Elections Have Consequences: Now we all own Lawrence

Good God.

As if the drama playing out in Lawrence weren’t already uncomfortably close to an episode of the Sopranos, now we have a video-taped beat-down, somewhat reminiscent of Ralphie’s final scene, meted out to a prominent critic of Mayor Lantigua by a thug associated with one of the Mayor’s allies in, um, the ‘nightclub community.’  Read this from Boston.com and then remind yourself that it’s a news item, not a pitch for the next Scorcese film.

A prominent critic of embattled Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua says he was beaten by a 6-foot-9 nightclub bouncer who called him “a snitch” and the “man who took the mayor to court.”

The weekend encounter, caught on videotape, left Antonio Arevalo with an arm broken in two places and spotlighted the deep divisions in the city under Lantigua, who has been feuding with police since he took office as the state’s first Latino mayor last year. Bouncer David Figueroa works for La Guira, one of the nightclubs popular with the mayor; the club’s owner has given $1,000 to Lantigua’s political campaigns in recent years.

Mayor Lantigua has some well known issues.

He put his wife on the board that hands out liquor licenses.  He spends a lot of time, apparently, at local nightclubs, one of which employs the Andre the Giant clone featured in the above-linked video.  The feds and various other arms of law enforcement are apparently looking into all of this, along with Lantigua’s relationship to city towing contracts.  What’s next?  Waste management consulting?

Here’s the kicker (also from Boston.com):

Arevalo has been an outspoken crusader against violence in the city, going so far as to follow the mayor to local nightclubs and bars. In January, after Lantigua cursed at him and called him a “snitch,” in an encounter at a local restaurant, he sought a restraining order against him.

A snitch!!  This is the mayor of a major Massachusetts city, cussing out a critic and calling him a “snitch.”  Allegedly, okay.  But that beating sure looks more than alleged.  It’s surreal.  (Read this longer account in the Eagle Trib, by the way)

So why does all this matter to those of us who do not live in Lawrence?

Here’s why:

The guy with his finger in the air is Mayor Lantigua.  The fellow smiling next to him is our Governor, who supported Lantigua in his hotly-contested election in 2009.  More importantly from the taxpayers’ perspective, he’s the guy who beat back efforts by Republicans last year to install a financial control board in the struggling city, similar to the one that helped Springfield pull itself back from the brink earlier this decade.  Instead, Patrick supported legislation that allowed Lawrence to borrow $35 million, with minimal oversight… READ THE REST at CriticalMASS

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