Friday, January 16, 2009

Shelia Dixon: The Female Kwame Kilpatrick?!?

It's seemingly always one step forward, two steps back for black politicians. For every Corey Booker, there a Sharpe James and a Bill Campbell. For every Obama, there's a Charlie Rangel and a William Jefferson. Show me Deval Patrick, I'll front you Marion Barry and Larry Langford. It's like brothas get elected and lose their damn minds.

Comparatively, few black female politricians have been caught up in such Negro Nonsense, but Baltimore mayor Sheila Dixon[1] is intent on putting some cracks in this particular glass ceiling.
Baltimore Mayor Sheila A. Dixon was charged today with 12 counts of felony theft, perjury, fraud and misconduct in office, becoming the city's first sitting mayor to be criminally indicted.

The case stems in part from at least $15,348 in gifts Dixon allegedly received from her former boyfriend, prominent city developer Ronald H. Lipscomb, while she was City Council president. She also is accused of using as much as $3,400 in gift cards, some donated to her office for distribution to "needy families," to purchase Best Buy electronics and other items for herself and her staff.

Lipscomb was not indicted in the Dixon case, but he and City Councilwoman Helen L. Holton were charged this week in a separate $12,500 bribery scheme. Both cases grew out of a nearly three-year probe by the state prosecutor into City Hall corruption.

The investigation has hung over Dixon, a Democrat, even as she became the city's first female mayor and oversaw a significant decrease in the city's homicide rate, reducing killings to a 20-year low. Viewed as an energetic and charismatic leader, she has earned praise from residents for implementing an easy-to-use recycling program and displaying a willingness to tackle the city's systemic racial and economic disparities.

If convicted on all charges, the 55-year-old former teacher and mother of two could be sentenced to 85 years in prison. The most serious charges, two counts of felony theft, each carry a possible 15-year prison term.

The City Hall corruption probe dates to the fall of 2003, when federal authorities subpoenaed five years' worth of financial records from all City Council members. When that inquiry ended 18 months later with no charges filed, Weiner said, Rohrbaugh began an investigation of his own.

That state investigation eventually spanned as many as nine Baltimore grand juries. Weiner called it the longest and most expensive public corruption investigation he had ever seen.

In the end, a Baltimore Circuit Court grand jury that expired today returned a 31-page indictment of the mayor.

One theft charge involves misconduct in December 2007, when Dixon was mayor. According to the indictment, a Baltimore housing employee purchased Toys R Us gift cards to be distributed to underprivileged children during a holiday event. Dixon allegedly gave one of those gift cards to a member of her staff, and five others were discovered at her West Baltimore house when investigators raided it in June.

Among other accusations: In 2004, 2005 and 2006, Dixon solicited gift cards - to Target, Best Buy, Old Navy and Circuit City -- from two developers. She then used some of the cards to purchase a PlayStation2 controller, a PlayStation Portable, a Samsung digital camcorder and other items she either kept or gave to staff members as Christmas presents, the indictment said.
This is like a bad plot line from The Wire, but the allegations are more lame than detestable.

And yeah, I already know, she ain't the first black female politrician to mess up. Maxine Waters, Carol Moseley Braun, and Dianne Wilkerson are some others. But seriously Shelia, you're giving it all up for some friggin' Playstation 2 controllers? Step your embezzlement game up and aim for a PS3 at least. The soft biggotry of low expectations. Sheesh.

You know it's a really effed' up situation when even I have no pithy remarks to add.

Get ya' mind right, Shelia.

Question: What was Shelia Dixon thinking? Are black male politricians more corrupt than black female politricians, or are all politricians just shady by nature, regardless of race, gender, or party?

Mayor Sheila Dixon indicted [B'MoreSun]

[1] CyberCapriSuns™ to the first person to name the NBA player who is Shelia Dixon's nephew.

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