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Our Maryland Crab Cake Tour returned to Faidley’s in the new Lexington Market with another extended chat with former Mayor Sheila Dixon, who tells Nestor why she wants to lead Baltimore again and ways that our city could improve.

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

city, people, work, mayor, crime, neighborhoods, talked, baltimore, families, support, years, inner harbor, sheila dixon, community, person, meet, county, day, sheila, key

SPEAKERS

Nestor J. Aparicio, Sheila Dixon

Nestor J. Aparicio  00:00

Welcome home we are W NSGA and 5070, Towson, Baltimore and Baltimore positive we’re fading these were the new families. My guest has been at the old fake news with me it’s all brought to you by our friends at the Maryland lottery I’ll be giving away so many these PacMan scratch offs that just, well, I just got them today and everybody loves Pac Man. You know that Maryland lottery brings us here. We’ll be here two weeks from today with Luke Thiru vignarajah will be or wherever the other Mayor candidates as well. Sheila Dixon is here former mayor so it’s crazy because like traffic’s been a little nuts tonight because you’re a couple minutes late getting here. And I’m talking to people and fans and whatnot. We had we had Shannon Sneed here. I had Luke here. We talked about the new families. And right before you walk in key for Mitchell wall, yeah. And I’m like, Hey, Keith, what’s up?

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00:46

How you doing? You? Come

Nestor J. Aparicio  00:47

on. He’s like, Madam Mayor. And you know, Moeller always told me that I have to always refer to all electeds. By he has to be county executive. Now, Mike, you’ve been done to me since 1982. But like, how many people call you Madam Mayor? How many people call you Sheila? You

Sheila Dixon  01:05

know, it’s interesting, because it’s a mix. There are people who are the political arena will call me Madam Mayor ever, you can call on call the man forever. My forever, man. Oh, I’m called Sheila on call Miss Dixon on call Sheila Dixon even called

Nestor J. Aparicio  01:23

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all sorts of things. But you know, that I have? Where are you? How you doing? I mean, I keep at this, when you asked me about you. Like, well, I lived in a city for 20 years, right? So voted for you voted against you had you on the show. But you’re relentless man. I mean, well, I

Sheila Dixon  01:40

just I wasn’t gonna get into this race. This time. I really wasn’t. I love my private life. I love what you’re doing this, I had a lot of people will first of all try to work with a current man, Mara Scott, I really did try to advise him, try to work with him, even suggested when his city administrator left Chris shorter, hey, I would love to come in and get these agencies straight. If you give me the authority to do that, I would love to have been a part of that. But he made another choice. And I just felt that things weren’t not going in the right direction. You know, don’t have a criticism against the people who work for him because everybody’s good people. But people. So many agencies are dysfunctional, you know, you might have trash just start with trash. Well, look how long it took to get

Nestor J. Aparicio  02:35

your brother take take, look how long

Sheila Dixon  02:37

it took to get the recycling back. I wouldn’t have done COVID Yes, we may be needed to order new trucks and dent things. But I would have had a private company come in and partner. Actually one of my clients ended up partnering with the city to pick up the trash doing COVID. But every agency’s is dysfunctional, and people want good quality service. People want to save city, crime has gone down a little bit. And I contribute that to a lot of factors I contributed to in 2023, we had a new state’s attorney who said bring it to fresh, we had a federal we have a federal prosecutor who said hey, if we can’t get you this way, we’re gonna be getting you another way. And then the mass apps are good, isn’t it isn’t good. And it’s not about just locking up everybody but most violent offenders who are committing these murders, guns, that on our street, we Baltimore should not be where we are today. And quality of life crime, when you walk out of your door in the morning to go to work and your car is stolen. You know, that’s an issue because that’s an impact on a person in their family. And that’s why I supported Ivan Bates, the state’s attorney. And that’s why I support the citation dockets because it’s not about locking up, but it’s about hey, if you’re going to commit these low line crimes, then you’re gonna have to pay the consequences and be accountable. And so if it might mean if you’re loitering out in a neighborhood, like on Pennsylvania Avenue, I know on North Avenue and Bloomingdale and Poplar Grove, and his trash all up and down, and there’s young men and that there day in and day out, I drive by there every day to go to the gym or to go to my office. Those individual be getting a citation but they also be cleaning up that community of it and then they’ll realize hey, I don’t need to hang out here. Let me get what I gotta get from the store and then we go either to school, or go to work, or go do something because that the tears and takes away from the community. And people that’s what most people are concerned about people. I meet with seniors, older adults, they don’t want to go out even during the day or in the evening. People shouldn’t live in fear.

