Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
Sheila Dixon

Sheila Dixon

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Sheila Dixon'
Start a new discussion about 'Sheila Dixon'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Sheila Ann Dixon served as the forty-eighth Mayor of Baltimore
Baltimore
Baltimore is the largest independent city in the United States and the largest city and cultural center of the US state of Maryland. The city is located in central Maryland along the tidal portion of the Patapsco River, an arm of the Chesapeake Bay. Baltimore is sometimes referred to as Baltimore...

, Maryland. When former Mayor Martin O'Malley
Martin O'Malley
Martin Joseph O'Malley is an American Democratic politician who is currently serving as the 61st Governor of Maryland. Previously, he served as the mayor of Baltimore from 1999 to 2007. He is currently the chairman of the Democratic Governors Association.-Early life, education and career:O'Malley...

 was sworn in as Governor on January 17, 2007, Dixon, a Democrat
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

, became mayor and served out the remaining year of O'Malley's term. In November 2007, she was elected mayor. She is a former member of the Baltimore City Council
Baltimore City Council
The Baltimore City Council is the legislative branch that governs the City of Baltimore and its nearly 700,000 citizens. Baltimore has fourteen single-member City Council districts and representatives are elected for a four-year term. To qualify for a position on the Council, a person must be...

, the first African-American female to serve as its president, and Baltimore's first female mayor. She was also Baltimore's third African-American mayor.

On January 9, 2009, Dixon was indicted on twelve felony and misdemeanor counts, including perjury, theft, and misconduct. The charges stem partly from incidents in which she allegedly misappropriated gift cards intended for the poor. On December 1, 2009, the jury returned a "guilty" verdict on one misdemeanor count of fraudulent misappropriation. On January 6, 2010 Dixon announced her resignation as Mayor as part of a plea agreement, effective February 4, 2010. She was succeeded by the Baltimore City Council
Baltimore City Council
The Baltimore City Council is the legislative branch that governs the City of Baltimore and its nearly 700,000 citizens. Baltimore has fourteen single-member City Council districts and representatives are elected for a four-year term. To qualify for a position on the Council, a person must be...

 President, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake on February 4, 2010.

Biography


Dixon was born and was raised in the Ashburton neighborhood
Ashburton, Baltimore
Ashburton is a neighborhood in the Forest Park region of Northwestern Baltimore City. It is located near Liberty Heights Avenue and Hilton Street and home to many prominent African-Americans including Baltimore's former mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, State Senator Lisa Gladden, State Senator Catherine E....

 of West Baltimore. Her father, Phillip Dixon, Sr., was a car salesman, and her mother, Winona Dixon, was a community activist, active in her church, political causes, and member of local community groups.

Dixon attended the Baltimore City public schools and is a graduate of Northwestern High School
Northwestern Senior High School (Baltimore, Maryland)
Northwestern High School is a public high school located in Baltimore, Maryland.-Notable alumni:*Sheila Dixon, Mayor, Baltimore City *Jack I. Lesser, Judge, District Court of Maryland, Baltimore City ....

. She holds a bachelor's degree from Towson University
Towson University
Towson University, often referred to as TU or simply Towson for short, is a public university located in Towson in Baltimore County, Maryland, U.S...

 and a master's degree from Johns Hopkins University
Johns Hopkins University
The Johns Hopkins University, commonly referred to as Johns Hopkins, JHU, or simply Hopkins, is a private research university based in Baltimore, Maryland, United States...

.

An active member of Bethel A.M.E. Church http://www.bethel1.org and former trustee, Dixon continues to serve as a member of the Stewardess Board. She serves on other boards, including the Institute of Human Virology, the Transplant Resource Center, the Urban Health Initiative, the Baltimore Public Markets Corporation, the Living Classrooms Foundation, and the Walters Art Gallery.

Twice divorced, Dixon is raising her two children, Jasmine and Joshua.
She is the aunt of professional basketball player Juan Dixon
Juan Dixon
Juan Dixon is an American professional basketball player. Dixon led the University of Maryland Terrapins to their first NCAA championship in 2002 and earned Most Outstanding Player honors at the 2002 Final Four.-Early life:...

