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New spot for Mitchell continues to criticize Dixon on crime, ethics

The Baltimore Sun

City Councilman Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr. has aired his latest ad in a series dealing with crime and questions about Mayor Sheila Dixon's ethics. This advertisement, which was released yesterday, is Mitchell's sixth and the 10th overall in the race.

What the ad says: A drum solo kicks off the ad as the camera shows a television set sitting on marble steps. The television is showing a Dixon ad critical of Mitchell. The councilman says, "While the interim mayor runs silly ads attacking me, on the streets she's lost control of the murder crisis. No wonder. She's got fewer police on the streets, she's mismanaged the Fire Department, and now she's under investigation for corrupt, no-bid contracts to her friends." As Mitchell hits his attack points, a grainy shot of Dixon is seen.

Next, Mitchell is back on the streets, and viewers see the same stock video he's used in past ads. "I'll hire 400 more police, serve outstanding warrants and expand after-school programs. There's a murder crisis. The interim mayor has lost control. It's time for a change." In a graphic, the ad notes Mitchell's endorsement by the police union.

The facts:"Lost control" is one of Mitchell's new mantras. Is he suggesting police are no longer doing their jobs because of the election? Is the insinuation that criminals are more likely to kill because Dixon is in office? Neither is likely true. Mitchell would say there has been a lack of leadership from City Hall -- but that is more subjective. There do appear to be fewer officers on the streets. The city has recruited 461 officers in the past two years but has lost 532 during that period -- a net loss of 71, according to the union.

It's not clear how "mismanaging" the Fire Department relates to homicides, but Mitchell is referring to the Feb. 9 training death of fire cadet Racheal M. Wilson. Many of the problems that took place in that training were likely carried over from the prior administration.

A week ago, it was not clear whether the state prosecutor was still investigating a series of city payments made at the direction of the City Council president's office to her former campaign chairman. The mayor herself confirmed this week that the investigation continues.

Analysis: Mitchell, as the only mayoral challenger airing television ads, is working hard to cut into Dixon's apparent lead. He continues to push her negatives.

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