By Larry S. Gibson

I have spent 50 years teaching, encouraging and helping young people become leaders in the law and government. There are times when a city like Baltimore can afford to experiment with a new face in City Hall. But, now is not that time. Right now, Baltimore needs proven and experienced leadership.

Here is my assessment of the main candidates in the current mayoral election.

Former Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon (AP Photo)

Bernard “Jack” Young  is my friend and has been a good mayor with the best interests of the city at heart. But, due to some verbal missteps, an ineffective campaign, and some circumstances beyond his control, Young does not have a realistic chance of winning this election. I do not believe that he will finish as far back as 4th or 5th place, as most polls suggest. But, Young will not win this election and should focus his attention on helping the city through this difficult year.

Brandon Scott is one of our sons of whom we are proud. How can anyone not like Brandon Scott?  He has done well in his 36 years and is one of our next generation’s leaders. Whoever becomes mayor should seek Scott’s involvement in their administration.  

T.J. Smith is another articulate and thoughtful product of Baltimore. It is good that he has re-engaged with the city where he can make valuable contributions. Hopefully, with a little more administrative experience, Smith will consider future opportunities for public office.   

Thiru Vignarajah is the only candidate about whom people consistently speak negatively. There is something troubling about him. He is undoubtedly very intelligent; but, he has certain personality traits that trouble people I respect.  He will need to address those matters if he is to succeed in politics.

Mary Miller is a mystery. I have carefully examined her websites, mailings and TV ads and cannot find any consequential prior engagement with Baltimore’s problems, solutions, communities or organizations. She lives in Baltimore, but has no visible record of leading, organizing or guiding anything here. Even in the Obama administration, Miller appears not to have directed any special attention or resources to Baltimore. Based on the record, Miller may be the least qualified candidate. 

Sheila Dixon is our best choice to be mayor. Dixon was an excellent mayor who made Baltimore measurably safer, cleaner and healthier. Crime went down dramatically. She added green spaces, promoted minority businesses, increased early childhood education and improved Baltimore’s finances. Even after serious mistakes interrupted her political career, Dixon stayed engaged with Baltimore’s issues and possibilities. Sheila Dixon is the proven leader that Baltimore needs at this time.

Let us not split the vote in so many pieces that no one receives a mandate.

Larry S. Gibson is a professor of law, and a political strategist.

*This is the opinion of Larry S. Gibson and not an endorsement by the AFRO.

The opinions on this page are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the AFRO.
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