Andrea Batista Schlesinger
Mayor Sheila Dixon: “Wars in our city”
Sheila Dixon of Baltimore is the most recently elected Mayor we interviewed . But she already has her priorities straight -- tackling crime, guns and the flow of drugs into her inner city.
"I want to see one of the candidates come up with a comprehensive plan to eliminate the tide of drugs coming into our country," the Mayor told us. "I mean, we have wars here in our city. We should be making strides in that area, but its something I never hear [the presidential candidates] talk about."
She's right, of course. The '08 presidential race has distinctly eschewed issues of inner city violence and drug trade. Perhaps it's a blessing that we haven't had Willie Horton-style attack ads that demonize urban people of color; but we also haven't had any substantive talk about America's drug problem (the illegal one, not the prescription one).
Maybe not surprisingly, then, Mayor Dixon has yet to endorse a presidential candidate. "I've had a couple conversations with a couple candidates," said the Mayor, "and my first question is, What is your platform for urban issues? ... And then, what kind of commitment will they make for following up?"
For cities like Baltimore to not just get a lot more hot air, it's the latter question that matters. Good thing that Mayor Dixon is asking. Hopefully she gets a truthful answer.