, who led the University of Maryland to the 2002 NCAA championship, and Jermaine Dixon, who played guard for the University of Pittsburgh Men's Basketball Team
Pittsburgh Panthers men's basketball
Pittsburgh Panthers men's basketball is the NCAA Division I intercollegiate men's basketball program of the University of Pittsburgh, often referred to as "Pitt", located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Pitt men's basketball team competes in the Big East Conference and plays their home games in...

. She is a lifelong resident of the city of Baltimore.

Career



Immediately after university, Dixon worked as an elementary school teacher and adult education instructor with the Head Start program. She then worked for 17 years as an international trade specialist with the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development.

In 1986, Dixon was elected to the Baltimore City Democratic State Central Committee representing the 40th Legislative District. In 1987, she won a seat on the Baltimore City Council representing the 4th Council District, where she served twelve years. She became the city council president in 1999, the first African-American woman elected to this position. Dixon won her re-election race for president of the Baltimore City Council beat her nearest competitor (Catherine Pugh
Catherine E. Pugh
Catherine E. Pugh is an American politician from Maryland and a member of the Democratic Party. She is currently serving in her 2nd term in the Maryland State Senate, representing Maryland's District 40 in Baltimore City.-Background:...

) by 21,000 votes.

As mayor


She "has impressed political pundits with her energetic first three months and her ability to handle crises."

During her tenure, Baltimore's homicide rate dropped for the first time in the 30 years. In February 2008, the Baltimore City Police reported a sharp decline in homicides in Baltimore. According to police there were 14 murders in the city for the month of January, the lowest monthly total in 30 years. As of April 2008, there had been a 40% reduction in murders in the city after experiencing a record high in 2007 during Dixon's first year in office. By April 15, 2008, the number of murders in the city had grown to 54, the lowest total to this time of the year in recent memory, putting the city on pace for 189 murders in 2008. By the end of 2008, the murder count was 234—a 17% reduction over the previous year.

She also led the effort to pass Baltimore's smoking ban. She has allocated record funding for campaigns to clean up Baltimore streets and she has expanded funding for affordable housing. While her critics complain that crime has risen in Baltimore during her tenure and that she is not paying enough attention to the issue, her record shows that she has increased police patrols, is cracking down on the possession of illegal guns, and is actively securing federal funds for crime-fighting programs.

Dixon is a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition
Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition
Mayors Against Illegal Guns is a coalition of over 600 mayors who support a number of gun control initiatives that the group calls "commonsense reforms" to fight illegal gun trafficking and gun violence in the United States...

, an organization formed in 2006 and co-chaired by New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg
Michael Bloomberg
Michael Rubens Bloomberg is the current Mayor of New York City. With a net worth of $19.5 billion in 2011, he is also the 12th-richest person in the United States...

 and Boston mayor Thomas Menino
Thomas Menino
Thomas Michael "Tom" Menino is the mayor of Boston, Massachusetts, United States and the city's first Italian-American mayor...

.

The "Shoe Incident"


In 1991, Dixon waved her shoe at white colleagues on the Baltimore City Council
Baltimore City Council
The Baltimore City Council is the legislative branch that governs the City of Baltimore and its nearly 700,000 citizens. Baltimore has fourteen single-member City Council districts and representatives are elected for a four-year term. To qualify for a position on the Council, a person must be...

 and yelled, "You've been running things for the last 20 years. Now the shoe is on the other foot." This incident led many people, including some of her supporters, to view her as a divisive person.

Dixon explained her earlier comment by stating that she has
"matured" since making the shoe comment and that she now attempts "to communicate better with individuals."

In her first inaugural address as Mayor, Dixon alluded to what she considers people's wrong impression of her and stated, "I want you to know that I am much more than a newspaper headline or a sound bite on the evening news."

