Lawrence Mayor Willie Lantigua is employing an ugly tactic to fight the recall effort: he’s turning the Latino community against itself. The mayor’s already alienated non-Hispanic citizens, as all recent ads against the recall effort are in Spanish.
Not satisfied with making this a “Latinos versus others” issue, he (or at least his supporters) decided to turn Dominicans against Puerto Ricans, an old rivalry Lawrence really should’ve outgrown by now.
Details can be found in this Eagle Tribune article, which comments on the recall movement (It’s Your Right), Lantigua’s ads, and other related tension. The article explains that a Dominican website (translated in the article) blames Puerto Ricans who wanted Isabel Melendez as mayor are heading the movement. In all actuality, the core group is made up of three Dominicans, three Puerto Ricans and an Anglo.
The group needs to collect 5,232 signatures by August 8, and a fair number of those will come from Dominicans like Johnny Castillo.
“Lawrence is an immigrant city and we come to Lawrence to get a better future,” says Castillo. “As a Dominican, I’m proud of my heritage and because of that, it’s discouraging to see what (Lantigua) has done and how he has embarrassed us.”
It’s terrible that Lantigua would tear apart the united Latino base that helped elect him to remain in power. He’s disillusioned many, and betrayed all that Isabel Melendez has worked for, setting the Hispanic community back with his corruption and incompetence.
If you’ve seen my earlier posts, you may have guessed I’m not Lantigua’s biggest fan. I oppose him as a Lawrence citizen and a Latino. He’s shown no interest in the city, which has been struggling since the industrial decline of the 1950s. He’s turned his back on the Latino’s who have been through a lot since coming here, including riots and being unfairly blamed for the city’s urban crisis.
Lantigua has disgraced this city, my home, and should resign before things get worse.