Kathy’s Lawrence Notebook ~ Election Edition

By: Kathy Runge – Oct. 2017

Why are most of our elections in Lawrence a choice between who you can’t stand the least? I can endorse almost no one in the November elections. Much to my surprise, it is Dan Rivera vs William Lantigua in the mayoral race. Boy, was I ever wrong about Lantigua. I may leave the mayoral race blank.
Many people in Lawrence were surprised to receive a pre-primary call from our Republican Governor, Charlie Baker, endorsing Mayor Rivera.

Does Governor Baker think that Rivera would ever endorse him? Don’t hold your breath, Charlie! Rivera faithfully used every Democratic hash tag and repeated every anti-Trump saying the Democrats were putting out there in the last presidential election.

In the Councilor-at-Large race, can someone give me any reason that Brian DePena should be re-elected? He might be a great person, but I don’t know what he’s done in his capacity as a councilor that speaks for his reelection.
Pavel Payano, school committee member for many years, is another at-Large candidate. He has a poor attendance record at the school committee meetings. Payano says he wants to prepare for the city to take back control of the schools, but in 2016 he advocated in front of the council for Emmanuel Castaneda, a college student with no experience, to replace the school committee vacancy in District A, over an education professional with years of experience.

I haven’t heard at-Large candidate Ana Levy say much except that “together we are the solution”. Let’s get working on that. DePena, Payano and Levy appear to be running as a slate, which means that they will oppose Rivera’s plans if he gets re-elected and will let Lantigua do whatever he wants if he gets elected. I have nothing negative to say about these people personally, but can’t recommend voting for any of them.

I do endorse at-Large candidate Richard Russell. He will do what’s right for the city. He knows how the legislative process works in the city and is ready to make positive contributions. He is generally more prepared for council meetings than a large portion of the current council. As always, I am a member of his campaign team.

At-Large candidate Franklin Miguel is a civil engineer who seems intelligent and well spoken. He’s spent a lot of money on his campaign, so you have to keep in mind that he must have bigger plans.

The last of the at-Large candidates is Jose Santiago. Santiago has legislative and law enforcement experience, which is a plus. I think he’s probably a good choice.

I’m going to leave the district races to you. In other council news, the Ordinance Committee cancelled yet another of its meetings at the last minute, inconveniencing well over a dozen residents with items that were scheduled to be discussed. Two weeks later, they made some of these petitioners wait until the end of the meeting to be heard.

The ban on marijuana businesses finally passed on October 3rd after another excruciating public hearing. Why a multitude of people felt compelled to speak in favor of a ban that they knew was going to pass escapes me. To any old timers like me out there, this is what is meant by virtue signaling.

At the September 19th council meeting, discussions on two items were suspended by charter objections, which immediately cease all discussion until the next meeting. After the second one, which was about parking issues on a section of Park Street, a recess was called and a group of councilors went into the lobby and continued discussions with the residents. When the fifth councilor came into the lobby I reminded them of the Open Meeting Law, which prohibits a quorum from privately discussing items. The rules are for everyone else to follow.

Please vote on November 7th, your vote really does count.