By Tom Duggan – June, 2014
Lawrence City Councilor Roger Twomey is running for state representative as a Republican making this a three way race among himself, incumbent Marcos Devers (Democrat) and embattled former Mayor, Willie Lantigua (Independent).
Some say Twomey is only in the race to divide the anti-Lantigua vote and help the former mayor win his seat back in the state legislature. I happen to be one of those people.
IT ALL GOES BACK TO THE
2005 LICENSING BOARD SCANDAL
In June of 2005, Lawrence Licensing Board Chairman Roger Twomey was under fire for committing the political sin of doing his job and angering (then) State Representative Willie Lantigua.
You see, Lantigua was running a fundraiser for his friend and political ally, Israel Reyes, the now convicted felon. The fundraiser was being held across the street from city hall in a bar called Adam’s Cyber Café. The owner of Adams Cyber Cafe at the time had donated money to Lantigua’s campaign.
During that fundraiser, Roger Twomey inspected Adams Cyber Cafe on a tip that the bar was illegally purchasing alcohol from a local package store. The owner of that package store was also a Lantigua donor.
Lantigua threatened Twomey’s job, demand that he leave the bar owners alone, and not inspect them in the future or face serious consequences. But Twomey conducted the inspection anyway, catching the bar owner red handed and citing him on the spot; a move that would turn Lawrence politics on its head for more than nine years.
FALSE CLAIM OF RACISM
Lantigua immediately took to the airwaves of Spanish language radio calling Twomey a racist and said that Twomey was also responsible for a recent spate of police raids on Latino barber shops and small businesses.
None of it was true, of course. In fact, Roger Twomey doesn’t have a racist bone in his body. But that didn’t matter. Twomey was white, didn’t give in to Lantigua’s bullying, and therefor he had to pay a price.
MARCOS DEVERS STEPS IN TO SAVE TWOMEY’S JOB
Lantigua strong-armed Lawrence Mayor Michael Sullivan to fire Twomey for racism and send his name to the city council to confirm his decision.
On the night of the Twomey vote, council chambers were packed with Lantigua supporters, most of whom were holding signs calling Twomey a racist. Speaker after speaker made the most vile and hateful statements and false accusations against Twomey, all written by Lantigua, all orchestrated by Lantigua, all designed to intimidate city councilors and threaten their re-election campaigns.
Some councilors caved in, others did not. With the nine-member city council one vote shy of firing Twomey, Council President Marcos Devers spoke last.
Here is a word for word transcript of the end of Devers’ speech:
“Willie Lantigua and the mayor are more interested in dividing us as a city. We have no desire to accommodate this racism Willie and the mayor are throwing around. In the past 48 hours Willie and the mayor have done much to try to divide between our citizens.
We are a poor city. We cannot afford to be fighting each other.
We need to be working together to build ourselves up. As I see [it], Mr. Twomey has done no wrong. He is not a racist. The time for racial divisiveness that some political figures are peddling have no place in our city.
Take this poison somewhere else down the highway. We don’t need it here. I will vote against the mayor’s request to fire Roger Twomey.”
NO GOOD DEED GOES UNPUNISHED
As the result of the publicity surrounding the 2005 Twomey scandal, and with the solid political support of Marcos Devers and four other city councilors, Licensing Board Chairman Roger Twomey was able to successfully run for a seat on the city council.
But, while Roger Twomey was reaping the good fortunes of the council’s decision not to fire him, Council President Marcos Devers was not so lucky.
Lantigua had Spanish language radio and newspapers calling Devers an “Oreo cookie”, a slur that means dark on the outside but white on the inside. Devers was accused of being an enemy of the Latino people and “worse than a white person” because he was “a traitor to all Latinos.”
When Devers ran against Lawrence Mayor Mike Sullivan later that year, Lantigua endorsed Sullivan and cost Devers the election. It wasn’t until five years later (2010), that Devers achieved elected office again by replacing Lantigua in the legislature.
In short, Marcos Devers took a very big hit to defend Roger Twomey against racism allegations by the fraud-father of Lawrence politics, Willie Lantigua. Here’s the thanks he got …
TWOMEY BECOMES MAYOR LANTIGUA’S BIGGEST FAN
Despite Roger Twomey personally experiencing Lantigua’s corruption first hand, you would think that as a city councilor he was a great watchdog over mayor Lantigua. But you would be wrong, we all were.
From the minute Lantigua took office as mayor in 2010, Twomey defied conventional wisdom and betrayed his own experiences to become one of Lantigua’s biggest cheerleaders.
To name just a few; Twomey voted for Lantigua’s $35M bailout loan, Lantigua’s request to lay off 25 firefighters and 24 police officers, and voted to take Fire Chief Murphy’s civil service protection away from him so that Lantigua could retaliate against Murphy for blowing the whistle on firefighter shortages.
Twomey also voted to support nearly every corrupt hack Lantigua appointed to a board, commission or department head position. One of whom has been convicted of a felony and another is currently under indictment.
EXCUSE ME MR. DEVERS IS THAT A KNIFE IN YOUR BACK?
Worst of all, City Councilor Roger Twomey has now jumped into the state rep. race between Devers and Lantigua making it a three way race in 2014.
Remember, Dan Rivera only beat Lantigua by 84 votes in a two way race just last year. With nearly 50% of voters still supporting Lantigua, how do you think he will do in a three way race? Especially with two candidates (Devers and Twomey) dividing the anti Lantigua vote?
Even if we gave Roger Twomey the benefit of doubt and say that he is not in this race to help Lantigua, that doesn’t make Twomey’s shameful quest for yet another government paycheck any better.
That would mean Roger Twomey is in this race to not only boost his own pension, but also to unseat the one man who made his political career (and pension) even possible. The one man who saved his reputation. The one man who paid the highest price for standing with Roger Twomey when he needed it the most, Marcos Devers.
If Willie Lantigua wins back his state rep. seat in November, we have only one person to blame for the future corruption that takes place, Lawrence City Councilor Roger Twomey.
As I type those words I can hardly believe it myself. But it is what it is. Lantigua is a master at manipulating week minded people with questionable moral character. And Roger Twomey has proven that he is both.
He may speak softly and tell a good tale, but Roger Twomey is a selfish fraud and a fool who is giving aid and comfort to the likes of Willie Lantigua.
If he is too dumb to realize it, maybe my readers should remind him when he knocks on your door looking for your vote.
Tell Roger Twomey he needs to drop out, and drop out now, or Lantigua will surely regain power and begin his next phase of revenge against all involved in him losing the mayor’s seat, starting with Dan Rivera. That doesn’t help anyone.
Shame on Roger Twomey for what he has done to the people of Lawrence.
Shame on him more for what he has done to Marcos Devers.
But he still has time to make it right. Our readers can pressure Twomey to do the right thing: drop out and show a unified front against Lantigua by endorsing Marcos Devers and ending Lantigua’s political career once and for all.
Tell Roger Twomey it’s time he ‘walk the walk’ after years of ‘talking the talk’ about what a moral man of integrity he is.
I, for one am not holding my breath.