The Many Contradictions of Mayor Willy Lantigua (opinion)


By: Jamison Tomasek – February, 2012

Lawrence Mayor Willie Lantigua
Lawrence Mayor Willie Lantigua

The Mayor of Lawrence, everyone must admit, is an interesting character. Some people love him, some hate him. Some really, really hate him.

I for one am fascinated by how he seems at times to show two completely different sides to his character.

He’s always being mentioned or talked about by the media, but they never can get hold of him for comment. By the way, why do all sorts of people seem to have his cell phone number, but not the Eagle Tribune?

He is unavailable for comment, yet when it suits him in a public forum (like a School Committee meeting) he rambles on about nothing for thirty minutes or more.

He seems to know everybody, especially people who are pulled over for traffic violations, who respond to an officer’s “license and registration please” with “I know Willy.” However rarely does anyone say, “I was talking with the mayor and he said this or that.” Who does he actually talk to or are people to nervous to repeat his words?

He has a strong interest in the democratic process, and clearly relishes running elections, but once the voting is over he doesn’t seem to care about democracy at all. He appears to view democracy as a means to further exercise executive power. He doesn’t even seem to tolerate minority or differing opinions well, even when he controls the majority, like the City Council.

He is the mayor of a city with tens of thousands of dwellings, but he had no home address.

He works in government, an organization that generates vast paperwork, but he has left hardly any paper trail in his life.

He is a member of a party, the Democrats, that believes in having lots of rules and regulations, but when it comes to complying with a number of rules he can’t be bothered in the slightest.

As a legislator he was known as a supporter of family values, but it is clear that he doesn’t carry that concept into his own messy family life, except that he makes certain that everyone in his family (including the ex-wife) has a government job.

He’s got numerous state and federal agencies on his trail, but no one seems to know anything and in fact everything went quiet some time ago. He claims to know nothing about it.

He works in a city and lives in somebody else’s condo, but he drives a giant pickup truck. I can’t see him shopping at Home Depot or picking up some mulch with it.

So what to make of him? You can’t make this stuff up, and I’m sure if indictments come out we will know a lot more about what he’s doing when not in the public eye. I predict that despite of all this Lantigua will win re-election in 2013 in the great tradition of James Michael Curley, who was re-elected mayor of Boston in 1945 while under indictment. Happy 100th Edition Valley Patriot!