EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Mayor Lantigua

July 26, 2011

Lantigua's 'Don't sign anything' confuses some

LAWRENCE - Mayor William Lantigua's campaign against the petition effort to recall him may be having an unintended impact on the race for City Council, where candidates say they are having trouble getting signatures on nominating petitions because of Lantigua's direction to voters that they should sign nothing.

Lantigua's "Yo No Firmo" campaign against the recall on Facebook and YouTube, where he has posted a video of himself that also implores "No Firme Nada," has left many nerve-racked voters unwilling to sign nominating petitions even for candidates who support the mayor, several of the candidates said yesterday. "Yo No Firmo" translates to "I won't sign," while "No Firme Nada" translates to "Don't sign anything."

The Rev. Edwin Rodriguez, who is leading the recall petition against Lantigua, refused to release the number of signatures the group already has.

Several candidates said Lantigua's supporters are repeating the message in telephone calls and in door-to-door canvassing

"When I go to their home to try to get their signatures, they say, 'Listen, I can't sign anything because they came over here and told me not to sign anything,'" said Ivan Cruz, a downtown resident running for an at-large seat on the City Council. "They think if they sign anything, it would be the recall petition, so we're having a hard time getting our signatures."

At-large candidates run citywide and need the signatures of 100 registered voters to get on the September primary ballot. Candidates running to represent any of the six districts in the city need 50 signatures.

"The whole issue of (Lantigua) telling people not to sign any document — they don't understand," said Chally Ramos, who already has submitted petitions for an at-large seat on the Council. "It's obviously confusing a lot of people out there."

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