Lawrence State Representative Willie Lantigua has betrayed the Latino people of Lawrence. He has been playing a dangerous game of race baiting and making racial slurs for far too long, and it is about time someone called him to task for his shenanigans.
Lantigua has deliberately misinformed his Latino constituency about Licensing Commissioner Roger Twomey in an effort to whip up racial hatred and further per-petuate the myth that Latinos in Lawrence need him to fight against the evil white racists in Lawrence City Hall. Its a tactic he has long employed to amass political power in the Latino community and until recently he has been quite successful.
Why does Lantigua need to use racism to get Roger Twomey fired? Roger Twomey dared to conduct an inspection of Adam's Cyber Café on Appleton Street because it was reported that they were illegally purchasing alcohol from a liquor store (Primos Liquors) instead of a state-licensed liquor distributor.
The inspection took a mere fifteen minutes and did not take place during a Lantigua fund raising event as he has led the public to believe. And, when the brief inspection was over, it was Willie Lantigua (not Roger Twomey) who made a public spectacle of the situation by calling the mayor and the media, demanding that Twomey be fired for embarrassing him.
Lantiguas appearance on Spanish language radio was nothing short of disgraceful. He declared that the white people in South Lawrence were all racists who want to drive us (meaning Latinos) out of the city and that they are using Licensing Commissioner Roger Twomey to do their racist bidding. He specifically cited the people of Mount Vernon as the purveyors of this evil, white conspiracy. He then urged all Latinos to storm city hall and demand the firing of this racist.
To make his case, Lantigua further betrayed the Latino people when he misinformed them that Roger Twomey was responsible for the hike in taxi fares. These are the same fares that were recently hiked by the Lawrence City Council on the recommendation of the Police Department. Mr. Twomey, in fact, has no jurisdiction over taxi licenses and had nothing to do with the rate increases. And, to further shore up Latino support for his efforts to fire Roger Twomey, Lantigua then claimed that the commissioner was responsible for the recent spate of hair salon inspections throughout the city. Inspections that have been labeled (thanks to Lantigua) as targeting Latinos and racist.
Twomey had nothing to do with that fiasco either.
Lantigua even attacked City Councilor Marcos Devers, calling him a traitor to his race, for not going along with the Lantigua program and refusing to blindly support a fellow Dominican - right or wrong.
The night of the City Council vote on the fate of Mr. Twomey, Lawrences own Al Sharpton was able to get the Latino taxi drivers, hair salon owners (and other supporters) to pack city hall.
And while they were all sitting in the council chambers to hear the facts about the Roger Twomey case, Lantigua did a dog and pony show to distract them from hearing the truth.
He played the perfect victim. He yelled out loud during council deliberations. He physically threatened a reporter. He selectively translated portions of what was being said (and not all that accurately I might add). He demanded more time to speak than everyone else. He called Council President Patrick Blanchette (a long-time ally of Lantigua) a racist when Blanchette told him he would be held to the same two minutes as everyone else. He stood up in the middle of the room making intimidating gestures to Councilor Marcos Devers, who dared to chastise him for using racist poison to whip up support for his own political gains.
And the shenanigans didnt stop there. After the city council voted not to fire Roger Twomey (finding no evidence of racism or targeting), Lantiguas tribe of hate mongers filed into the city council lobby threatening racial violence because of what those people are doing to us.
Just imagine what would happen if a white state representative, like Barry Finegold or Arthur Broadhurst, declared on the radio that Latinos were trying to take over and used racial stereotypes and ethnic slurs to divide the community. Just imagine the reaction of the mainstream media and local minority groups if Broadhurst or Finegold demanded the firing of a Latino city employee for doing his job.
But, of course, Lantigua is not white and his target was not Latino, so the outrage is isolated to those who saw the spectacle first hand. To me, racism is racism regardless of whom you are targeting.
Im sure that Lantigua didnt tell his constituents that he was advocating for Adams Cyber Café because its owners are major contributors to his campaign fund. He also didnt tell them that the liquor store (Primos) involved in the allegation of making illegal liquor deliveries was another major campaign contributor. And, during the city council hearing, when Lantigua listed businesses that he says proves Twomey was targeting, because of racism, he didnt tell the council that every single one of them was listed on his campaign contribution list as well.
When it was all over, Lantiguas support for Mayor Sullivan was exposed (Lantigua is quietly backing him in the mayors race), so he hastily put together a press conference to endorse Carlos Matos as damage control. His hope is that Matos' candidacy will divide the Latino vote enough to hurt Marcos Devers and ensure that Sullivan gets one more term - thus opening the door for Lantigua to run for mayor himself in four years.
Divide, divide, divide! I guess racial loyalty only points one way with Lawrences own Al Sharpton!
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