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Nestor J. Aparicio  04:52

Well, I left the city two years ago and not on purpose I left because my place sold. And you know, for me the The notion that people would leave the city because they’re they’re fearful. I didn’t leave for any of those reasons. It’s not where I left because we didn’t have outdoor space. My wife wanted to grow a garden, literally.

Sheila Dixon  05:11

Are you gonna call on the guy giving you a plan? Listen,

Nestor J. Aparicio  05:16

I’m in a city right now. I’ll be here Sunday for the game. I’m going to city three, four days a week. I love the city. Except that I wouldn’t move back. But I, for me, the crime part of it and the perception once I get to the county, once I get to the county and say you go to the game tonight, you go into the CFG banker, and as a consequence, he or she will see Janet Jackson will see the Eagles she burst or whatever it is. Well, you know, I don’t go to the Trump voters. I don’t go to this was not just to try to get that person. Yeah, I mean, Fox 45 person, that’s a different person.

Sheila Dixon  05:44

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There are people who now don’t come into the city because they have businesses and restaurants in in Bama County. In other parts of the county. We found other words to go yes. Right. Right. But we need them to come back.

Nestor J. Aparicio  05:58

Here you can only see crayons and JC see Billy Joel here. We have to come in here. Yes.

Sheila Dixon  06:03

Well, you do. But you can go to another arena in another city? Well, I do support that arena here.

Nestor J. Aparicio  06:10

I will honestly say there’s no say there’s the brand. And whenever I saw him two weeks ago, I think the city has gotten better the last couple of years better since I left it quite frankly. But I mean, COVID was a special circumstance, in so many ways due to Freddie Gray, Freddie Gray, Trump and COVID. That was that, and then we’ll get the Key Bridge.

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Sheila Dixon  06:29

But the but the Freddie Gray incident that happened should not have taken us to the level of violent crime that has happened in the city. And then COVID When Mayor Scott said when he was elected, he was going to drop crime 50% every year for those gears crime got out of control. But we were all home. So why would you would think that crime it would go down, crime is going down nationally. But I believe that quality of life, what impacts people in neighborhoods is what is causing people to say, I’m picking up I’m leaving our schools, young families will start off in Baltimore City. But when their kids get of school age, and they can’t afford a private school, they’re gonna go to Howard County, and wonder County, other counties, Baltimore County now is questionable because of what’s happening at some of the schools, the violence and unsafe goodness, you know, but education is another factor. And that’s as a former educator, I believe that we got to get a handle on our young people, because that’s where opportunities happen. When you’re in school and work with those families. That’s where the change can happen. For individuals, even if they’re in an impoverished community. Education is the key. And as mayor and I point, seven of the school board members, it’s important to be engaged and involved, we have a mandate. It’s by law, the state law where we have to contribute X amount of dollars. And we would want to so it’s not something where the mayor is doing this on his own. This is a mandate from the state. But we have to be engaged and involved with our education system, with families with young people, and try to focus on things that we can do to help and I believe in community schools, where we create partnerships. So there’s a lot of things but we got to clean up the city. You know, we’re the dirtiest city in America.

Nestor J. Aparicio  08:26

Why do you say that?

Sheila Dixon  08:26

We’re no, it’s based on the number of complaints that go to 311. It’s based on the dumping that takes place, it’s based on neighborhoods that are filthy dirty, I mean, you go to other cities, you can go to other counties, and you see a difference in that. So we have to step up to provide quality service to our constituents, because we pay high taxes in the city, who pay high taxes, individuals who don’t necessarily own a home, contribute to piggyback tax, but we need them to know that we’re going to meet their needs and provide the kind of quality services Sheila Dixon

Nestor J. Aparicio  09:04

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is our guest where it fade leads to new families. Beautiful and here, right? I mean, it is, things getting better in the city. This is you know, this is an area and a place that things are getting that are getting better. And for you to run against Brandon and say, you want to do things differently. Give me two or three things that you would manage differently. We talked about trash, and crime and youth crimes and and all the prosecution part of all of that and bringing kids back out on the street that are committing crimes or 1314 15 will be done with their parents, but where are you with Brent?