Investigation and indictment


On June 17, 2008, investigators from the Office of the State Prosecutor executed a search and seizure warrant
Search warrant
A search warrant is a court order issued by a Magistrate, judge or Supreme Court Official that authorizes law enforcement officers to conduct a search of a person or location for evidence of a crime and to confiscate evidence if it is found....

 at Dixon's residence in southwest Baltimore. The result of, or purpose for, the search was not immediately revealed by investigators. However, several subpoenas were issued to aides, and local reports indicated that the investigation included a look at gifts, including several fur coats, as well as Dixon's spending habits. Two of Dixon's associates, campaign chair Dale Clark, and Mildred Boyer, a businesswoman who had hired Dixon's sister, pleaded guilty in Spring 2008 to tax charges and cooperated with prosecutors during the Dixon investigation. The affidavit
Affidavit
An affidavit is a written sworn statement of fact voluntarily made by an affiant or deponent under an oath or affirmation administered by a person authorized to do so by law. Such statement is witnessed as to the authenticity of the affiant's signature by a taker of oaths, such as a notary public...

 filed to support a search warrant on the company Doracon was published on the Baltimore Suns website on June 23, 2008. The affidavit stated that Dixon was being investigated regarding bribery.

On January 9, 2009, Dixon was indicted by a Baltimore Grand Jury on twelve counts, comprising four counts of perjury, two counts of misconduct, three counts of theft, and three counts of fraudulent misappropriations.

Dixon's trial, originally scheduled for September 8, 2009, was postponed to November 9, 2009.

Trial and guilty verdict


In November 2009, Dixon was tried for three counts of felony theft, three counts of misdemeanor embezzlement/misappropriation, and a single count of misconduct of office. The trial began on November 10, 2009, with Arnold M. Weiner
Arnold M. Weiner
Arnold M. Weiner is an American lawyer in Maryland who represented former Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon, former Maryland Governor Marvin Mandel and former United States Representative Edward Garmatz...

 serving as lead counsel. During the trial, two counts (one theft charge and one embezzlement/misappropriation charge) were dropped when prosecutors declined to call a key witness. On December 1, 2009, after seven days of deliberations, the jury returned verdicts on four of the five remaining counts. Dixon was found not guilty of the two felony theft charges, and one count of misconduct of office. She was found guilty on one misdemeanor embezzlement charge relating to her use of over $600 worth of retail store gift cards that were intended to be distributed to needy families. The jury was unable to reach a unanimous decision regarding the final charge of misdemeanor embezzlement.

As the result of being found guilty, Dixon was at risk of being removed from office, and being stripped of her city retirement pension valued at over $80,000 per year for life. Dixon still faced perjury charges, with a trial planned for 2010.

Resignation


On January 6, 2010, as part of a plea agreement reached with prosecutors, Dixon announced that she was resigning as Mayor, effective February 4, 2010. Under the terms of the agreement Dixon will get probation before judgment (PBJ) in the recent case where she had been found guilty, as well as in a perjury trial that had been scheduled for March 2010. Under the Criminal Procedure Article, sec. 6–220 of the Annotated Code of Maryland
Annotated Code of Maryland
The Annotated Code of Maryland, published by The Michie Company, is the official codification of the statutory laws of Maryland. It is organized, by subject matter, in two sets of volumes...

, a PBJ is not a conviction, thereby enabling her to keep her $83,000 pension. Also, under Maryland law, a PBJ may be expunged from one's record once the probationary period is over. Dixon was sentenced to four years of probation under the terms of the agreement. She also will be required to donate $45,000 to the Bea Gaddy Foundation and to serve 500 hours of community service at Our Daily Bread. In addition, she has agreed to sell gifts she received from developers, including a fur coat and electronics that she purchased with gift cards. She agreed to not seek office anywhere in the state of Maryland, including Baltimore during the term of her probation and she will not solicit or accept taxpayer money to pay her defense fees.

Affiliations


Dixon was listed as a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition
Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition
Mayors Against Illegal Guns is a coalition of over 600 mayors who support a number of gun control initiatives that the group calls "commonsense reforms" to fight illegal gun trafficking and gun violence in the United States...

, a bi-partisan anti-gun group with a stated goal of "making the public safer by getting illegal guns off the streets." The Coalition is co-chaired by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino
Thomas Menino
Thomas Michael "Tom" Menino is the mayor of Boston, Massachusetts, United States and the city's first Italian-American mayor...

 and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg
Michael Bloomberg
Michael Rubens Bloomberg is the current Mayor of New York City. With a net worth of $19.5 billion in 2011, he is also the 12th-richest person in the United States...

