When Baltimore’s previous mayor, Catherine Pugh left office, it was because she was preparing to do a three year stretch in prison for scamming nearly a million dollars out of various organizations using her self-published children’s books. She was replaced by City Council leader Jack Young, who has thus far been doing a competent and honest job by all accounts. Unfortunately, Young said from day one that he was only an interim mayor and he had no intention of running for a full term of his own. That means that a new election will be held this year to select the next mayor and the Democratic primary (which is pretty much the same as the general election because of the city’s overwhelming Democrat constituency) is coming up quickly.
At this point, it’s worth reminding everyone that Charm City has been on something of a bad luck streak in terms of mayors for several years now. Ever since Martin O’Malley left to become governor, it’s been all downhill from there. He was replaced by Sheila Dixon, who was forced out of office after being convicted of embezzlement. She was replaced by Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who didn’t even bother trying for a second term after she let the city burn down around her during the Freddie Gray riots. (She’s now a campaign co-chair for Mike Bloomberg.) And she was followed by Ms. Pugh.
So who is currently leading in the polls to replace Jack Young as Baltimore’s next mayor? It’s none other than… Sheila Dixon. Yes, the same Sheila Dixon mentioned above who was convicted of embezzlement. And no… I’m not even kidding. (Baltimore Sun)
Former Mayor Sheila Dixon has opened up a slight lead in a crowded, competitive race to become Baltimore’s next mayor, a new poll for The Baltimore Sun, the University of Baltimore and WYPR shows.
Dixon is favored by 16% of the likely Democratic primary voters polled. That’s six percentage points more than her top competition: City Council President Brandon Scott and former Maryland Deputy Attorney General Thiru Vignarajah, who each had 10% support. Former Baltimore Police Department spokesman T.J. Smith was close behind in fourth place with 9%, while the incumbent Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young trailed the leaders with 6% support.
It’s difficult to even know where to start with this story, but let’s look at another nugget from the survey that produced these results. When asked what their top concerns were, one-half of voters said it was the city’s rampant crime problems while 21% cited “concerns over honesty and integrity.”
Honestly, I can’t understand how someone can be driven from office after literally being convicted of embezzlement and then have the nerve to show their face to apply to get back on the ballot again. And Dixon has now done it twice! (She ran in the primary against Catherine Pugh and narrowly missed defeating her.) Perhaps the only thing more amazing than that is the idea that a measurable number of residents are willing to vote for her again. And she might just win.
So what’s the theory here for Baltimore’s voters? I suppose rather than electing someone new who might wind up being a corrupt thief, you avoid all the worry and go with a known quantity who already has an established reputation as a corrupt thief. Cuts out all of the uncertainty, you see.
If this actually happens, I’m going to be changing one of the concerns and positions I’ve held regarding Baltimore for quite a while. I used to say that the citizens of Charm City were suffering as a result of corrupt and incompetent leadership. But if they vote Dixon back into office while knowing what we already know, I will have lost any and all sympathy for Baltimore’s denizens. You’re bringing this on yourselves and you deserve everything you get after that.