Sheila Dixon  09:37

So number one and you want to change so number one, city employees and not back to work. And one of the ways to get people to be interactive, not by Aegis emails, but people need to be back to work or work for city government. And we need the kind of assistance to our constituents. So they understand that At those who work for city government, they work for the taxpayers. So to be able to leave a message or the email and somebody gets back to you three weeks from now, when you have a dying issue that needs attention, you know, you shouldn’t have to go to your council person, you should be able to contact that agency. If it’s a water bill issue, whatever the issue is pothole, pothole, they get it resolved. So it’s about management. It’s about attracting and that I had a reputation of having a good team of people who worked with me, you know, go back to the schools, I want to create more community schools when we look and assess the schools and determine what the needs are. And then we partner with a nonprofit community and our business community to bring those resources in the school, I believe we need to extend the school day so that young people can get that extra tutorial support that’s needed. Or in the evening, that garden or parent might need to take some computer classes on the training themselves was all wrapped around thing. That’s so important, but as quality wrap around, yes. And in working with those families, we shouldn’t pass a child until they master the skill. And everyone learns differently, you know, allow young people that are out here committing some of these car jacks, etc. It’s a truancy issue. They’re not in school, nobody’s guiding them. We can talk about wraparound service, what kind of quality service so third thing that I will do, I will assess all the different programs because we have a lot in Baltimore City that people can take advantage of. So when people said we don’t have this and that we have everything we need but it’s a matter of assessing it determining what’s working and what’s not and building on that

Nestor J. Aparicio  11:45

she’ll edition this year, she’s running night and give everybody the load and Shannon Lester stuff back here early ballot two to nine of May, Election Day is the 14th and make sure that he knows when an election

Sheila Dixon  11:56

a lot of people are doing mail and mail in ballots as well have a mailing guy Leah molar was, was I was Overton’s COVID I’m a male in person as well. And, and that’s important. So but we got a presidential election. We have a senatorial election, we have a congressional election, and we have the local election. But for me, it’s how do we not only motivate people to be more engaged and involved in the process, and I had and I have a good reputation of doing that on top of, of quality of life crime and in partnering with the state’s attorney and other publics, public safety entities, it’s also about how do we get our neighborhoods and communities engage with city government, because we have to represent everybody in the city, not one segment or another everybody as mayor, you have to represent and you have to be that cheerleader, you have to be that one that that motivates and provide that kind of support to show people that we’re going to we’re in this together, we’re going to work. And my ultimate goal is I want to set systems in place that are effective that are working. And that 10 years from now, whoever’s around, they will see that they can build on this. And we’re not talking about the same issues that we are talking about today. We

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Nestor J. Aparicio  13:20

told me the same issues back when you ran back when your transgressions. It’s the same city, right? It’s

Sheila Dixon  13:26

the same issues.

13:27

When people told you

Nestor J. Aparicio  13:28

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when people they talked about your management and obviously transgressions, and you’re always trying to get the faith of people back. And I’ll give you that opportunity to say, Hey, you didn’t vote for me last time. Why would I vote for you this time, but there are a lot of people and I’ve seen it through the city endorsing you who last time around said, I like Sheila, but we’re not going to vote. We did that before that now are on your team that have come back to you. Yeah, I find that to be an interesting thing, just from the county watching it. I haven’t talked to some of these electeds. But a lot of people are endorsing you lately. What do you make of that for your reputation, and for what’s happened over the last four years or eight years that that you’ve won them over? You’ve

Sheila Dixon  14:07

won, I think it’s a combination thing. I think people have gotten to know who I am as a person. People respect the fact that when I did manage city government, through a recession, a historic recession, with hardly any money, but we were able to build a lot. And I’m humbled that people are that looking back and looking at some of the mistakes, but they know that I can move the city forward in a way with a vision, but also implementing that vision in a timely manner, in a way that will see results sooner than later.

