In the Merrimack Valley: Lawrence as a Melting Pot?

Lawrence, Massachusetts 1908 Vintage Post Card

The pot is being stirred in the city of Lawrence as the days are counted down for the return of sufficient signatures to recall Mayor William Lantigua. The recall group led by the Rev. Edwin Rodriguez and Wayne Hayes has a reported 1,100 petition pages being circulated throughout the city, each with enough room for 25 signatures.

A story in today’s Eagle Tribune highlights the view of some residents that this is an attack on the Dominican Republic-born Lantigua by activists of Puerto Rican heritage. The recall group denies this charge. Former Lawrence mayor Michael Sullivan notes that it’s incorrect to say the recall is a struggle between Dominicans and Puerto Ricans – “The other factor with the recall, the Anglos, French, Irish and Lebanese, what about them?” he asked, a website in the Dominican Republic, recently posted a story claiming “a group of Puerto Ricans who feel a letdown with the election of Lantigua and not Isabel (Melendez), as they had wanted,” is leading the “shameful and pitiful” campaign to remove Lantigua.

“Misalcedo” is Spanish for “My Salcedo.” Salcedo is the region in the northern Dominican Republic that includes Tenares, the hometown of many Lawrence Dominicans.

“This is a call to let us not be confused, to defend what has cost us so hard to obtain as a community,” the story on said in Spanish. “To say no to this group that has ganged up to demoralize not only Mayor Lantigua, but also the entire Latino community, especially the Dominican community.”

Rodriguez, the recall leader, is Puerto Rican. Lantigua is Dominican.

The Mayor has hired a handwriting expert to validate the signatures on the original petition to start the recall process. City Attorney Charles Boddy says he hasn’t seen any problems and notes that the Mayor would be paying any handwriting expert out of his own pocket. “It’s an individual political battle, not a city battle,” he said.

The “Immigrant City” continues to simmer this summer as citizens in all parts of Lawrence must decide on the recall of Mayor Lantigua.

Read the full article by Yadira Betances here at