OPINION — You’d think the mayoral campaign is a heated place with all of the screenshooting over Facebook taking place between detractors of one candidate. The husband of Silvara Lawson, who is one of three candidates running for mayor, has become an issue.
Last November, the candidate's husband, Dustin Lawson, in a profanity-laced and angry Facebook message, purportedly told a young woman she was “fugly” and, he wrote, she needed to slit her wrists, The screenshots of Lawson’s tirade were taken and used to smear his wife, yet the episode happened over his wife. The victim of Lawson's online tirade didn’t “engage” positively about a favorable Facebook post about his wife’s candidacy, apparently; hence the angry message.
While the motivations of those exposing Dustin Lawson’s most recent deed are self-purposeful, the private messages highlight why his wife Silvara is a bad choice for mayor, especially for leading a municipal government of 1,000 employees.
She cannot control her beau and that’s troubling. In her response to the young woman who was told by her husband to slit her wrists, she responded, “My husband is a bad ass,” before admonishing the victim to move along. What if, should Lawson be elected, a city employee sparked husband Dustin’s ire? What kind of human resources challenges will it bring when the mayor’s husband is abusing City of San Angelo employees over Facebook? What kind of other trouble would a First Man of San Angelo, emboldened by an election victory by his wife, get us into?
The common refrain is to ignore criminal records of the past and chalk them up to “everyone makes mistakes” and to refrain from “judgement” for past sins. However, the nature of the violence exhibited in Dustin Lawson’s interactions with others recently makes the past germane, especially as it pertains to the current mayoral race.
Dustin Lawson has a criminal record. According to the Tom Green County Courts, in 2001, he stole a San Angelo man’s checkbook and wrote fraudulent checks all over town. He was given deferred adjudication, but within a year or two, violated his probation by smoking weed, blowing off his probation officer, and failing to complete his community service requirements. He pleaded guilty and received four years probation for the state felony charge.
Then, while still on probation for stealing checks, Lawson stole a peer’s car and drove it to Del Rio. The owner of the vehicle found out the whereabouts of his car when law enforcement in Val Verde County called him at 2 a.m. the next morning to inform him that his Mustang was used in an aggravated robbery there. For the felony unauthorized use of a motor vehicle charge, Lawson’s probation for theft was revoked after the pleaded guilty and he was sentenced to a year in prison.
Today, Lawson promotes himself as the sergeant-at-arms for a local motorcycle club called the Six Skulls. Motorcycle clubs aren’t necessarily violent, and according to all of the reporting we have done, we cannot find any evidence the Six Skulls are a criminal organization. But still, to many, motorcycle clubs are tight-nit brotherhoods that can be intimidating, especially when they call themselves The Six Skulls. This is why some business owners in town prohibit the display of motorcycle club garb inside their bars, for example.
The Six Skulls have their own bar, or club house, on Christoval Road. The building in the past housed Dustin Lawson’s dad’s bar, The Party Ranch. Father Tracy Lawson’s bar was accused of over-serving patrons to the point that in two horrific DWI crashes, two people met tragic deaths, including a young U.S. Marine stationed at Goodfellow Air Force Base. The bar closed before Tracy Lawson lost a $5 million judgement in a lawsuit filed by the mother of one of the victims. More here.
This is not intended to dredge up the past to shame the Lawsons. Rather, the information becomes pertinent after we learned Silvara Lawson’s husband had recently sent violent private messages to a young woman when coupled with Silvara’s flippant response. Yes, Silvara, your husband is a bad ass. More than that, he’s a convicted felon. If Silvara cannot keep her husband in check, how is she going to effectively lead a municipality with 1,000 employees?