Readers Speakout On Mayor Sheila Dixon's Indictment


January 14, 2009

I was confused about the charges against Mayor Sheila Dixon, but thanks to the politicians and law professors supporting Ms. Dixon, I now understand: Apparently it's OK allegedly to steal if you steal a small amount ("'That's all they've got?' Rising to her defense," Jan. 10).

Ronald W. Walters, a professor at the University of Maryland, College Park, says, "That's all they've got?" And Larry Gibson, a professor at the University of Maryland law school, finds the case "underwhelming," according to The Baltimore Sun.

What makes me sad is that so many citizens seem to expect their leaders to steal and lie, as long as they steal a little and tell small lies. And they apparently think it is OK for our leaders allegedly to commit perjury on their financial disclosure forms, as long as their falsehoods are small ones.

I do not believe Ms. Dixon should step down. She is innocent until proved guilty. But let's not minimize the charges by suggesting that it's OK to lie and steal if a leader only does it a little bit because that's what we expect of our politicians.

Donna Merson, Perry Hall

In an effort to avoid wasting even more time, let me cut to the chase: Mayor Sheila Dixon is the best thing to happen to Baltimore since "The Star-Spangled Banner." Yet an ill wind blows from a state prosecutor ("Indicted," Jan. 10).

Perhaps there were indiscretions committed by the mayor, perhaps not. As an average citizen of Baltimore who helped elect the charismatic, popular mayor by an overwhelming margin, I'm simply not privy to less spurious, less circumstantial evidence than what has been disclosed so far.

I'm not saying that the prosecutor is a needling, shameless, self-promoting gadfly who enjoys stealing thunder and troubling waters. What I am suggesting is that if this issue is merely a question of appropriating gift cards to buy video games, then let's let it be.

As for that fur coat - please. Mayors get chilly, too. After all, who really knows? Perhaps that's an issue best left up to Ms. Dixon, her maker and, maybe, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Now, can we move on? If my memory serves correctly, there's a city to be run, and in my memory, no one has run a tighter, more efficient or more promising ship than Ms. Dixon. .

Tracy Stott, Baltimore

It's no wonder we are having trouble getting today's youths to embrace honesty when we see our leaders make statements such as "That's all they've got?" about the charges against Mayor Sheila Dixon.

Such statements imply that it's OK to be a little shady, a little dirty, a little selfish, especially if you've done good.

Ms. Dixon might be exceeding all expectations in her performance as mayor, but if any one of the allegations against her proves correct, she should be disgraced and displaced as quickly as possible.

Maybe then our kids will realize the importance of being forthright.

John Frey, Ellicott City

I have lived in Baltimore for the lion's share of my 49 years, and I do not think that the mayor should resign.

I think the conviction of Gov. Marvin Mandel was the greatest injustice in the state's history. He gave up his power during the trial but was later vindicated after many years.

Juries in Maryland have often proved that they can see though such malarkey, notably in the trial of former state Sen. Larry Young.

Mayor Sheila Dixon should serve at least until the conclusion of her trial. Denny Olver, Baltimore

Go visit a pocket of poverty in Charm City. Look around.

Then imagine someone taking even one gift card that was intended to help the people on this street.

Melissa Dart, Baltimore

Before we get out our pitchforks and torches, let's remember what an indictment is and what it is not.

An indictment means that a group of regular people, randomly chosen to serve on a grand jury, has heard a state prosecutor accuse someone of a crime and decided that accusation is plausible.

It is not a guilty verdict. It does not mean that anyone has proved anything about anyone.

Meanwhile, Mayor Sheila Dixon (working with the City Council) has given us a single-stream recycling program, made progress on improving our roads, instituted policies that encourage bicycling and public transit use and in many other ways done an excellent job as mayor.

So, for the moment, let's allow the justice system to do its job.

And before we condemn Ms. Dixon, let's remember that being accused is not at all the same thing as being guilty.

Craig Bettenhausen, Baltimore

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