By AFRO Staff
The phrase, “most important election in a generation,” often feels like a cliché, or even overwrought coming out of the mouths of politicians and journalists when describing the political stakes of cities, states and countries.
But, the description seems particularly accurate when it comes to the election to select the next Mayor of Baltimore.
The last mayor pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy and tax evasion, and she awaits the start of her prison sentence. The Baltimore Police Department was arguably one of the most corrupt in the nation. The city has eclipsed the 300 murder mark for the last five years. And we are grappling with a global pandemic that has claimed more than 90 thousand Americans so far, causing a city budget deficit of about $42 million.
Indeed these are perilous times for our city and the nation.
Despite some cringe-worthy verbal gaffes and missteps early on, Baltimore Mayor Bernard “Jack” Young has stepped up admirably in the midst of COVID-19 and the other city crises to provide fairly steady leadership. And perhaps most importantly, Young seems to exhibit a heart for the people of this city.
Baltimore City Council President Brandon Scott seems to always be prepared to offer and implement cogent policy solutions and has shown a strong work effort during his time on the Council. But, a few more years as Council President would have served him well, if he were to ascend to the mayor’s chair in the future after 2021.
Throughout her long political career first as a City Councilperson, then City Council President and later Mayor of Baltimore, Sheila Dixon has proven herself to be one of the most effective public servants the city has seen in decades. And despite a still somewhat dubious fiasco involving gift cards for the needy, which led to the end of her first tenure as mayor, she has subsequently remained relevant as a city leader.
During her time as mayor, most objective political observers acknowledge the city improved significantly across the board, from trash removal, to business development for women and people of color, to services for people experiencing homelessness, to a reduction in homicides and other violent crimes. And like Young, Dixon also has displayed a heart for the people of Baltimore. Further, Dixon possesses some intangibles; she is tenacious and she is tough. These two characteristics are lauded in male politicians, yet many men disparage women leaders for exhibiting the same qualities. It is a double standard many argue was at the root of her downfall.
The bottom line is nobody is going to outwork Dixon and nobody knows the city’s overall infrastructure better than she does. For these reasons and others the AFRO endorses the former Mayor of Baltimore to be the next Mayor of Baltimore. We need her experience and energy now more than ever.
See City Council President endorsement on B1.