EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

November 9, 2011

Volunteers at polls for 3rd Lantigua recall attempt

LAWRENCE — Janet Szostak had just finished voting at the South Lawrence East School yesterday when she said she had one more thing to do — sign an affidavit to help jump start another recall against Mayor William Lantigua.

"I don't think he's doing a good job," said Szostak, a resident of the city for 66 years. "Lawrence was a wonderful city and now is full of corruption."

The affidavit she signed was actually the third such one circulated since last summer when Lantigua opponents failed in their first attempt to oust the mayor.

Efforts by Uniting Lawrence to start a second recall were stalled last Friday when City Attorney Charles Boddy said the affidavit submitted by the group with more than 100 signatures of registered voters could not be accepted because it was not notarized.

Uniting Lawrence was hoping to take advantage of yesterday's general election to gather the 5,232 signatures needed for the recall to happen, but had to go back to gathering signatures on a third affidavit.

"That wasn't going to stop us whatsoever," said Josue Hernandez, president of Uniting Lawrence. "It was only a minor setback and we're working very hard to try again."

Hernandez took the day off yesterday from his job as a property manager and was at South Lawrence East School by 7 a.m. when the polls opened.

Uniting Lawrence drafted a new affidavit notarized by Julio Pinhero. Hernandez said the group collected more than 300 signatures yesterday.

"It was great and overwhelming to see," Hernandez said. "What happened with the clerk got people pretty mad. They saw the motives behind it, and action speaks louder than words."

Hernandez and other volunteers were holding bright orange signs that read "Recall Mayor Lantigua" printed in black. At the bottom was the group's name Uniting Lawrence with a sketch of the Ayer Mill tower and a blazing sun.

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