Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Race for Baltimore's City Hall

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

I usually don't touch local politics - not even with a 10 foot pole. Typically, its not worth the trouble, especially in Baltimore. I grappled with the decision to even blog about it, but I decided to go ahead and let you all into the drama that is local politics.

In my lifetime, I’ve experienced 5 different mayors with a billion different issues:
  • Martin O'Malley, former Baltimore City Councilman and current Governor of Maryland, probably did the best job of any mayor in my lifetime. He wasn't perfect, but he made good shit happen in the City of Baltimore and that's pretty much all I ask of anyone asking for the right to lead.
And then there's the incumbent and current mayoral front runner, Sheila Dixon. She's basically assured the job. She has 46% of the local vote; her nearest competitor has 19%.

I'll admit, I'm not a fan. Dixon is inarticulate and downright tacky (and ghetto) at times. Let's just say she's not really cut from a mayoral cloth - if you know what I mean. She's not revered by the people (at least not by me). She got the job because her boss went on to become the big boss in Annapolis and by statute, the City Council President assumes the role of Mayor in the event he resigns that post.

In fact, her claim to fame (aside from the sporadic nepotism scandal) is being the aunt of former Maryland Basketball standout Juan Dixon. But she's smart. She recognized that in order for her to get to the top, she had to ride the coattails of other people (read: Governor Martin O'Malley). She waited and waited and finally reached a point of power. Can't fault her for that.

Dixon's most immediate threat is Keiffer
Mitchell - a relatively young scion to the Mitchell family's political dynasty. I like him better than Dixon, but I'm still unimpressed.

In true front runner fashion, both he and Dixon have been satisfied to hold onto the status quo and coast as far as possible without posing any real ideas. Unfortunately, the status quo in Baltimore is about ten pegs below absolutely unacceptable.

Normally, stage presence counts for a lot in politics and I'm willing to give credit to candidates who I feel can persuade and get things done, even if I prefer their ideas less than those of a less-persuasive candidate. In this case, however, not only do Dixon and Mitchell lack anything of substance, they also are no more captivating than those at the back of the race.

I'm open to hearing any ideas from anyone, but unfortunately it seems like several of our candidates are hoping to get through the campaign without proposing a single idea at all. That's why I'm not even bothering to vote in the September 11th coronation.


steve said...

Hey, do you know anything about Delegate Jill Carter who is runnning for mayor? She is the best candidate. Please read about her. Once you do, I beleive you will want to cast your vote for her. Thanks a lot! I agree with your assessment of all of the others. But, honestly, Jill is amazing.


steve said...

Sorry, I forgot.

Jill's web site is:


Anonymous said...

Mr. Jones, I sincerely hope you will change your mind about not voting. The corrupt, establishment candidates depend on younger voters not voting and that is how they stay in power. There are candidates in this race that do not represent the status quo. If voters such as yourself turned out to vote for them, and against the undeserving, media manufactured frontrunner and lead challenger, they might have a real chance. In my view, Jill Carter is, hands down, the best choice. But, there is also Andrey Bundley, and A. Robert Kaufman, hardly establishment politicians. In this election, on Tuesday, you don't have to choose between the lesser of two evils, Dixon or Mitchell--there are alternatives to evil. Even if you vote for a candidate that does not win, you give that candidate's views more power by giving them more votes. This helps keep the winner from ignoring that perspective altogether. I'm voting because I know that Jill Carter is the truth. She has stood up for people like me and you, and I believe we owe it to her to stand up for her right back. Jill who has spent entire nights on the worst street corners in the city has recently been refered to as "The Harriet Tubman of Our Times." Even if she doesn't win, it sends the winner a strong message that her views and her advocacy carry a strong voting base that cannot be ignored.

Still not convinced? Try thinking of Medgar Evers and others who gave their lives that we might enjoy this right to have a voice in this country, and consider voting as a tribute to them. Thank you for reading this.

ProfessorB said...

The media runs politics, particularly local politics. I live in Maryland and think it's unfair how the DC and Baltimore area TV stations feature the mayors of those cities on every other local news story (no matter what the subject). Ever notice how rarely you see the nearby county executives on camera when something happens in their counties?

Anyway, based on seeing Dixon speak on TV and reading her quotes in the newspaper, I COMPLETELY agree with you that Dixon is "inarticulate and downright tacky (and ghetto) at times." Your description is dead on. Early on, the media picked her as the front runner and Mitchell as second so that's how it played out on election day.

That's what the national media did to Presidential hopeful Howard Dean in 2004 until he did that weird scream thing. The media crowned John Kerry as the number one candidate and he won the Democratic primary. Now they've doing the same thing to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

The people have to take politics back into their own hands and stop letting the media pick the winners.

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