. After her conviction, Dixon's membership status in the organization is not clear. , there has been no announcement of her resignation from Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

2007 Election


Dixon ran for a full term as mayor in the 2007 election
Baltimore mayoral election, 2007
The 2007 Baltimore mayoral election was held on November 6, 2007. Because Baltimore's electorate is overwhelmingly Democratic, Sheila Dixon's victory in the Democratic primary on September 11 all but assured her of victory in the general election, and she defeated Republican candidate Elbert...

 and won the Democratic Party primary in September. Dixon maintained a strong fundraising advantage throughout the campaign. Scores of public officials, unions and newspapers endorsed the Mayor's campaign. This includes the Baltimore Sun, The Afro-American Newspaper, the AFL-CIO, former Rep. Kweisi Mfume, Minority Contractors Association, SEIU, SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, Gov. O'Malley
Martin O'Malley
Martin Joseph O'Malley is an American Democratic politician who is currently serving as the 61st Governor of Maryland. Previously, he served as the mayor of Baltimore from 1999 to 2007. He is currently the chairman of the Democratic Governors Association.-Early life, education and career:O'Malley...

, Comptroller Peter Franchot, Unite Here, United Auto Workers, and others.

The Baltimore Examiner noted, "some observers are suggesting that it may be open and shut." Morgan State University political science professor C. Vernon Gray confirmed the Examiners analysis when he noted, "it's [Dixon's] race to lose ... she really has done an excellent job of governing despite all the crises she's had." Del. Jill Carter
Jill P. Carter
Jill P. Carter is an American politician who represents Maryland's 41st legislative district of Baltimore City in the Maryland House of Delegates. She was elected to the Maryland legislature after defeating four incumbents in the Democratic primary that September...

, City Councilman Keiffer J. Mitchell, Jr.
Keiffer J. Mitchell, Jr.
Keiffer Jackson Mitchell, Jr. is an American politician from Baltimore, Maryland who serves in the Maryland House of Delegates. He was a member of the Baltimore City Council and a candidate in the 2007 mayoral election.-Background:...

 and city schools administrator Andrey Bundley were noted as Mayor Dixon's highest profile challengers.

A major issue during the primary mayoral campaign was crime. By mid-2007, homicides in Baltimore were on pace to surpass 300 for the year, the most since the early years of the O'Malley
Martin O'Malley
Martin Joseph O'Malley is an American Democratic politician who is currently serving as the 61st Governor of Maryland. Previously, he served as the mayor of Baltimore from 1999 to 2007. He is currently the chairman of the Democratic Governors Association.-Early life, education and career:O'Malley...

 administration. On June 19, Mayor Dixon presented her crime plan to 500 Baltimore police officers, but Dixon was attacked by Mitchell and Carter for not doing enough. Dixon's crime plan departed from previous Mayor Martin O'Malley
Martin O'Malley
Martin Joseph O'Malley is an American Democratic politician who is currently serving as the 61st Governor of Maryland. Previously, he served as the mayor of Baltimore from 1999 to 2007. He is currently the chairman of the Democratic Governors Association.-Early life, education and career:O'Malley...

's as it stressed community policing and focusing on apprehending the most violent offenders as opposed to zero tolerance. As of June 19, there were 146 homicides and 340 non-lethal shootings in the city.

According to Johns Hopkins University political scientist Matthew Crenson, "Everybody complains about the homicides, but I think the assumption that many voters make, especially in Baltimore, is that the mayor can't do a lot to reduce the homicide rate. And maybe Keiffer Mitchell made a mistake to make that the focus of his campaign."

Endorsements


By the end of July 2007, Dixon's campaign had been endorsed by the Baltimore Metropolitan Council of the Maryland AFL-CIO collectively as well as several individual union endorsements. Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot
Peter Franchot
Peter V. R. Franchot assumed office as the Comptroller of Maryland in January 2007. He was formerly a member of the Maryland House of Delegates, representing the 20th legislative district in Montgomery County, Maryland from 1987 to 2007.-Education and family:Franchot was born in New Haven,...