Nestor J. Aparicio  14:44

And the trust part,

Sheila Dixon  14:45

I know I have to gain the public’s trust back. And I’m going to be transparent. You know when when you make a mistake, you learn from that mistake. And you build on that and you so I know I have to be transparent. I mean, I know I have to be true. Following everything that goes on, I want to make sure city government is transparent. Because right now it’s not there are a lot of things that go on and city government, you’re the conduit deal that the mayor pushed through. That wasn’t a transparent process we gave away to be Gen II. Well, we could have done just like we’ve done in the past. Yes, we know that the conduits need to be, we need to capitalize on building those conduits. But what we’ve done in the past is we increase the conduit fees, because that’s one of the areas in the city that we own, but to just give it away and not be transparent about it and not have discussions with the City Council or the board of estimates. Something’s wrong with it, I can go point by point about where this current man hasn’t been transparent. Me, Where’s he been for three years now all of a sudden, we get a press conference with a press release every week on something that he’s doing. You got to even do on COVID, you still have to make the city run effectively, while you’re dealing with other issues as well. We had a lot of our hospitals that stepped up. And the truth be told, who actually provided the support for the city with COVID, vaccinations and other things where I thought the health department had been doing that. But it was actually the hospitals amongst themselves came together said, we got to do this, we got to step up and work because it wasn’t coming out of the Health Department. And the last thing that I focus on as mayor, because we have great institutions in this city. We’re number one in cardiovascular, we’re number one along with PG County and dementia and Alzheimer’s. Health, for me is probably one of the biggest factors that could just change what we’re doing in the city. And that’s an area that I’ve always pushed. And I’m going to continue to push that area to figure out how we can address lead diabeetus you know, cardiovascular and all of these factors, that if we have a healthy city, many of the challenges that we face, I think we’ll be eliminated and we got

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Nestor J. Aparicio  17:07

to get people on him. Well, right. I

Sheila Dixon  17:10

mean, yeah, a lot of people on that ride in the bike lanes that we have, we got more bike lanes, but people aren’t on the bike lanes.

Nestor J. Aparicio  17:17

I saw him over by Morgan State because I was over Coco’s couple weeks ago doing a show and I saw trash in a bike lanes, and I’m like, Ah, god, it’s another place we can make a mess here. She’ll addiction to your inner harbor. You’ve seen I mean, you know, we’re sort of the same age we remember being open. We remember going into receivership, I lived across the street from there. You know, I bought a condo, I lost a quarter million dollars owning a condo for 20 years in the city, the bath my biggest investment in my life. So that’s the reason I was going to run for mayor four years ago, which began all of this right. I have so much respect for you. And for Shannon, for all of you who are running, put yourself out there in this way, the Inner Harbor thing give me soup to nuts on that. Because had you been the mayor that would have wound up on your desk if it was a problem that needs to get solved? Yes, it

Sheila Dixon  18:05

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does. And David Bramble has bought the properties on in Harbor, because it did go on receivership. And the city owns the land, and the voters will be able to vote in November. I strongly believe that I don’t know if we need 900 Apartments at the harbor because I want it to be a mix. I want it to be something that will attract tourists, I want it to be something that will attract people from the from the region as well as city residents to come down and enjoy it. So maybe so there’s, I think that he’s been compromised, maybe less, maybe 450 apartments with all the other amenities that are going to track people to the Inner Harbor. And so but people have the choice in November to determine if they wanted to go on the route that it’s gonna go on that I just hope and pray that the developer David Bramble will look in there and hear not only the concerns that people have, but try to balance what we do there. Because for me, if you go to Black Silver, you lost money in a condo you bought if you go over Lombard red wood, Calvin, Baltimore, that area is dead. It’s nothing but a lot of vacant properties. Close restaurant. So when we talk about downtown, we need to have that vision to cover those areas as well.

Nestor J. Aparicio  19:29

Um, first day in office, wouldn’t we you if you get elected, and there’s certainly a good chance. I mean, I’ve read the polls that you can be back in that seat. You waited a long time to get back there. We talked about trust and problems and your reputation. You might be back in that chair again, what’s first couple things you’re gonna do if you’re the mayor,

Sheila Dixon  19:46

the first couple things that I’m gonna do is one, reach out to all those employees and say, Hey, we got to come back five days a week. We need people to be in downtown If you work in City Hall for 17 I forgot the Benson building or if you work in the War Memorial Building, we need people back to work services to serve as a citizen, answering the phone, opening the doors for people to come down to be able to get a permit, and I have to work six months.

