EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

October 25, 2011

2nd Lantigua recall effort ready to start

New attempt to oust mayor set to kick off tomorrow night

LAWRENCE — The revived attempt to remove Mayor William Lantigua from office through a recall kicks off tomorrow night with an invitation to City Council and School Committee candidates to "stand behind us."

The volunteer group called Uniting Lawrence said anyone interested in supporting its effort can come to the meeting from 5 to 8 p.m. at 260 Haverhill St., the law offices of Anthony DiFruscia, where Uniting Lawrence is headquartered.

The group will be collecting 100 signatures needed to present to City Hall to officially trigger the recall process.

Sign-up sheets for street captains and neighborhood volunteers will also be posted. Volunteers are also sought to stand outside the polls on Nov. 8 and collect signatures from registered voters, Hayes said.

"If you are tired of what's going on, come listen to us," he said.

Uniting Lawrence members need to gather 5,232 signatures, 15 percent of the registered voters in November 2009, when Lantigua defeated challenger David Abdoo and was elected mayor.

"We would like the candidates to come out and stand behind us," said Wayne Hayes, a Uniting Lawrence member. "We are inviting them to finally say we are tired of this," he said.

It was revealed earlier this year Lantigua is the target of a multi-jurisdictional probe into narcotics, weapons, bid rigging, suspicious out-of-country travel and more.

As the city and state's first elected Latino mayor, Lantigua has also been criticized for cutbacks his administration made to the police and fire departments, for intimidating those who oppose him, dividing Anglos and Latinos and tarnishing the city's image.

This is the second recall attempt against Lantigua in recent months. The first one failed in August when volunteers fell short of the needed signatures. This time around, volunteers hope to gather 10,000 signatures — nearly twice what they need.

The group hopes to turn in the petition launching the recall effort later this week, Hayes said.

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