By: Kathy Runge – June, 2018
It’s budget season again. When Mayor Rivera and ex Alcalde Lantigua brag about “their” balanced budgets, they should be giving the credit to the Director of Budget and Finance, Mark Ianello, who has ultimate control of the budget. It is he who provides the balanced budget.
It’s pretty clear that the state foisted Mr. Ianello on us and he is in charge of the money. I was at the council meeting shortly after the city received its state bailout and financial oversight. When then Mayor Lantigua brought Ianello before the council, turned to the audience and said something to the effect that he himself had personally spoken with Mr. Ianello, I knew that the city had no choice in the matter.
If you want to see how a mayor handles finances, go to the Office of Political and Campaign Finance and look at the number of audit letters the Rivera campaign has received. Mr. Ianello lets the mayors play around, hire their friends (and give them big raises), and bring the city to the brink of disaster, but it will not be a financial disaster.
If you need further proof that the opioid crisis doesn’t bother the political establishment that much, one need only look at the recent actions of Judge Timothy Feeley. He released a heroin dealing, green card holding immigrant with no penalty because the judge didn’t want to see him deported.
I’m still waiting for Mayor Rivera’s statement expressing his outrage over this, as well as statements from Barbara L’Italien and Juana Matias. The fact that Judge Feeley let this purveyor of death go free and no politician in Lawrence seems to mind shows that immigrant heroin dealers are of more value to them than the lives of our children.
The City of Lawrence benefits from the drug trade. You would have to have your head in the sand to not realize that at least a few of the businesses in Lawrence got their start by laundering drug money. After one of the drug busts this spring, I searched the internet for information on their ringleader and got more hits for real estate transactions than in the police logs. No mortgages needed.
In Council news, the Ordinance Committee managed to meet three times in a row and then needed a well deserved rest, so cancelled their second meeting of May. Councilors Payano and De Pena were no shows for the second Budget and Finance Committee meeting in May, causing it to be cancelled due to lack of quorum. I’m sure they had good excuses.
Being qualified and bilingual is clearly not enough to merit you a position in this city. Many residents of the city are unhappy with the new choice for School Superintendent, Cynthia Paris. The choice of Ms. Paris, who is bilingual and has Hispanic roots, was decried because evidently she doesn’t exhibit her ethnicity enough.
In Lawrence, you must not only be Hispanic, but must embrace your Hispanic culture. It must be the alpha and omega of your existence. The word “bilingual” in city job postings seems to be a code for “Hispanics Only”. School Committee Vice Chair Marianela Rivera keeps complaining about how this choice by the oversight board, and the receivership itself, is a form of colonialism.
I searched the internet for the definition of colonialism. The first definition, which I assume must be politically correct, states that colonialism is “the policy or practice of acquiring full or partial political control over another country, occupying it with settlers, and exploiting it economically.” I’m not touching that one with a ten foot pole!
We had demonstrations supporting illegal immigrants in the city on May 1 and June 8. From the pictures I saw, hardly anyone went to either one. Our neighborhood planner Wendy Luzon was earning her taxpayer funded salary at both of the rallies. If you can’t get a decent showing at an event in favor of illegal immigrants in Lawrence, you’re in trouble.