EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Opinion

August 29, 2013

Letter: Devers is best choice for mayor of Lawrence

To the editor:

Back in November 2009, we were happily celebrating the election of the first Latino mayor in William Lantigua. This happiness was short-lived.

Soon after his inauguration in January, when his actions and decisions as mayor triggered an avalanche of negative press and high-profile personnel controversies, some of us who had worked hard during his campaign started wondering if maybe we had made a mistake.

Reflecting back in time and analyzing the performance of this administration there is no doubt that choosing the current mayor was a mistake by so many of us who believed in and voted for him. This administration has survived two recall attempts that divided the community and has steered the city backward. It lost the school system to the state, the unemployment rate is almost double the state and national average hovering around 14 percent, the crime index jumped from 390 in 2009 to around 495 in 2011 — in comparison the U.S. average crime index dropped from 300 to 280 in the same time period — and the perception of outsiders of Lawrence has deteriorated significantly making the possibility of attracting new talent or new jobs a more difficult task.

For the last three and a half years, Lawrence has been living in infamy, a soap opera with our mayor and his people as the main characters. We have been plagued by rumors of corruption and crimes that have resulted in the indictments of three city employees and close allies to the mayor and an ongoing criminal investigation of the mayor’s office itself. Given this history, there is no doubt that if the City of Lawrence were a private organization, its current administrators would have been fired a long time ago.

Lawrence leadership needs to be changed in this coming election. We need a leader of the people who works for the people in a participatory government that involves all Lawrencians and not just a select egotistical few.

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