By: Tom Duggan – November 18, 2003
(on Loan from Tom Duggan’s Private Records – Published originally on tommyduggan.com)
According to some current and soon-to-be City Councilors there is a move afoot to replace Council President, Marcos Devers in January with Council Vice-President Patrick Blanchette.
Some on the Council have complained that President Devers created division among Latino and non-Latino Councilors when he supported a campaign on Spanish language radio called “Vote Latino” showing, as one Councilor put it, “he cannot bring people together on the Council.”
Devers has been Council President for four years and served as the interim mayor two years ago when Patricia Dowling stepped down to take a judgeship.
“We may not have the votes to unseat him as President but I think it sends a strong message that, while supporting racist ideas may not make one a racist, per se, it cannot be tolerated because it divides people and creates hostility. You can’t bring people together and pretend it didn’t happen after the election when you are saying ‘Vote Latino’ during the election.”
At present count, there are three solid votes to unseat Devers in favor of Blanchette and two on the fence or uncommitted. No word from Blanchette as to whether or not he even wants the Council presidency.
“Right now I am not thinking about that,” Blanchette said on election night when asked on the Live, Paying Attention! Television program.
“That’s something for the Councilors to decide in January,” he said. “And though I have been approached I think it is a little premature to be making those kinds of decisions. The Council President has done a good job for the past four years. If others think I would make a better President I will look at it when the time comes but I am not lobbying and I am not seeking it.”
A major campaign in the Spanish language press, (brought to you by the same people who started the “Vote Latino” campaign) has been underway to pressure “Latino Councilors” to “Vote Latino” when it comes to the Council President And Vice-President.
Angel Rivera (from www.lawrenceinteractivo.com) even polled “Latino Councilors” as to who they supported.
Last week, Rivera reported that newly elected Councilor, Israel Reyes would not commit to Devers and hadn’t made up his mind. Sources close to Reyes, however, say that he already has a candidate for President “but doesn’t want to say until January.”
Some on the Council say that the campaign to lobby for a “Latino President and Vice President” was the last straw. “We have to get as far away from this kind of ethnic qualification as we can. The President not only refuses to denounce this he has embraced it,” said another councilor who asked not to be identified. “In doing so he has embraced a philosophy that is not tolerable for an elected body that is suppose to represent everyone.”