To the editor:

Community activism in Lawrence remains a marvelous study of popular political action rarely seen in mature democracies. The well-reported crisis in public confidence in the city and the attempted recall efforts are unique in Massachusetts history. What is particularly remarkable about this movement is that it is not sponsored by a competing candidate for the office of mayor. The Uniting Lawrence effort is a popular movement that is guided by individuals who have a desire for justice What we are witnessing is a showdown between a mayor and a wide swath of citizens who are committed to bring their concerns to the people of Lawrence and give them a voice.

The critically missing element in this process is the governor's office. The silence speaks volumes about Massachusetts politics, which rarely regards citizens as legitimate sources of social policy and change. Instead of arbitrating the process, the state is silent, allowing a combative atmosphere to fester.

To correct this is simple. The organizers should be supported by a task force - or legal overseer - to ensure compliance with all applicable laws regarding a recall process. Whether the outcome achieves the aspirations of the popular movement or not, all law-abiding citizens in Lawrence and the greater Commonwealth need assurances that the process is fair. With such assurances from a disinterested entity, all participants in this process are protected, including the mayor himself, who has every right to enjoy the protections afforded by law to his authority and position as an elected official.

In writing a new chapter in the long and proud history of Lawrence, this movement promises to redefine Massachusetts politics by enabling law-abiding citizens to assert their rights. This process will also help public servants reaffirm their committment to serving their constituents.

The governor should consider this request for an enlightened intervention as it is in the best interest of all Massachusetts citizens to see stabilization and order return to Lawrence.

Joe D'Amore


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