CITY HALL — The city's longest-tenured female alderman expressed regret and concern over the fresh troubles faced by former City Council member Sharon Dixon, who was arrested on a gun charge last week.
"I know one thing: Sharon needs help, because she's a super-intelligent woman," said Ald. Carrie Austin (34th) after Wednesday's City Council meeting. "So, it's not like some little wacko."
Dixon, a one-term alderman from the 24th Ward in Lawndale who lost her re-election bid in 2011, was arrested outside a West Side police station last weekend and charged with felony gun possession. A public defender at a hearing this week said she was struggling with psychological issues. Her bail was set at $25,000.
"She had come here once before, seeking our support and help," Austin said. "I myself got too busy in my own work and didn't talk to her to say, 'Sharon, what is it? What can I help you do?'
"And I know that she felt that things just spiraled out of control," Austin added. "When your mentality, your mental part of you, breaks down, everything's gone. And I think that is really what happened."
Austin said Dixon was a loner in the Council who never seemed comfortable with the processes of government.
"Everything was not being done on a good level, as she saw it when she became elected," Austin said. "She tried so hard to change everything, but trusted nobody. So you didn't accomplish too much. That's where your downfall was at.
"You've got to trust somebody, even if they're lying," Austin said. "You will know then once you go through that to say, 'Well, we won't bother with you no more because you're just a big liar.'"
Dixon was arrested and charged with drunk driving in 2009, although the charges were later dismissed. She filed suit on the arrest while running for re-election, saying her life had been "shattered and ruined in an instant," but lost to Ald. Michael Chandler (24th).
"I hope that somebody comes out and helps her," said Austin, who was first appointed to the Council to replace her late husband, Lemuel, in 1994. "She doesn't need a felony, she needs a friend."