Big Fish

Sheila Dixon on Leadership, Crime, and the Power of Forgiveness

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Sheila Dixon has one qualification that her opponents in the Baltimore mayoral race don’t: She’s already done the job. From 2007-2010, Dixon served as the city’s first female mayor. Two years into her term, she was indicted for fraud committed while in office. That case ended with her acquitted on the most serious counts of theft and misconduct while in office, but found guilty for misappropriating gift cards that were intended for poor residents. But after resigning as mayor as part of her plea agreement, Dixon continued to be involved in the city–and last year, she made it clear that she wanted her old job back.

In this crowded field, Dixon, 61, faces the unique challenge of building on her past expertise while also distancing herself from her past mistakes. We spoke with her about what she’s learned in recent years–and how she would govern the city, if given the chance to do so again:

Sum up your life philosophy in one sentence.

Never let a moment pass when you’re not using the talents God gave you to make a difference in the lives of others.

When did you define your most important goals, and what are they?

I’m my best self when I’m active and doing something positive in the community. I have high expectations for myself, my family and the city of Baltimore, as my children Jasmine and Joshua would tell you. Even back when I was a teacher, I saw talented students who were being held back so I would sneak them into a higher-level class so they could be challenged.

State Sen. Catherine Pugh on Community Policing, Property Taxes, and Her Run for Mayor

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Though a native of Pennsylvania, state Sen. Catherine Pugh has been living in Baltimore since 1969, and she’s long since made her mark on the community. She founded Baltimore’s first African American business newspaper in 1979. As a city councilwoman, she pounded the pavement for the first Baltimore Marathon in 2001. As a delegate and state senator she has championed minimum wage increases and marriage equality.

When Pugh ran for mayor of Baltimore last election cycle, she advocated community-oriented policing, lead poisoning awareness, “community-driven” development, and greater recreational opportunities for Baltimore’s youth. She argued for an holistic approach to combating violent crime, police brutality, and inequality in the city. Since then, Baltimore’s (as well as other cities’) struggles with those issues have made them central topics in the national political conversation.

With Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s decision not to seek re-election, Pugh may have a greater opportunity to make her case to the electorate this time. The candidate recently answered our questions about her current bid to lead the city and how she will distinguish herself in a crowded Democratic primary.

Baltimore Fishbowl: Have you seen the public come around to your point of view on the importance of addressing lead poisoning, community-police relations, and community-driven development in the past five years?

Patrick Gutierrez on His Run for Mayor of Baltimore, How He Would’ve Handled Unrest, and His Stint as a Sportswriter

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Patrick Gutierrez

Patrick Gutierrez has been a bank manager, a sports writer, and a stay-at-home dad. Now he’s hoping to start a new career as Mayor of the City of Baltimore. Gutierrez grew up in the small desert town of Indio, California, about two hours east of Los Angeles and seemingly a world away from Baltimore, but he says the two areas share a similarity he values highly: community connectedness. If the Democrat is chosen to serve as Mayor of Baltimore, he promises leadership driven by accountability, transparency, and a genuine desire to serve.

We caught up with Gutierrez on the campaign trail to learn more about his background, his preparedness to serve the residents of Baltimore and his plans to improve his adopted city, including quelling violence, tackling substance abuse, and other tough challenges.

How did you make your way here and where in Baltimore do you live now?  

Nick Mosby Addresses His Vision for Baltimore, His Wife’s Job, and Where He Takes His Daughters for Red Velvet Pancakes

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Virtually every Baltimore politician was interviewed by a national TV reporter on the night of April 27 and the week that followed, but an exchange between City Councilman Nick Mosby and Fox News’ Leland Vittert managed to rise above the din. Standing on a West Baltimore street corner, Mosby put the rioting and looting that defined the night into context.

Weed Control: Meet Hannah Byron, Executive Director of the Maryland Cannabis (Don’t Call It Marijuana) Commission

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In 2013, the Maryland General Assembly passed Senate Bill 881 legalizing marijuana for medicinal use, and Maryland joined 22 other states across the country, scrambling to coordinate the myriad aspects of dispensing marijuana to eligible patients. It’s an enormous undertaking, like launching a giant startup. Nobody wants to get it wrong, but the logistics are complicated and the clock is ticking toward an expected date in mid to late 2016. Patients, doctors, growers, sellers, and bankers in Maryland are all waiting impatiently for answers to questions about how it’s going to affect them.

Meet Dr. Leana Wen, Baltimore City’s New Health Commissioner

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Dr. Wen

Last January, Dr. Leana S. Wen took the reins from Dr. Oxiris Barbot as Baltimore City Health Commissioner.  Being responsible for the health of the entire city seems like a gargantuan charge, especially for someone barely 30. But given Wen’s accomplishments to date—she entered college at 13, studied public health and health policy as a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford, served on an advisory commission to Congress regarding graduate medical education, worked as an attending physician in a busy emergency room, gave four popular TED and TEDMed talks, wrote a critically-acclaimed book When Doctor’s Don’t Listen: How to Avoid Misdiagnoses and Unnecessary Tests, to name a few—she’s probably up to the task.

Tony Foreman, People Person: Big Fish Q & A With Baltimore Restaurateur

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Tony Foreman has changed the face of Baltimore’s food scene. In 1995, when he moved back to Baltimore to open the restaurant Savannah (with his then wife, still business partner Cindy Wolf) the top restaurants in town were Tio Pepe and The Prime Rib — both of which had been around for nearly 30 years.

Since then, Foreman Wolf has opened six restaurants — Charleston, Petit Louis Bistro, Pazo, Cinghiale, and Johnny’s in Baltimore, and a second Petit Louis in Columbia – all of which they own. Along the way, they have churned out a few Baltimore food stars — Charm City Cakes’ Duff Goldman and Josh Hershkovitz of Hersh’s Pizza & Drinks to name a few — and countless trained waitstaff, raising the bar for Baltimore’s restaurants.

Popular Scientist: Johns Hopkins Neuroscientist David Linden Explains the Brain Science Behind Hand, Heart, and Mind

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Neuroscientist David Linden divides his time between a lab full of mice and post-doctoral students at the Johns Hopkins medical campus and a writing desk in his secret hideaway of a house, located on a wooded lane in a secluded part of North Baltimore. From there, he has produced three hugely successful books about the brain: “The Accidental Mind,” “The Compass of Pleasure: How Our Brains Make Fatty Foods, Orgasm, Exercise, Marijuana, Generosity, Vodka, Learning, and Gambling Feel So Good” and new this month, “Touch: The Science of Hand, Heart and Mind.”

Big Fish: Q & A With the Co-Founders of Planit, Baltimore’s Ad Agency for a New Age

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BFFs: Matt Doud and Ed Callahan, co-founders of Planit

In November, 2014, Ad Age named Baltimore’s Planit one of the best places to work in advertising and media.  Planit is a strategic, digitally minded agency that leads campaigns for national and global clients. It is centered on the belief that its employees will have fun, work hard, and think big.  Unlike traditional agencies, Planit separates itself into three service groups – strategic, creative and client, all of which generate ideas to change and challenge the current marketplace through digital, non-digital PR and social media.  The company’s approach addresses the needs of a wide range of clients including McCormick Foods, DeWalt, Mally Beauty, NPR, Acura, and Under Armour.

Big Fish: Wes Moore on Leaving for College, Returning to Baltimore

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With Wes Moore, biography only tells part of the story.

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