EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

July 8, 2011

Recall process started

Advocates of Lantigua ouster seeking 5,232 more signatures

LAWRENCE — The process to recall Mayor William Lantigua has begun.

Members of the Board of Registrars, meeting at City Hall Chambers last night, confirmed that 153 of the 175 signatures gathered by It's Your Right committee came from current city registered voters.

"This is what we've been waiting for," said Wayne Hayes, a member of the group trying to oust Lantigua.

"For the past several months, people have been wondering if we're for real and where they can sign, and it has finally happened. This is going to be a goodbye Willie party and everyone is invited."

Now, members of It's Your Right need to get at least 5,232 signatures or 15 percent of the number of registered voters in the city during the time of the 2009 election before Aug. 8.

The petition would then be submitted to the City Council. After the signatures are collected, Lantigua, who became the first Hispanic Mayor in 2009, will have five days to resign or the City Council would order an election within 60 days. The ballot would ask voters whether they are for or against the recall and would include names of candidates to succeed Lantigua.

"I'm very happy that it has become a reality," said the Rev. Edwin Rodriguez, who is spearheading the effort to oust Lantigua. "Today we'll be out in full force getting signatures and hopefully we'll get all of them before the 30 days are up."

City Clerk William Maloney said his office will have a recall petition ready for members of It's Your Right by today. The document will have the same wording as the affidavit It's Your Right turned in, with enough room for information from 25 people and their signatures as well as the deadline for submission clearly marked.

"We'll be waiting on them now," Maloney said. He advised members of It's Your Right to turn in the signed documents as soon as they get them.

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