In November of 2013, (then) Lawrence City Councilor Dan Rivera defeated incumbent Mayor Willie Lantigua by 84 votes. After a recount was conducted, and Rivera was again declared the winner, Mayor Lantigua told The Valley Patriot that he would be coming back to run against Rep. Marcos Devers and then, working full time to recall Dan Rivera so he could assume his rightful spot in the mayor’s office.
While most dismissed the Lantigua comeback story, (some even laughed) we here at The Valley Patriot continued to ring the alarm bells that Lantigua was pulling the strings of Council President Maldonado (and the majority of the city council), in an effort to return as Lawrence’s mayor.
And when the recall was officially announced this year by a group of Lantigua leftovers, we sounded the alarm bells again that Lantigua was the force behind it as a veiled effort for his return. We also tried to warn Mayor River and the public that this recall had legs, and should be taken seriously. Yet, no matter how many times we were right, most, including Mayor Rivera and his supporters, dismissed our warnings, waiting far too long to take the threat seriously enough to fight back.
Now, the Eagle~Tribune, the mayor, and others are finally waking up. Sadly, it may be too late. Lantigua has gained great momentum among his racist and corrupt followers.
But, Lantigua has not only spearheaded and organized the recall to throw Rivera out of office, he has organized TWO recalls, the second being a backup in case Rivera gets the petitions thrown out during a legal technicality. This is bad news for Rivera, for Lawrence, and the state taxpayers footing the bill for all of this silliness.
The purpose of recall elections are, and should be reserved for throwing elected officials out of office for criminal behavior, incompetence, or when the office holder cannot, or will not do the job they were elected to do.
This is not the case with Mayor Rivera.
The recall process in Lawrence has been used as a tool of political retribution by the losers of an election to undo the will of the people during a democratic election.
Since the Lawrence charter went into affect in 1986, recall efforts have been used to try and nullify the elections of Mayors Kennedy, Dowling, Michael Sullivan, and even Lantigua himself. All of those recall efforts failed.
But, this recall is different. This recall has a political genius, and thousands of rabid supporters desperate to achieve power once again, so they can fleece the taxpayers and settle political scores.
We strongly condemn the recall effort by Willie Lantigua and his supporters to throw Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera out of office.
He was duely elected as mayor in 2013, and if the Lantigua supporters do not like that, their ringleader is free to run again in 2017 to try to regain his seat.
We do not agree with much of Rivera’s political agenda for Lawrence. He has been wrong many times in his first two years on some very serious issues; trying to farm out 911 dispatching services, micromanaging the police department, getting rid of the Trauma Intervention Team to save money, trying to move the registry downtown are just a few examples.
But, despite our differences, we do not see even one single reason Rivera should be forcibly removed from office.
At the risk of making our largest advertiser (Laborer’s Union, Local 175) angry with us, we believe that the recall against Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera must be stopped at all costs. Lawrence cannot go back to federal grand juries, stolen trash trucks, incompetent city workers, corrupt lawyers milking the taxpayers, and criminals working out of Lawrence City Hall.
We only wish people had heeded the warning of our publisher two years ago and had done something to stop it before now.