New indictments on theft and perjury charges handed down against Democratic Mayor Sheila Dixon are a “blow to Baltimore’s pride” leading “political watchers” to huff in disgust that it’s time to “get this over with,” reports Annie Linskey this morning at BaltimoreSun.com.
Of course almost all of the political watchers quoted in the story – the exception being University of Virginia’s Larry J. Sabato – are, like Dixon, Democratic officeholders:
The new indictments issued last week in the City Hall corruption probe has many of Baltimore's political leaders impatient for resolution to a case that has spanned three years and left the city's reputation in limbo.
"Most people I talk to are saying 'Let's just get this over with,' " said Baltimore Del. Curtis S. Anderson, a Democrat. "Let's get to trial and see what really happened."
A grand jury indicted Democratic Mayor Sheila Dixon on theft and perjury charges, as well as City Councilwoman Helen L. Holton and baking magnate and developer John Paterakis for allegedly violating campaign finance rules.
Linskey went on to quote another Democratic city councilman, Talmadge Branch, as lamenting that the ethical clouds over Dixon have not yet “blow[n] over,” leaving him and others “waiting and seeing” what happens.
The Sun reporter noted that three other prominent Maryland Democrats pursued for comment either refused to comment or failed to respond to the Sun’s request. Theparty affiliation of those Democratic politicians, Gov. Martin O’Malley, Rep. Elijah Cummings, and Sen. Benjamin Cardin, was not explicitly mentioned.
What's more, despite devoting 20 paragraphs to the August 3 online story, Linskey failed to find any critics, Republican or Democratic, to outright suggest Dixon should resign, although Linskey did point to former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick as an example of how criminal charges can paralyze and ultimately derail a mayoral administration:
One of Dixon's most ardent supporters acknowledges that Dixon's legal problems have caused some distraction.
"I think she certainly is concerned," City Councilwoman Rochelle "Rikki" Spector said. "You would have to be a piece of wood not to be concerned, but it has not consumed her."
The alternative can be a implosion, as occurred in Detroit after Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was charged with perjury, obstruction of justice and misconduct stemming from accusations that he lied under oath about his efforts to fire a police officer and his relationship with his chief of staff.
There city government became "paralyzed" after the indictment, said Adolph Mongo, a Detroit-based political consultant who did some work for the former mayor. He was unable to get his budget passed, council members walked out of his State of the City address and the council president became de facto mayor, Mongo recalled.