Nestor J. Aparicio  20:21

We’re in fails. Every person I know that opens any business in the city, I’m waiting on permits, I’m I have

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Sheila Dixon  20:28

a whole suite of private sector, people who are going to help me reconfigure

Nestor J. Aparicio  20:35

this more than you, I can’t get open. I can’t thank

Sheila Dixon  20:37

you. And they in itself, that’s a money generating department need to be open not somebody’s not going to be in the office. So three weeks from now. So I’m gonna go around and meet with the city employees and all the departments, I really have a conversation. From your perspective. I don’t know how long you’ve been working here. What things do you see we could do to improve upon I did that, I will do that again. And every department what can we do I know salaries an issue. If there’s some things that we can do to upgrade people salary, we’re gonna do that, that’s probably going to be the first thing that I do is go around and meet with city employees to let them know what my vision is what I’m expecting from city employees. And what I am not going to expect as far as trying to because that’s a big complaint that I hear across the board. So that’d be the first thing.

Nestor J. Aparicio  21:33

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I guess in regard to you, having been in that chair, there’s a real benefit to knowing what that job entails. Like I woke up at 530. In the morning, two Tuesday’s ago, I was in Florida. There’s Brandon, there’s Johnny Oh, there’s fired. Chief key highway 530. In the morning, they’re down there. You know what that’s like to get that call? Tonight, some tap and murdered when thought was on fire? I mean, all that, for you to be out of that chair, having assessed the whole worldview, you’ve worked in the, in the private sector,

22:05

what why are you why are you I’ll go back to the beginning. Why are you doing this?

Nestor J. Aparicio  22:09

I know you think you can win

Sheila Dixon  22:11

with people of the city, I love what we can do, to really move the city in a direction. And that we don’t when we look back, people come to Baltimore, to figure out how we were able to do certain things in this city as relates to public safety as relates to education as relates to cleaning up the city, as relates to developing and enhancing our neighborhoods and communities to create homeownership opportunities for all income individuals. And so all of that, and then managing and being that cheerleader, so that we can attract businesses back to the city, and create the kind of environment in our school system where young people can can be educated, be exposed to different professions early on. So when they graduate, even if they don’t go to college, that they have a plan of action,

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Nestor J. Aparicio  23:05

before years ago was murder rate murder rate, murder rate murder, you know, brand has gotten that down, you know, so if that’s the only numbers he’s judged by, it’s a better number for him well, but if you’re going to marry somebody else, I mean, I don’t know,

Sheila Dixon  23:18

I looked at numbers down as man. But how I can do better was a partnership, right between police, between states attorney between the federal prosecutor, all of these systems in the last year is what got those numbers down. And we can’t lose sight of that. And that’s how it has to happen. It’s not one person. The police department didn’t do that on its own. When they do those arrests. The state’s attorney has a role and responsibility to prosecute same thing at the federal level. And so you have to give credit where credit’s due. And so all of those levels because I’ve worked with a state’s attorney and I worked with the federal prosecutor, and I worked with the court system through the criminal Coordinating Council, where we and juvenile justice and all of our agencies, where we all looked at the negatives and the positives and what we all needed to do to move things forward. The Sheriff’s Department has some great ideas in order to support our police by working with the parades and not charging the city for that or going into our parks and providing support security where we have a shortage of park rangers or towing cars they bought at the sheriff’s department bought a tow truck because sometimes the car could stay in a neighborhood that needs to be towed away for months. He bought a tow check Tow Truck working with neighborhoods being proactive when people are speeding or going through red lights. The water that going on right the sheriff’s the police commission just recognize this. This has been going on for a while people run into red lights people speeding, you know The Sheriff’s Department was proactive and went in the neighborhood and set up the speed. You know, they’ll speed. The

Nestor J. Aparicio  25:07

motorcycles roll through here every Sunday. Well, that’s another stop. We can’t be a great city with that happened. Now

