I’ve spent the past week at my parents’s house in Baltimore, and gosh, did I pick an exciting week to spend here. Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon announced her resignation yesterday afternoon in a tearful press conference. Dixon had dominated the city’s news cycle with a years long corruption investigation and trial. Politics, as usual.
Dixon, 56, will leave office Feb. 4, the day she is sentenced both for a guilty plea she entered in a perjury case and for her embezzlement conviction last month. She will keep her $83,000 pension, which she could begin collecting the moment she steps down, and her criminal record will be wiped clean if she completes the terms of her probation within four years.
A teary Dixon returned to City Hall to announce her resignation, saying that she was doing so “with deep regret and sadness.” She did not apologize but said there would come a time, after sentencing, that she could give her full side of the story.
“I love the city. I love the people of this city,” said Dixon, who was raised in West Baltimore, where she still lives. “Now it’s time to move on.”
The first black woman elected to the City Council presidency, Dixon, a Democrat, has been a public official for 23 years. Now she is barred from seeking or holding any city or state post for at least two years, a condition of her probation.
Not at bad deal, as I’m concerned, especially considered she stole gift cards intended for poor children and set her boyfriend up with some pretty sweet city construction contracts.
However, I agree with Ta-Nehisi Coates that the more interesting story here is that of Dixon’s replacement, current City Council President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. Rawlings-Blake would become the city’s second female mayor, and she has a pretty fantastic track record as City Council President concerning feminist issues. As you may recall, Rawlings-Blake recently introduced the first legislation in the country which would require Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs) to post signs disclosing that they do not provide information on or referrals for abortions or contraception. The bill was signed into law by Dixon in early December.
Here’s hoping that Dixon learns her lesson and that Rawlings-Blake continues her record of support women’s rights in her new position as mayor.