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.
As a local businessman and a proud Lawrencian (LHS Class of 1983) who always looks for the best interest of our community, I urge you to join me in electing a new mayor who will lead us with dignity, embrace the public service role, restore trust in our city, make education a top priority and always strive to do the best for our community.
In my humble opinion, state Rep. Marcos Devers is that person. He has demonstrated that he cares about the city time and time again. Rep. Devers has served our community as a city councilor for 10 years, as an interim mayor for two months and most recently as state representative for the 16th Essex District of Massachusetts. He has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to our community and has done it with respect and the admiration of its citizens. Marcos Devers is a seasoned local politician who as a state representative is highly respected by his colleagues. He can bring about the unity required to turn the city around toward prosperity and progress.