Blast the theme song to Jaws. Former Mayor Sheila Dixon is back, sort of.
“This is the year I’m going to decide,” Dixon said recently of her (scary) wish to run for political office after the 2009 criminal conviction that forced her out. “I’m not going to hide the fact that I enjoyed what I was doing my 27 years in public office.”
Of course, she enjoyed herself! She stole gift cards donated by developers meant to go to the poor; she lied to her constituents; she gave the mayoral office an embarrassingly bad name; after her conviction, she showed little remorse; and as she endured her easy-breezy probation period, she collected an annual pension of $83,000.
And yet the ever-entitled Dixon–who has now officially completed said probation, according to a Baltimore Sun story by Jean Marbella–plans to participate in a high-profile speaker series for Associated Black Charities on April 16. Many consider this move to be ambitious Dixon’s water-testing ritual number one: Can I come back?
Former Legg Mason CEO Mark Fetting and Chief Judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals Robert M. Bell, also presiding that night. With Dixon on hand, what a wild crew!
Dixon is not accepting payment for the performance, and ABC has not encouraged her to discuss her legal trouble, at least not formally. But anything could happen during the Q&A.
“Knowing Mayor Dixon the way I do, she’s a very frank person. She will probably address it,” said ABC spokesman Anthony McCarthy, also in The Sun. McCarthy also served as spokesman for Dixon for a couple of years when she was in City Hall. “But the purpose for us in this series is to focus on the positive contributions that are being made by this group of speakers. I’m not sure what purposes would be served by us bringing it into the discussion.”
McCarthy may not be sure, but I am. When a public official errs as egregiously as Dixon, and remains as verbally unrepentant as she has, citizens ought to write her off. If she tries to come back, her answers better be as surprising and purifying as an actual Second Coming. But Dixon’s no Christ figure.
Sure, Dixon knows we’re ticked; she says we shouldn’t read too much into her participation in the speaker series, but I don’t trust her – nor does the buzz about town agree. I think she’s early-testing her voters. And I think she’ll eventually get around to saying she’s very sorry, which would serve as our first signal she wants back in, according to UMBC Public Policy Department Chair Donald F. Norris.
“It would say to the outside world that a corrupt elected official can spend a little time away and get reelected,” Norris said to Marbella. “That’s not an image Baltimore wants, or that any city needs.”
I’m with Norris. For me, Dixon’s blown it. I don’t want to see her name on campaign posters and billboards ever again. She can walk on water for all I care. Next.
What do you say?
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