But on Wednesday, Dixon resisted her hard-edged inclinations and pleaded guilty to a charge of perjury, halting a political career built through steely determination and an ability to connect with average people in her hometown.
At a City Hall news conference convened after her final courtroom appearance, Dixon displayed a little-glimpsed vulnerable side, choking on tears and taking some responsibility for her legal woes.But the grit soon returned. She refused to apologize for mistakes and continued to blame others for the turmoil the city has experienced during a long probe into City Hall corruption that culminated with a criminal trial on charges that she stole gifts intended for needy families. "I can't explain why the citizens had to go through this," Dixon said. "I think the citizens have to ask the prosecutors, not me."
That aggressive personality served her well for years.
As mayor, she harangued local businesses to provide jobs for her favored YouthWorks program, attacked the city's stubborn crime problem, began construction on a new homeless center and overhauled garbage pickup schedules.