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

About CriticalDan

  • But reporting in general is shoddy these days (and Boston reporting of Lawrence is worse), so you can’t believe what you read (and re-report)

    For example Antonio Arevalo is more like a stalker than a “prominent critic”. He tails the Mayor around with a camera and when the Mayor confronted him he wanted a restraining order against the Mayor.

    Story here

    The Mayor did not appoint his wife to the Licensing Board. She was appointed by the previous mayor six years ago.

    It is true that the Mayor’s ex-wife, current wife, girlfriend, and daughter all work for the city or the schools, but that’s not all that unusual in MA.

    None of this is to say the Mayor is good for Lawrence, but everyone delights in the easy to understand parts (like his ridiculous two top aides Blanchette and Degnan) but don’t want to get deep into how money flows around Lawrence because that would take too much research.

    The $35 Million is old news. The Governor will tell you the budget is balanced and he has an overseer, Bob Nunes, in place. All this was approved by the legislature.

    Charlie Baker said he would take over Lawrence and the Mayor was a bad guy. He got beat bad.

    We still are decades away from controlling the legislature.

    While the Mayor makes this story interesting (and when an indictment rolls out, it will become more interesting) whoever is in that job will probably not change any of the dynamics of ALL MA mid-size cities. They fill up with disadvantaged people who receive transfer payments and the city itself is heavily supported. Some people have jobs but a lot don’t. Budgets are strained and the quality of life is not good. All of them vote Democratic because in MA that’s how the money keeps flowing, and nothing changes.

    What I read into your post is that I should vote against Patrick in 2014. There are plenty of pictures of Murray and Patrick together on Lantigua’s web site. You might want to consider that angle.

  • CriticalDan

    …re the licensing board.  It has been made and noted.  As to Murray, see http://criticalmassachusetts.b… toward the tail end.

  • And especially for me who has a strong interest in urban issues. However as a participant in politics rather than an observer I am highly energized by the city rather than jsut interested.

    Some of these things have been discussed in other posts.

    As a candidate I find Lawrence somewhat frustrating. I call the issue “the problem of the robot D voters.”

    As a Republican I find that our messages are not all that relevant to it.

    As a person I am motivated to work to solve its problems.

    As someone concerned for the safety of his family (note I live very close to the Lawrence/Andover line) I find the crime a little disconcerting. A $3 Million heroin bust occurred one mile from my house.

    As a result of campaigning I now know a lot of people in the city and I am sympathetic to their desire for change. Most of the people in MA have no idea of the stress put on their lives by this city.

    All problems are fixable. Getting to where the decisions can be made to do that is the real problem. We need not only an R governor but we are going to need an R legislature to make the necessary changes.