Sheila Dixon  25:13

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we can’t. I thought that what happened on Monday? Well, we had a nice day. It pissed

Nestor J. Aparicio  25:17

me off every time I live down in the city thinking, if we can’t solve that you can’t solve brazen lawlessness, then we have a real problem. youth crime and prosecution and parents, where are you on? Because I had I’ve been on I’ve had other people on that. That’s a sticky, thorny issue. It

Sheila Dixon  25:34

is. But it all depends on what the crime is. And what we need to do as those young people that are committing these nuisance crimes, car, car thefts, and other crimes within neighborhoods. We need to get with them their family, and we need to get with Juvenile Services. And we need to look at where what kind of programs are available, but are effective, that we can work with that family and that young person, you know, because it’s not about locking them up. But what there is something missing, why they’re committing these crimes. So what can we do to support because we can’t be their parents, we can’t be that God and but we can provide support to work with that family, particularly at that into that mother, or that garden is crying out for someone to help and can’t

Nestor J. Aparicio  26:21

solve the problem themselves. Yeah, parents should issues here. She’s running for mayor at the dates, your vote early, the second to the ninth and Election Day is the 14th. You gotta send your mail in ballot and by the 14th as well. Anything else closing statements, I mean, I want to make sure I try to cover all of these pieces. It’s fun. With the Orioles being back. It’s fun being down to St traffic out here. As you people, the weather’s about the break, we know crime goes up when the weather gets a little better as well. But these next couple of weeks running to the finish line here for Hey, it’s general, but it’s the most important lesson

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Sheila Dixon  26:52

is for Baltimore, it is for me, we are touching voters in every part of Baltimore City, I’d still do door to door canvassing where we have commercials running on TV. Of course, you have to raise money, which none of us like, but we have to. And so we’re doing everything possible to reach every community. Tomorrow, I’ll be canvassing, I have a housing form. I’m meeting with the Hispanic and Latino community already doing that, apparently this year, which again, I’m meeting meeting one meeting with another group later on in the evening in the Medfield group with Bob cherry who who’s a police officer who lives in Medfield, who’s supporting me some doing meet and greets. Sunday, we’re going down to the union hall to support the efforts of the workers at the port as well as those families who lost their loved ones in the key highway.

Nestor J. Aparicio  27:47

Dundalk. I think that’s my bridge. Right? We all think we think it’s our bridge. If

Sheila Dixon  27:52

you had done that, there is there have been some tears. Yeah, it’s been it’s,

Nestor J. Aparicio  27:57

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you know, I talked to Johnny O’s folks about the peninsula down there and being trapped in the businesses down there. You know, we got a lot of issues here

Sheila Dixon  28:02

we do. And the port is significant to number one in importing cars. And in paper, sugar, what is the Domino Sugar relies on those raw. So I think the governor is doing a tremendous job in coordinating all these efforts. And I think having that military background, because of this disaster has significant we still have to find those other individuals so that those families can bring closure to their lives. And then we got to work at the federal level to make sure that the President provides that money that’s going to be needed sooner than later. So we can lock that down for the Key Bridge and get

Nestor J. Aparicio  28:42

the thing built as soon as we get things back then. Yeah, I know it’s not gonna be a minute. No,

Sheila Dixon  28:46

that’s not but we got to open up those channels. In the meantime, well,

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Nestor J. Aparicio  28:50

if you if you win the membership, maybe four years from now we’ll have some looks like a bridge over there. By the end of it. Good luck. I always appreciate you coming out facing the music talking to the people. And and I appreciate the passion you have for the city. I mean, I don’t think anybody can question they can question anything you want about you. Yeah, but you care. You show up. You’re here and you’re trying to be a voice and lift.

Sheila Dixon  29:13

I appreciate I appreciate you him. All right, Sheila.

Nestor J. Aparicio  29:15

Madam Mayor, I have to call you God will get mad at me final call you that. We’re giving these out. We got the Pac Man giveaways here. We’re gonna be giving these out two weeks from now. We’re going to be Greenmount station on the 24th up in Hampstead. That’s Wednesday. We’re talking about the horse racing industry. And then on the 26th Friday, we’re back here with Luke Jones. I am Nestor we are wn st am 1570 tastic Baltimore back for more from fate Lee’s right after this

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