Baltimore’s new mayor: Sheila Dixon, shares her perspective with GBC board

The week before her swearing in as Baltimore’s new mayor, Sheila Dixon met with the Greater Baltimore Committee’s board of directors, vowing to embrace an active “growth agenda” and to craft a comprehensive plan for improving the city’s public safety.

Dixon told GBC board members at their January 12 meeting that she doesn’t want “things to come to a halt” in city government because of political agendas surrounding the mayoral elections later this year.

Dixon, who has served as Baltimore City Council president since 1999, became the city’s mayor when former Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley was sworn in as Maryland’s governor on January 17. Dixon will run to keep the mayor’s office in the fall 2007 elections, and is expected to face several challengers in the Sept. 12 Democratic primary election.

Dixon will work to foster a more effective city government, and will keep the CityStat process, with “some adjustments,” she said.

Her administration will also work to foster a “new era of cooperation” between law enforcement agencies in the city and intends to craft a comprehensive plan for improving public safety, Dixon said. Her plan will include some new ideas, among them a more “holistic” approach to fighting crime and “more sensitivity” toward communities, she added.

The city’s master plan is compatible with the GBC’s priorities of life sciences, transportation, and Bridging the Gap, the GBC’s minority business development initiative, Dixon noted.

In the area of life sciences, her administration will be committed to moving the east Baltimore biopark project and neighborhood revitalization ahead “so that people can benefit as a result of what happens there,” she said.

“The Transportation Department is one of the most important economic development agencies that the city has,” she told GBC board members. She said one of the things she intends to address is synchronizing traffic lights, “a pet peeve of mine.”

Dixon said she is “very committed to small and minority businesses working with majority companies” and vowed to reinvigorate the city’s minority business development efforts.

More information on the new Dixon administration and a link to Mayor Dixon’s January 18 inaugural address.

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