 was the only statewide elected official to endorse Dixon until an August 13 rally where Governor Martin O'Malley
Martin O'Malley
Martin Joseph O'Malley is an American Democratic politician who is currently serving as the 61st Governor of Maryland. Previously, he served as the mayor of Baltimore from 1999 to 2007. He is currently the chairman of the Democratic Governors Association.-Early life, education and career:O'Malley...

 gave his endorsement. Former Congressman Kweisi Mfume
Kweisi Mfume
Kweisi Mfume is the former President/CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People , as well as a five-term Democratic Congressman from Maryland's 7th congressional district, serving in the 100th through 104th Congress...

 also endorsed Dixon at the same event in front of Baltimore's City Hall. State Delegates Tom Hucker
Tom Hucker
Tom Hucker is an American elected official and a Democrat from the U.S. state of Maryland. He is currently serving as a member of the Maryland House of Delegates from District 20, which includes Takoma Park and Silver Spring neighborhoods including Hillandale, Woodmoor, White Oak, Indian Spring,...

 (Montgomery County), Maggie McIntosh
Maggie McIntosh
Margaret L. McIntosh, commonly known as Maggie McIntosh, is an American politician from the state of Maryland. The Chairman of the Environmental Matters Committee of the Maryland House of Delegates, she has been a member of the House of Delegates since November 1992...

, Curt Anderson
Curt Anderson
Curtis Stovall Anderson is an American politician, lawyer and former broadcast journalist. Anderson was first elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in 1983, is the chairman of the Baltimore City Delegation, and past chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland. After serving 12...

, Cheryl Glenn
Cheryl Glenn
Cheryl D. Glenn, is a member of the Maryland House of Delegates representing Maryland's 45rd legislative district which is situated in northeast Baltimore.- Background :...

, Melvin L. Stukes
Melvin L. Stukes
Melvin L. Stukes is an American politician who represents the 44th legislative district in the Maryland House of Delegates. Stukes is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland...

, Talmadge Branch
Talmadge Branch
Talmadge Branch is an American politician who represents the 45th legislative district in the Maryland House of Delegates. Branch has been in office since 1995 and is currently the House majority whip...

, Senators Nathaniel J. McFadden
Nathaniel J. McFadden
Nathaniel J. McFadden is an American politician who represents district 45 in the Maryland State Senate and is the Senate's president pro tem.-Background:...

 and Cathy Pugh
Catherine E. Pugh
Catherine E. Pugh is an American politician from Maryland and a member of the Democratic Party. She is currently serving in her 2nd term in the Maryland State Senate, representing Maryland's District 40 in Baltimore City.-Background:...

 and Baltimore City Council members Robert Curran, Bernard "Jack" Young
Bernard C. Young
Bernard C. "Jack" Young is an American politician who serves as President of the Baltimore City Council, formerly representing District 2 and District 12 on the Baltimore City Council.-Background:...

, Ed Reisinger, Stephanie Rawlings Blake
Stephanie Rawlings Blake
Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is an American politician and 57th Mayor of the City of Baltimore. She is Baltimore's second female mayor. Rawlings-Blake succeeded Sheila Dixon as mayor of Baltimore when Dixon resigned due to a conviction for embezzlement.-Background:Rawlings-Blake was born in Baltimore,...

 and Agnes Welch have endorsed Dixon and were at the rally as well.

Victory


Dixon won the 2007 Baltimore Democratic Mayoral Primary over her closest opponent, Keiffer J. Mitchell, Jr., with 63 percent of the total votes; she won against Republican Elbert Henderson in the general election in November.

2007 Primary Election results


The final, official results for the Democratic primary, as reported on the city of Baltimore's election board Web site.
Candidate Votes %
Sheila Dixon 54,381 63.1%
Keiffer J. Mitchell, Jr. 20,376 23.7%
Andrey Bundley 6,543 7.6%
Jill P. Carter 2,372 2.8%
A. Robert Kaufman 885 1.0%
Mike Schaefer 762 0.9%
Frank Conaway 533 0.6%
Phillip Brown 273 0.3%


Republican candidate Elbert Henderson ran unopposed in the Republican primary.

2007 General Election results


These are the final, official results for the General election, as reported on the city of Baltimore's election board Web site.
Candidate Votes %
Sheila Dixon 36,726 87.7%
Elbert Henderson 5,139 12.3%

External links