When Rivera, a city councilor, emerged from a field of challengers to be the mayor’s opponent in the Nov. 5 general election, the lie of Lantigua’s claim of racism was exposed. Here was a challenger every bit as Latino as Lantigua, who could speak intelligently in both Spanish and English to city residents, who reached out to all constituents in all neighborhoods with a promise to do his best to make Lawrence a better place. Still, Lantigua would not meet him in honest debate.
Now, Lantigua will be gone in little more than a month. Attention rightly should turn to Mayor-elect Rivera and the task that stands before him.
We call on Rivera to hire the best, professional people available for the jobs that need doing in the city. The most immediate of these will be the search for a new police chief. Rivera has already stated his commitment to find a high-quality candidate for this important post.
Rivera must get tough and stay tough on crime in Lawrence. From his interviews with our editorial board, it’s clear he understands this. Getting a handle on crime in Lawrence is key to Rivera’s economic development goals of getting business and industry to see the city as a place where they can expand and add jobs.
These are difficult challenges. But we are confident Rivera will give them his best and honest effort.