Councilor Criticizes Lantigua for Racist Policy

Lawrence Councilor LaPlante says mayor wrong for only

putting city job postings in Spanish Language newspapers


By: Tom Duggan, February 2, 2010

Willie Lantigua

 Lawrence City Councilor Marc LaPlante took Mayor Willie Lantigua to task Wednesday night for his policy of only posting city jobs in Spanish Language weekly newspapers and not “the daily paper of record.

 Since taking office on January 4, Lantigua has been purchasing advertisements for job postings in local Spanish Language newspapers but has refused to post jobs in English language newspapers, prompting his critics to continue the allegations that Lantigua’s employs a racist policy of trying to fill city jobs with only “Latinos”

 LaPlante said that, with the eyes of Beacon Hill on the city and the Lantigua administration, job postings should be placed in a wide range of newspapers to attract the most number of candidates for each position posted. “… make no mistake that when we speak, our audience is not only our constituents, but also the powers on Beacon Hill and Wall Street,” LaPlante said in a press release prior to the meeting.

 “After the November election, it appeared that the mayor did not want to speak to the newspaper of record. I applaud the mayor for reaching out to the Spanish speaking media, but he should also reach out to the English speaking media. Frankly, the English speaking media is read by the power brokers on Beacon Hill and Wall Street, and significantly impacts their opinions. The mayor needs to be as accessible to the English speaking media as he is to the Spanish speaking media. Not only will this help us communicate a positive message to Beacon Hill, it also allows the Mayor to communicate to the thousands in my district who do not understand Spanish.”

 Lawrence City Councilor Grisel Silva defended Lantigua’s new racist policy saying that she didn’t know what it meant to be the newspaper of record, questioning, “What is the newspaper of record?” Silva then criticized LaPlante saying that he only considered them the newspaper of record “Because they are English speaking newspaper only.”

 “The number of people at The State House [last week] were residents of the city of Lawrence at state house, [they] were 90% latino. They took the message because of the Spanish media who took the outburst of sending the message.”

 Silva said that she was calling on ‘her’ community to boycott the Eagle Tribune because “that particular newspaper we talking about, since the election all they have done is carry negative message”.

 “I want community organizing to boycott that newspaper,” she said. She also demanded that the Tribune start printing their news in Spanish. But, LaPlante said that Lantigua’s policy of only putting job postings in the Spanish Language press was detrimental to the city and urged the mayor to change the way he does business.

 “We need to show Beacon Hill that Lawrence is not conducting politics as usual. The mayor has an opportunity to improve our political culture. Old style politics would require that any perceived political enemies be terminated, and friends or cronies would be hired to replace them. However, in these unique times, this conduct is counterproductive since Beacon Hill, and the people we represent, expect more. So far, the mayor has laid off one individual (who the council voted to retain), and has fired several others, all in the name of saving money. However, many of these positions have been posted to be re-filled. This questions the costs savings explanation, and allows for the criticism that the terminations were political vendettas. Also, the job postings were not published in the newspaper of record, which has a wide circulation through its print and web readership. In addition, we are 45 days into the Administration’s term, and the Mayor has department heads working in “acting” or “interim” capacities without sending their names before the City Council for approval as required by the City Charter. Beacon Hill knows of these actions, and it unfortunately promotes an unflattering opinion of our City.”

 “Councilors, as leaders, we need to encourage the mayor to take the actions that will not only heal our city, but also repudiates old style politics. Beacon Hill is watching and the municipal bond brokers on Wall Street are watching. The mayor made the right decision to resign from the State Representative’s position, and he needs to continue taking actions that build confidence not only among our constituents, but also the power brokers on Beacon Hill and Wall Street.”

 To date, Mayor Lantigua has refused to reach out to his White, English speaking constituents and also refused to make city job postings accessible to anyone who does not speak Spanish.