Dixon Gone, Baltimore Corruption Remains

Sheila Dixon took an Alford plea and copped to taking “thousands of dollars in cash, fur coats, travel and other gifts from Ronald H. Lipscomb, a prominent developer who received tax breaks from the city.” Lipscomb also paid her American Express credit card bill after an extravagant Chicago shopping spree.

As part of the plea bargain Dixon will receive probation before judgment, pay $45,000 to a charity, perform 500 hours of community service and resign her office next month. However, Dixon will still keep her (tax payer funded) $83,000 a year pension and is barred from running for elective office for a mere two years. Although out of power, with that kind of scratch she still may be able to “buy quality.”

In a teary, self-serving statement Dixon did not apologize for her crimes and breach of public trust.

Thus ends pathetic epoch of Sheila Dixon.

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However, as I wrote late last month, it’s easy to dislike the arrogant and self-entitled Dixon she’s but a symptom of a larger problem. Dixon may be on her way out, but the development-political complex—the system by which developers pay tribute i.e., campaign cash, in Lipscomb’s case satiating Dixon’s shopping jones—in return for lavish tax breaks for their über development projects—remains.

It is the planned, controlled, subsidized failure of the city.

The development-political complex is a metastasizing cancer on the city’s body politic and economic health. Dixon is merely an excised limb. Unfortunately city politicians do not want to be cured, because ending the current system means giving up the power it provides them.

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