The REAL Tom Foley!

By Rosalie Tirella

Political pundits like to call election cycles: the “silly season.” On all the news shows you hear commentators spinning goofy slip ups, etc, by calling them “silly season” antics.

But, hey, this is 2010 and the Tea Baggers are in overdrive. One of them lurks in Central Mass – Marty Lamb – and the other pol, sheriff candidate Lew Evangelidis, while not being a Tea Bagger is, according to one guy I talked with, a “a dick.”

These dicks – I mean guys – are at the podiums on the stages and bullshitting the voters. They are misleading people so they vote for them – the people/programs that will wreak havoc on Worcester County.

So lets lump Lew Evangelidis and Marty Lamb in with the Carl Palidinos, the Sarah Palins and the other lying, dangerous nitwits and call this mid-term election cycle the “slimey season.”

Yesterday I got call from a very nice lady who told me SHE would buy me a cup of coffee (see my blog posting on Lew E. below: “Creeped out by Lew Evangelidis) and then went on to tell me Lew Evangelidis was “tough to take.”

I know, my friend. I spent some time with the guy and came away thinking: this guy will say anything to get elected.

Of course, Lew will use the sheriff’s job as a stepping-stone to state-wide office!

And of course, he will take the sheriff’s pension, if elected. (Don’t believe Lew when he promised at a recent debate that he woud not take the state pension for the sheriff’s job).

And of course Lew’s encouraging the spreading of slime on sheriff candidate Tom Foley: pension double dipper, etc.

And of course Lew has promised Dismas House he will give them all the programs they want (even though in the State House, Lew voted AGAINST all such rehab programs, Republican that he is) IF Dave McMahon, executive director of Dismas House, throws the prisoner rehab vote behind Lew. And of course, the hyperkinetic Lew met with Deb Carey of Mass Audubon and promised her the world if the environmentalists worked for his election.

And of course, he tried to bribe InCity Times. (He told me all this during a meeting over coffee, during which he acted tres stressed out, checked out a babe, tried to bribe me and in general just seemed like one hell of a prick.)

So … I decided to check out sheriff candidate Tom Foley – Lew’s main opponent – for myself. I can tell you, gentle readers, I was pleasantly surprised and impressed. Foley IS the best guy for the job. He is a modest man – very old school – like my favorite uncles. These old school guys don’t toot their horns, have an incredible work ethic and are tough as cow hide. They live by a code of honor – a code of honor that Lew E. can only dream of having.

I met Foley one afternoon at Panera Bread – to talk, listen and learn. I was a wee bit late, but Tom didn’t seem pissed. He was sitting at a table going over notes that were neatly arranged in a nice leather binder. He seemed serious and respectful, got up to shake my hand (nice shake) and offered to buy me a cup of coffee – telling me he would have offered to treat, even if he hadn’t read my Lew Evangelidis story. Foley listened. He talked – almost softly, but more on that later. He told me stories of his past (quite an illustrious career) working for the State Police, cracking open cases with the FBI, starting out as a prison guard in Walpole.

I came away from our meeting thinking: Wow! Tom Foley is an upstanding, decent, compassionate, HONEST guy who has a ton of experience in public safety, law enforcement.

Not a politician.

And do you know how Tom Foley got his heart condition that Evangelidis is carping about – intimating that Foley used it as an excuse to get a pension/leave the State Police.

Tom Foely got hurt because he was working his ass off. He was – for 4 weeks! – in the middle of an urban piss-hole bugging and putting cameras everywhere so he and his people could catch some drug dealers. It was in the basement of a drug dealer meeting place – in some shit hole building in Springfield – a toxic place that had flooded after a rain storm, a place where Rout 91 ran by, a place where the sewerage pipes had burst open and now drained, the condemned building was filled with mold and poisonous fumes.

Tom Foley inhaled that poison for four weeks. Tom Foley, being old school, did not wear a respirator (”I was so focused on the job,” he said) or any protective gear. So for four weeks he exposed himself to toxins while doing his job – wiring and and bugging a place. Sewerage was all over the place, too. So it was then that Tom Foley, working like mad to capture a bunch of drug lord-pukes, got sick. It was a few weeks after the job when his ankles started swelling, his lungs filled wtih puss. And then WHAM!

Tom Foley became gravely ill and had to be hospitalized. His lungs, his heart, his throat were infected. He was given a ton of antibiotics until the bacteria and filth and mold inside his body was killed. He lost some of his voice due to the poison he inhaled.

It happened in 2004 and since then Tom Foley talks in a low voice – he can’t talk very loudly at all.

His bosses said he c ould no longer do the kind of work he was used to doing. They told him he has to resign.

Foley will not share this informatin during debates or public forums! Lew, on the other hand, would have milked it till the cows came over the rainbow. Foley is old school – and doesn’t want to show vulnerablity. Or the fact that he really behaved quite heroically. Took his pain stoically.

Voters need to know that this is not a fake ailment Foley concocted to get out of work and collect a nice pension. This was all caused by a guy giving it his all. Like Foley said, the injury probably shaved a few years off his life.

I believe Foley when he told me the incident in no way killed his desire to serve the public in a public safety job. That his dream was to serve the public in law enforcement. That working in the prison system, with the FBI, heading Mass State Troopers was a dream come true for Foley, whose dad was a tough Worcester fire fighter.

“I’m not ready to retire,” Foley told me.

I believe him.

And why should he? This guy loves excitment. When he talks of his past career, going after Whitey Bulger and Flemmi, the mafia, how guys “took a hit” and how when he worked as a prison guard at Walpole he “walked the block” I felt like I was in the middle of a Matt Damon movie!

After Whitley Bulger and the mafia, Foley can certainly handle being Worcester County Sheriff.

He is strong enough – mentally and physically. And 1,000 times tougher than his opponents.

It is a shame the public does not know the REAL Tom Foley. Because then they would repudiate a nothing-burger like Lewis Evangelidis and Foley’s other opponent (the other guy whose name escapes me – not important – he’s not really in the running).

Then the voters would quickly figure out what I learned over coffee with Foley at Panera Bread: Foley is not a career politician – he won’t go anywhere once he becomes sheriff. He will do the sheriff’s job for $30,000 less a year than the salary posted and that he will not take health benefits or a pension for the sheriff’s job. (retirement pension = 70% of a worker’s salary at retirement. For life.).

I DO NOT believe Lewis Evangelidis when he says the same thing. He is just saying what voters want to hear so he can get elected.

Don’t get fooled! Vote for Tom Foley for sheriff!

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