one I must have had. Should we replace B E L I E V E with “Baltimore, it is what it is?”

Over the years I’ve alternated between being an open defender and a harsh critic of Sheila Dixon. At times I’ve felt pride in her accomplishments. Often this has been quickly replaced with shame and embarrassment concerning her actions. First as City Council president, and now as Mayor. There are areas where Dixon deserves applause, but when it comes to leadership within the realm of public safety, Sheila Dixon’s administration is a colossal failure no better than the last. What’s a record decrease if we’re still leading the nation for crime and violence? Nothing to be proud of that’s what. How many American cities can brag about having routine violence on par with Baghdad or Mogodishu (look up the current rates, we're on par)?

Before you fire off your emails complaining about me piling on and not supporting the Mayor, you need to hear me out. I support anyone that expresses genuine concern, and takes concrete, realistic solution based action, in a holistic approach to turn around this filthy, dying, decaying city. It’s not all about downtown. We don’t need a continued, after the fact reaction to things as they happen. What happened on Ashland Street ultimately comes as no surprise to anyone with knowledge of the players involved including the Mayors Council on Criminal Justice. It’s time to stop putting band aids on the bleeding when you know the cut on the surface is just the outlet, not the source. The deep internal hemorrhaging will cause a slow death long before it catches the eye of the public.

We cannot ignore the less well to do neighborhoods and their many social and economic ills that have plagued them in favor of downtown development and preserving the Inner Harbor. The need to keep a tourist friendly safe zone is imperative, but if life for the locals is a living hell, the city’s reputation will continue to precede itself. Remember Madame Mayor, “a killing per day keeps the tourists away.” And they don’t care where it’s happening.

Mayor Sheila Dixon cares about Baltimore, but only so much. Now that five new indictments have been tossed at Ms. Dixon, I expect as a human being, her capacity for care and concern; other than on matters of self preservation and survival; are quite limited. No matter what she says, this is her current priority.

If it ain’t about money . . . Nothing greater expressed the notion of two Baltimore's than Dixon’s statement at Monday’s press conference, regarding the 19 overnight shootings that stretched from Sunday into Monday.

Pardon me, but who are “they” Mayor Dixon? Young black men? High school dropouts? People living below a certain income level in a town where all around the message is clear there is no hope and no bright prospects for the future. Not for them at least, who ever “they” may be. After all, you said you don’t even care if they kill themselves. That tells me in your eyes they’re worthless, and you just don’t care.


Managing Editor A.F. James MacArthur Ph.A.L. has written commentary on politics and other matters since 1991. For most of the last two decades, MacArthur has employed a variety of pen names and has often served as a ghost writer due to conflict of interest issues.



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