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October 27, 2011

'Something has to change'

Second Lantigua recall effort starts

LAWRENCE — The new group trying to recall Mayor William Lantigua has added two more reasons to an affidavit stating why the state's first Hispanic mayor should go — the state deemed him "unqualified" to lead schools and his "disrespectful" behavior toward a woman at a peace march that was caught on tape.

"He is not capable and qualified to run the city," said Josue Hernandez, 24, the chairman of recall group Uniting Lawrence. "Uniting Lawrence is the only way we are going to succeed."

Uniting Lawrence held its kick-off meeting last night at Attorney Anthony Difruscia's office building and more than 100 people attended.

The group is taking over the work of It's Your Right, an effort to recall Lantigua over the summer which came up about 900 signatures short of the 5,232 needed to start the process.

"My concern as a young parent and resident is that (Lantigua) is not concerned about public safety and education," said Hernandez, 24.

Joining Hernandez in the group's leadership is his father Victor Hernandez, Wayne Hayes, Kathy Hayes and Beverly McNamara. The first effort was organized by the Rev. Edwin Rodriguez, who is now a candidate for city council.

During the meeting, Wayne Hayes talked about the importance of getting 100 registered voters to sign the affidavit so they can start the recall.

Once the recall effort starts, Uniting Lawrence will have 30 days to obtain the 5,232 signatures, or 15 percent of the registered voters in the 2009 election when Lantigua was elected as mayor. If the signatures are validated, the petition would be submitted to the City Council.

Lantigua would have five days to resign or the City Council would have to order an election within 60 days. The ballot would ask voters if they are for or against the recall. They would also choose a candidate to succeed Lantigua if a majority of the vote is in favor of the recall.

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