Maryland’s Marty O’Gov Turns His Back on Fallen Mayor Dixon!

“Better an honest enemy than a false friend.”

— Old German Proverb

On Jan. 6, 2010, Baltimore City’s Mayor Sheila Dixon, age 56, copped a controversial plea deal with the State Prosecutor on the criminal charges pending against her. As a result, she will vacate her office on Feb. 4, 2010. You could almost seeing it coming. After she was convicted by a jury on Dec. 1, 2009, of stealing $530 worth of gift cards, which were slated for the “poor and needy” of the city, the people began to turn against her. She also had a perjury trial awaiting her in March, 2010. [1] Dixon, never short on chutzpah, dared to show up in the Hampden neighborhood of the city for its annual “Mayor’s Christmas Parade.” Big mistake!

She was roundly mocked as her car slowly passed along parts of the parade route. Hampden is the undisputed “Hon” capital of the Free World, where an annual “Honfest,” inspired by the films of the iconic John Waters, is held. Bottom line: Sheila Dixon is no longer a “Hon!”

Before the ink was dry on the plea deal, Dixon was fast, too, becoming a non-person. Maryland’s Governor, Martin O’Malley, aka Marty O’Gov, issued a statement on the case. He didn’t even mention Dixon’s name in it! Shades of the dictator Joe Stalin making Leon Trotsky disappear from out of his seminal role in the Russian Revolution! The shabby process of airbrushing Dixon out of the history of the city had begun in ernest. Are they now taking her portrait down at City Hall or will they wait a little longer?

You wouldn’t know from his press release that Marty O’Gov had worked closely with Dixon for years in City Hall. She was President of the City Council, when he was the mayor (1999-2007). (In his official state bio, Marty O’Gov refers to himself as a “fearless, intelligent public servant.” You can’t make this stuff up!) [2]

In any event, the then-dynamic duo of O’Malley and Dixon were literally two peas in a pod. This is when another creative wizard, David Simon, was shooting the celebrate “HBO, ‘The Wire,'” in town. [3] With all this crap currently going down, I hope he does a sequel and/or John Waters does a movie about this soap opera-like drama. [1] Dixon will, shortly, be out of work, so maybe she can play herself! When Marty O’Gov left for his Annapolis post, on January 17, 2007, Dixon took over at City Hall as the new Czarette. She was the first female mayor of the city, too. It is just so true that politicians can be such back stabbers, if it suits their selfish purposes. No wonder President Harry S. Truman once said: “If you want a friend in Washington? Get a dog!”

Here are Marty O’Gov’s exact words, just two sentences, on Dixon’s final exit from the halls of power at City Hall: “This is a ‘difficult day’ in the history of our city. All of us need to support Council President Rawlings-Blake as she takes on the critically important work of leading Baltimore’s progress as our new mayor.”

Now, just imagine if Marty O’Gov had witnessed a public execution. Then, he barked afterwards, that it was a “difficult day” for those who watched the lethal injection, without bothering to even mention the name of the unfortunate inmate who was being sent on his way to meet his Maker. How grossly insensitive of him. Marty O’Gov’s deliberate slight may have been the deepest cut for Dixon to suffer on Jan. 6th. Didn’t the great Caesar say as his cowardly assassins stuck their daggers, again and again, into him: “Et tu, Brute?” Is Dixon thinking today in her overwhelming grief: “Et tu, Marty O’Gov?”

Yes, Dixon is a crook! Certainly, she’s not a big league crook. (Think the Wall Street Mob!) Dixon, a supposed shopaholic, stole $530 worth of gift cards. I said $530! The jury of Dixon’s peers found that to be true and nothing more! $530 and that is it!

Let me say this: The jury “struggled” to reach its verdict of guilt on the single count of theft. If, one, Dixon would had taken the stand in her own defense, (and there were plenty of good legal reasons why she just couldn’t), she may had walked out of that court room a free woman! Or, two, if her ex-boy friend, the character with the cute little mustache, Ronald H. Lipscomb, would have testified for the state, there might, too, have been a much different outcome. I’m sure, if one and/or two had occurred, Dixon’s very capable defense lawyers could have built up a solid “reasonable doubt” argument for the jury to consider as a basis for finding her “not guilty.” None of the above happened, however, which I think is a tribute to the skill of the state prosecutor, Robert A. Rohrbaugh. He’s not a colorful trial lawyer, but I think, at the end of the day, he outfoxed the defense.

The citizens of Baltimore should be taking their hats off to Robert A. Rohrbaugh and stop whining about the plea deal. Do you think it was easy for him to get a jury in Baltimore City to find an incumbent, fairly popular, city mayor guilty of stealing $530? Huh! As Mayor, she was the presiding office of the Board of Estimates, which rules annually on billions of dollars of municipal contracts. And, the state’s case, after years of investigating her, came down to a lousy $530! Tough place for any prosecutor to be in, but Rohrbaugh, and his very capable team, pulled it off.

Under the agreement, approved by the Trial Judge, the Hon. Dennis M. Sweeney, Dixon will have to donate $45,000 to charity, and also do 500 hours of community service, within the next four years. Then, if she fulfills all the conditions, her conviction will be fully wiped clean and the perjury case dropped. (Incidentally, Judge Sweeney did a terrific job presiding over this case.) Most importantly, Dixon is out as mayor! She does, however, get to keep her pension of about $83,000 a year. She has had city or state jobs for about 23 years of her life. Plus, she’s going to have to pay her enormous legal fees. Dixon had seven lawyers, four more than Saddam Hussein had! Some, such as Arnold Weiner, are the very best that you can find in the Baltimore/DC area. I’m sure Dixon’s Estate will be paying off these lawyers long after she’s “shuffled off this mortal coil,” as Will Shakespeare might say.

Now, Baltimore City will soon have a new Hon! Her title, beginning on Feb. 4th, will be: Mayor Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake. I wish her the very best in her new post. She’s going to need it!

Summing up, Dixon alone is responsible for her own downfall. Nevertheless, the words of Arthur Schopenhauer came to my mind as I reviewed Marty O’Gov’s editing the ill-fated Dixon out of public life. The German philosopher wrote that “almost all our sorrows spring out of our relationship with other people.” Jean-Paul Sartre, another brilliant philosopher, would agree. He said: “Hell is other people!” It was almost as if the two wise men could see Dixon taking that final cut from her ex-once-trusted crony–Marty O’Gov!