To the editor:
Add Mayor William Lantigua’s sticker shenanigans in the District F Lawrence City Council race as the latest embarrassment and indignity by the city’s top political leader.
Cara Martinoli is a newcomer to Lawrence politics, running for an “at-large” City Council seat to contribute to a city that has many needs. She spent the summer campaigning, meeting voters, and listening to the issues that impact them. She is a professional woman, an attorney, who could provide valuable insight to council discussions. She made the decision to run citywide or “at-large”, and not a district council seat. However, without her knowledge and consent, Mayor Lantigua decided to produce stickers with her name and hand them to voters in his effort to, according to Lantigua operative Mike Fielding, “(expletive) with him (Laplante).” He would do her a “favor” and have her on the District F City Council ballot in November.
I understand why the mayor would have this personal angst toward me since I have demanded accountability from him since he has been elected mayor. However, contributing to voter confusion by providing stickers for a district seat with an individual already on the ballot for an “at-large” seat blindsided Ms. Martinoli and helped thwart her “at-large” candidacy. Who does Lantigua think he is to impose his will on a race by deciding where an independent-minded candidate should run? How discourteous to impact a candidate’s hard work without consulting her. This was a new low, even for this mayor.
Unfortunately, Ms. Martinoli and the voters were shortchanged by Lantigua’s gamesmanship and meddling. While Ms. Martinoli was unsuccessful in her quest to advance to the November election, I hope that this experience in Lawrence politics strengthens her resolve to remain engaged and provide leadership to counter this type of dictatorial and cowardly politics. Lawrence urgently needs good people to run for office without a mayor whose personal agenda and score settling would dissuade them from doing so.