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Tom Duggan's Notebook

Lantigua Heads Black Caucus

It is true that Lawrence state Rep. Willie Lantigua never passes up an opportunity to use (and create) racial tensions to get ahead in the world of cheap politics, but now he has even topped himself.

Lantigua, a foreign-born Dominican, was recently elected as the head of the Democrat Black Caucus at the State House. Shortly thereafter, Lantigua voted against making the seat belt law a primary offense (meaning police can pull you over for just not wearing your seatbelt), citing that police would use the law to racially profile blacks and Latinos (because we all know how racist the evil white cops are in Massachusetts).

It looks like ol’ Willie has found a new constituency to preach his racist paranoia to these days. So, we want to wish the Democrat Black Caucus and Willie Lantigua a long and wonderful relationship together; they certainly deserve each other.

*MEDIA WATCH*
No Gun at the Guilmette

One of the Spanish language “newspapers” in the city of Lawrence reported last week that a student at the Guilmette brought a gun to school and that parents were not notified of the incident. The so-called newspaper (not Siglo21) also falsely reported that school safety officers have an incentive in their contract to get paid more money if incident reports in the schools decrease.

The newspaper, whose editor has a personal vendetta against the school department and Superintendent Wilfredo Laboy, purposely mislead the public into believing that school safety officers are sweeping things under the rug to get a bigger paycheck.

The facts are, there was no gun at the Guilmette School and the public safety officers don’t get paid any more money if the number of violent incidents decrease in the schools.

This reckless and irresponsible “reporting” has maligned the good officers who work in the Lawrence schools and created a panic among parents and students in the school system.

N. Andover School Committee Minutes on Line

Thanks to the efforts of North Andover School Committee member Bill Kelly, the votes of the School Committee (called “minutes”) are now posted on line at www. northandover.k12.ma.us.

Bill Callahan Correction

In the last edition of The Valley Patriot we mistakenly reported that our Valley Patriot of the month, Bill Callahan, had only one child. He has six.

Camasso for Comptroller

When Lawrence Mayor Mike Sullivan tried to appoint Lawrence resident David Camasso to be the city comptroller, he was rejected by the City Council.  But the majority of those councilors who opposed Camasso have either been defeated or have decided not to run for reelection. So, with the resignation of Mr. Limperis (the man chosen over Camasso), Mayor Sullivan has another chance to ap-point Camasso and correct the in-justice he endured at the hands of the precious Council. A brief look at the votes on the City Council shows that Camasso would most likely have the support to get confirmed this time around. Sullivan should poke Carlos Matos and Israel Reyes in the eye and resubmit Camasso’s name.

And CORI Checks for All

Newly elected Lawrence School Committeeman Patricia Sanchez thinks School Committee members ought to be able to visit the schools without permission of the superintendent. But she also said at a recent meeting that she thinks committee members ought to be subject to a CORI check (criminal background check) before visiting city schools just as any teacher or parent volunteer would have to. What a great idea! You just never know about some of these elected officials and it is always better to be safe than sorry. Of course, if the School Committee passes such a policy I hope it also includes the superintendent of schools (if his contract doesn’t already call for it).  I also hope that the School Committee can get the policy passed without the runaround of first having to form a subcommittee, a study group, the approval of the Department of Education or the U.N. (as seems to be the practice any time a School Committee member wants to write or change a policy.)

Patriot Bridge in Methuen

When Methuen Mayor Sharon Pollard dedicated the Patriot Bridge to the Methuen victims of 9/11, she apparently ticked off other officials by having a plaque with her name on it mounted on the bridge. Now our sources in Methuen say that the transportation department is planning on removing the plaque with Pollard’s name.

And Look Who Voted to Give In-State Tuition for Illegals

Lawrence state Rep. Willie Lantigua and North Andover Rep. David (where-is-he) Torrisi apparently feel that their authority as elected officials includes giving your tax money to illegal aliens who are taking up seats in state colleges that should be filled by legal residents. Both Torrisi and Lantigua were the only Merrimack Valley lawmakers to pander to the Dominican population by supporting special benefits for people who are illegal. This begs the question: Who are their real constituents, the tax payers or the tax dodgers? The legal residents or the criminal trespassers? The people who respect the law or the people who conspire to circumvent it? Seeing that they both have more in common with the illegals than with the law-abiding voters who put them in office, I think we already know the answer to that question.

*MEDIA WATCH*
Her Name IS Healey ... Right?

The Eagle-Tribune recently published a story where it identified Darryl Crate (head of the state Republican Party) as Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey’s “husband”. I could be wrong here, but given the fact that her name is HEALEY (and her maiden name is Murphy), I am gong to guess that Healey’s husband is probably NOT Darryl Crate but a man named ... HEALEY! I know that all newspapers make mistakes (we have made a few ourselves), but if you can’t get the name of the Lt. Governor’s husband right, maybe you should hire a fact checker.

Something Else Lantigua and Torrisi Might Favor: Changing the Name of Broadway

The Dominican Republic has sent an official letter (via their consulate general) to the city of Lawrence asking us to rename Broadway to Juan Pablo Duarte Boulevard. (No, I’m not kidding.)

Of course, they wouldn’t be so bold as to ask us to rename all of Broadway; they just want the city to rename part of Broadway to honor THEIR national hero. What’s more, the letter sent to the city making the request says that it should be done by a certain date, in order to correspond to their celebration of Mr. “Duarte.” I have an idea. Why don’t we entertain re-quests from all countries and rename all the streets in Lawrence after leaders of OTHER countries. Think about it. We could change Essex St. to Kim Jong Ill Lane, Hampshire St. can be Stalin Street, Common Street can be renamed to Idi Amin Avenue and Salem Street can be renamed to Jacques Chirac Boulevard. And just for fun we can rename Mount Vernon Street to Allah Akbar Drive.

 Mayors’ Pictures in City Hall

Hanging in the Lawrence City Council chambers are the pictures of all the previous mayors going back to the founding of thecity.

Any stranger coming to Lawrence and viewing the pictures, however, might be under the impression that former Mayor Larry Lefebre (who left office in 1983) was succeeded by Patricia Dowling (who took office in 1998).

Pictures of former mayors Mary Claire Kennedy, Lenny Degnan, Kevin Sullivan and Marcos Devers are noticeably missing. It is no secret that I was not a fan of Mary Claire Kennedy, but she was duly elected and she did serve out her entire term. Her picture rightfully belongs in council chambers as does Kevin Sullivan and the two acting mayors, Degnan and Devers.

 It’s is up to the Council president to take the initiative to correct the situation and have the four missing pictures put up.

It might be a small issue, but, if the council president doesn’t take the initiative, perhaps one of the other councilors will take an interest in Lawrence’s historical accuracy and force the issue.

 *Send your questions comments to ValleyPatriot@aol.com
The February, 2006 Edition of the Valley Patriot
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