(BALTIMORE – September 8, 2023) – Yesterday, Sheila Ann Dixon announced her third attempt to run for her former seat as Mayor of Baltimore. The heat was blazing at 97 degrees, but that didn’t stop supporters from gathering at Gold Park, just a block from historic Pennsylvania Avenue, to hear her long-anticipated words assuring them that she was, in fact, running.
The incumbent is Mayor Brandon Scott. Official mayoral candidates at BMORENews press time include newcomer Wendy Bozel, President of the Upper Fells Point Improvement Association, and Wendell Hill-Freeman.
BMORENews caught up with two local pundits, one of whom attended yesterday’s announcement to get their insight on the race. The election is on May 14.
Senior journalist Charles Robinson, who did not attend the announcement, said, “I think Sheila Dixon has an opportunity, but it is not a monolithic opportunity.”
He continued, “Some people believe the city is Roland Park, Federal Hill, and Northwest Baltimore, but Baltimore is much more than that. And those who fail to sow together communities – especially Black communities – will find themselves on the losing end.”
Robinson shared even more political wisdom.
“If you want to get a measurement of how Baltimore is going to vote, you start with Ashburton and upper Park Heights, north of Belvedere all the way out to Northwestern High School. They vote at about 80%. Those who live in Federal Hill and the Under Armour Complex don’t always register to vote because many of them are transplants. On the Eastside, I think you have to look at Hamilton, the area above Overlea, and the Morgan corridor – East Cold Spring Lane to Clifton Park – just before you get to Overlea. Again, you have to sow together those very communities and explain to voters – not constituents, but voters why they should vote for you.”
Robinson, who has covered local elections for decades, added, “A lot of Sheila Dixon’s base started out in Edmondson Village but many have moved out to the county over the years, namely the Liberty Rd. corridor.”
He insists that a number of her supporters now live outside of the city.
One burning question Robinson posed: “Who will fund her campaign?”
He asked, “Can she convince business leaders that she is the right choice? I think that the community has questioned her and she did the right thing by saying please forgive me, but we have a very long way to go before we see any plausible or viable candidates.”
Robinson foresees other candidates entering the race, including Thiru Vignarajah.
He also said that he expects that someone from the City Council will throw their name in the ring. He said those names could include City Councilman Zeke Cohen and Councilman Yitzy Schleifer.
“What I don’t want to see is 9 candidates on stage,” said Robinson. “I am not interested because a large number of candidates favors the incumbent.”
BMORENews also spoke with media personality and entrepreneur Mark Adams.
“Baltimore is in a state of complete collapse,” said Adams. “And it’s not because of the people or the institutions or the economy. It’s because of the City government. Nothing gets done right in this city except writing parking tickets. They do that right! It’s not pro-business because nobody wants to go downtown. I live right here and I don’t want to go downtown. It’s dirty. It’s unsafe. And it’s unpleasant. And it’s largely the result of government.”
Adams, who attended the announcement yesterday, said, “One of the things Sheila said yesterday was she could only imagine what she could have done with homelessness if she had the money that this administration has. Management of the homeless population was adequate under Sheila. The homelessness and the hotels – that worked to some degree, but there was no consistency to it. Today, the City has oodles of money to deal with it. I mean, they just lost $10 million because they didn’t fill out the paperwork. It’s basically a freefall of any government institution in Baltimore.”
Adams continued, “The fire department: It’s hard to screw up our fire department. They are well-trained. The system is so good that it ran itself for years. But now, they don’t have equipment. Just a month ago, for instance, I was riding around and saw that the City is using private ambulances on contract to do first responder calls. How did that happen? A third of their equipment across the board is broken down. You see these old fire trucks with flip boards. How hard is it to buy new fire trucks?”