The City of Lawrence’s Line in the Sand!

cityhall4saleBy: Peter Lrocque – July 2013

God Bless and hope you all had a happy July 4th.

I would like to thank all of the members of the Lawrence City Council for making the decision of whom to vote for and who not to vote for in this year’s city elections very easy! Thursday June 27, 2013 the City Council met to vote on the FY2014 City Budget, a budget proudly proclaimed by Mayor Lantigua as “balanced”! It only took 1/2 hour for them to vote, it was a 6 to 3 vote in favor of passing the Mayor’s so called “balanced” budget.

The reason I say so called “balanced” budget is because according to most financial sources, a balanced budget happens when total revenues are equal to or greater than total expenses. This becomes true with Lawrence’s budget only if you raise property taxes by 2.5 percent. Without the raising of taxes on property owners, this budget would be short the revenues needed to make it balanced. The reason given for the raising of taxes by the Mayor is so that no layoffs of Police or Firemen will take place.

I for one don’t have a problem with the raising of property taxes for Public Safety. Keeping our Police Officers and Firemen on the job is a top priority for me.

The problem with this so called “balanced” budget is that it provides funds to pay the salaries of indicted public employees. A city budget that allocates revenues to pay salaries of indicted public employees is not a balanced budget!

There are six City Councilors that voted in favor of approving Mayor Lantigua’s budget, and who subsequently will not be getting my vote and by the way, in my opinion should not get any ethical law abiding citizen of Lawrence vote as well. Their names are as follows; Councilors Roger Twomey, Sandy Almonte, Estela Reyes, Kendrys Vasquez, and Oneida Aquino and Council President Frank Moran.

I am very, very disappointed with Councilor Twomey, I just couldn’t believe the words that I was hearing coming out of his mouth like, “after my investigation I believe this is a balanced budget” and “I will not be voting for any cuts in this budget”. How in the world can you call this budget balanced while at the same time you are raising property taxes and paying the salaries of indicted public employees? With all due respect Mr. Twomey, and I do respect you but I believe you are wrong on this, and because of this I will not be voting for you this time around.

This brings me to Council President, Mr. Frank Moran. He is not on this year’s ballot because he is leaving the Council due to the fact he is now a State Representative, a seat hand made by his good friend Mayor Lantigua and other legislators when redistricting took place for Lawrence. So it is no surprise to me that he voted in favor of the budget. We have another year before we see Representative Moran on a ballot again. I believe that most of the Councilors who voted to approve the budget owe their political carriers to the Mayor, so it really wasn’t a shock how they voted.

So it should go without saying but I will say it anyway, Councilors Eileen Bernal and Marc Laplante should get re-elected without problem.

Lawrence City Councilor Dan Rivera
Lawrence City Councilor Dan Rivera

After looking at each candidate running to be the next Mayor of Lawrence, I have decided to support and endorse City Councilor Dan Rivera for Mayor of Lawrence. As far as I am concerned out of all the candidates for Mayor, he is the most qualified! He can do the job! He is a life-long Lawrencian, he is educated, and he is experienced. He has been tested as Chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee and last but not least, he is trustworthy and very capable to do the job starting day one! He also is humble enough to know that he cannot do the job of Mayor without acknowledging his need for God’s help and the prayers of others.

When Councilor Rivera first announced his intention to run for Mayor of Lawrence, there was an Editorial written in the April 2013 Valley Patriot entitled, “Will the Real Dan Rivera Please Stand Up”. Having talked with Dan Rivera and listened to his “Vision” for the city of Lawrence and its schools along with his commitment to Public Safety, it is my opinion that the real Dan Rivera has stood up and will continue to do so! The questions that were raised in the April Editorial were all surrounding events that took place within the first 6 to 8 months of being elected to his first term as City Councilor. Due to the fact that we all make mistakes and that nobody is perfect, I am willing to give him a pass on these events.

So my friends please consider joining me and vote for Dan Rivera as the next Mayor of Lawrence.

God Bless you and May God continue to bless the Great City of Lawrence.