The Glover Report: Sheila Dixon and the Healing and Transformation of Baltimore City

Doni Glover, Publisher

Doni Glover, Publisher

Go, Sheila! Go!

By D. Morton Glover, Publisher

(BALTIMORE – January 22, 2016) – Ahhh, …. the price of progress!

In an age of every-changing 21st century technology, the ability to adapt to change is essential. It’s a must. Without it, we die. While has been down for maintenance, I can say without a shadow of a doubt: It sure is good to be back, and just in time for the most critical election in Baltimore City since 1999.

On April 26, a number of mayoral candidates will find out just who has the best connection with the people of Baltimore, a people wrought with challenges particularly with respect to the tragic death of a 25-year-old black man whose name has reached international prominence.

The world media came to Baltimore last April to see first-hand the damage from the civil unrest. What they learned is that many black people have been living in deplorable conditions long before Gray’s death and that no one … had heard their cry.

A powerful Democratic machine in Baltimore and across Maryland has forsaken the least of us most of my lifetime. I believe we have not, as a people, mastered “the ask”. As they say, a closed mouth doesn’t get fed. And then, it is also about accountability.

Further, with a Republican Governor now in the fray (the second one this century after decades of Democratic rule), we, the citizens, have once again served witness to politics getting in the way of progress for the people. We have seen Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake struggle to deal with this governor solely because of party. Quite frankly, we cannot afford such dissidence.

Some folks may not like it, but it is true. As Gov. Larry Hogan landed at Penn-North the day after the city saw its ugliest moment in 47 years, I am reminded that it was his Republican predecessor, Gov. Bob Ehrlich (2002-2006), who was the last one to put the biggest investment in the neighborhood where I spent the most time growing up – Coppin Heights in West Baltimore – just nine blocks from Penn-North. If you look at Coppin today and the way it looked back when I was a child, it’s like day and night.

I say this because in a 9-to-1 Democratic dominated town, I can’t help but wonder why did it take the Republicans to see that Coppin State was being ignored? Today, Coppin’s turf extends from Gwynns Fall Parkway south to Baker Street. While many homes were removed in the process, I can also recall the string of dead bodies that perished in these killing fields. Although there were an abundance of homeowners and families in this otherwise traditional part of West Baltimore, the crack epidemic – along with urban flight – utterly destroyed this once beautifully vibrant community. Add to that the lead babies conceived over the generations, and you have one of the biggest setbacks in Baltimore history. Matters became even worse when the historic Easterwood Recreation Center was closed. Thank God the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity saw the need to re-open it.

All this to say, I and many others would like to see Baltimore restored to its greatness. And for many of us, that means Sheila Dixon being restored to Office of Mayor as well. I am of the ilk that thinks she got a raw deal. What I admire, though, is that through it all, she did not point the finger and took the fall like a grown person does. She accepted responsibility. She even apologized. Now, I and many others believe it is time that we get this woman back where she belongs so that Baltimore can get the necessary healing and attention it needs and deserves, especially after being mismanaged and mishandled for such a long time. In her brief tenure as mayor, she impressed many of us. We remember things getting done, potholes being filled, and snow being removed. Even more, we know that she will do an even better job once she’s back in office.

Those of us who walk the streets know that the time is now. We have seen neglect for far too long and considering that Dixon already has a rapport with Gov. Hogan, I am confident the City of Baltimore can get the attention it deserves, including resources from the state.

Clearly, we have a lot of neighborhoods that need help. We have open-air drug markets, like the one called Hampsterdam at North & Carey. We have murders that need to be halted and people who need to get into GED classes. And we have a ton of folks who need employment while others need to go straight to treatment before anything else. We understand what we need. Now, all we need is a leader who is in-touch with the plight of Baltimoreans enough to give a damn. Again, for me – that person is Sheila Dixon.

The battle is far from over. While a recent poll has her leading the pack, she clearly understands that there is much work to be done. Trust me, she is fighting like she is in last place.

And that’s the part of Sheila Dixon with which many of us can identify: that despite adversity, still we rise! Just like she kept her dignity while all kinds of dirt was thrown at her to muddy her reputation, so too must the entire city rebound after last year’s riots. The world, for instance, was asking why Baltimoreans were tearing up their city. Those of us here know exactly what the cause was and is: an uneven distribution of the resources. When you put $10 million on a Grand Prix but fail to keep public swimming pools open in places like Gilmor Homes and also can’t find a measley $600,000 to keep the recs open, then you obviously have little concern for the little guy.

Hence, I believe that Ms. Dixon – through her challenges – has come to an even greater appreciation for life and a deeper understanding of what our city needs and how to bring about such necessary change. I believe she understands the meaning of setbacks, but also that our God is a God of redemption and that if we just put our trust in Him, everything will be alright.

Sure! We must do the work, too. There is no doubt about that, but I am also very confident that our very fit mayor is up to the challenge. After all, she’s a fitness buff.

So, for those vying to knock out Sheila Dixon, you’d better bring your “A” game and your lunch box because she has no intentions on quitting. Besides, she is in the gym all the time. She has patiently awaited this opportunity for years, and thus far, she’s campaigning true to form for a champion.

Go, Madame Mayor! Shine for the world to see, and don’t forget to give God all the glory. Do this and all will be well!

Tune-in to Bmorenews publisher Doni Glover every Tuesday from 10 to 11 am (est) on Radio One Baltimore’s WOLB 1010 AM. The Doni Glover Show, now in its 17th year, is the longest-running customized news talk show at Radio One in the nation. A political analyst who has appeared on CNN, TV One, and countless Baltimore/DC news shows, he is also the founder of The ORIGINAL Black Wall Street SERIES *NYC *MD *DC *ATL *NOLA featuring the coveted Joe Manns Black Wall Street Awards and the author of “Unapologetically Black: Doni Glover Autobiography.”