EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

August 7, 2013

Letter: Rivera contributed to the city’s woes

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — To the editor:

I read with great bemusement an Aug. 2 letter from Les Bernal extolling the reasons why he will be voting for mayoral candidate Dan Rivera in our upcoming election.

Respectfully I hold the obverse opinion. There is no scenario I can envision in which I will be voting for Mr. Rivera in any current or future election.

As a Lawrence voter, homeowner and taxpayer who has two children in the Lawrence public schools, I was greatly disappointed in Mr. Rivera’s performance as one of our at-large councilors right off the bat in his first year in office in 2010.

It was during that time Mr. Rivera joined with Mayor William Lantigua to inflict irreparable harm on our community.

Mr. Rivera actively supported the Lantigua administration’s public safety cuts, including taking a machete to the Police Department’s staffing, which led to the elimination of community patrols and the drug, gang, and insurance fraud task forces.

As one grounded in common sense would have expected, these severe budget cuts correlated directly to a subsequent surge in drug trafficking, violent crime, and various property crimes, thereby erasing all the great strides Chief John Romero and his officers made in the previous years.

If there is any community in Massachusetts that requires and deserves a full complement of police combating gang, drug, and violent crimes, it is Lawrence. But that is not what we got with Lantigua and Rivera.

Mr. Rivera, moreover, was party to approving a roster of unqualified candidates for department jobs in the Lantigua administration, which has ultimately saddled our community with no economic development, no code enforcement as illegal apartments and non-permitted property changes proliferate, a deputy police chief currently under criminal indictment, as well as the solidification of a systemic dysfunction that imperils and disrespects Lawrencians throughout the city.

In short, Mr. Rivera’s complicity with Mr. Lantigua in the devastation of our public safety efforts and the appointment of questionably competent, even feckless, department heads has created the depths out of which Mr. Bernal thinks Mr. Rivera is the only one who can pull us.

Lawrence deserves and demands better of its elected officials and public servants than the likes of city councilors who create untenable situations for homeowners, taxpayers, and parents. Life is tough enough in our community without our elected officials conspiring against us and throwing gasoline on the fire.

Mr. Rivera, in preparation for some other future role in public service, would do well for now to learn from the Hippocratic Oath: “First, do no harm.” Until that time comes, he will be traveling his current journey without my vote. That, you can count on.

Robert O’Koniewski