Lantigua’s long goodbye

Lawrence may be done with Willie Lantigua, but Lantigua is not yet done with Lawrence.

The irascible — some wonder whether indictable — Lawrence mayor is no quitter. Not when his shaky CIty Hall tenure is wracked by multiple investigations by multiple authorities. Not when residents decide they’ve had enough and vote him out of office. And not, perhaps, even after a meticulously carried out recount, overseen by everyone but international election observer-in-chief Jimmy Carter, confirms his loss and even boosts his deficit from 58 to 81 votes.

So it is that we must wait until later today, when Rey Willie, the emperor with no clothes, says he will reveal — on a Spanish-language radio show — whether he plans to challenge the result of Saturday’s recount in court.

City Councilor Dan Rivera, who has vowed to bring a good-government sheen to a city hall that has glowed with anything but that, eked out an upset win on November 5 by a 58-vote margin out of more than 15,000 ballots cast. Lantigua demanded a recount, not entirely unreasonable given the thin margin of victory. But when Saturday’s hand count of every ballot shifted the balance slightly in Rivera’s favor, Lantigua balked at conceding defeat, saying he had concerns about some ballots. After first saying he would announce on Sunday afternoon whether he planned to challenge the recount results, Lantigua pushed the timeline for an announcement back to 5:30 p.m. today.

For his part, Rivera was exuding grace, telling the Globe’s Adrian Walker that he knows from first-hand experience how tough it is to lose. He said he also understands the regard Lawrence’s Latino majority has for Lantigua, a barrier-breaker who was the first elected Latino mayor in the state’s history.

“For first-generation leaders to break through and get power for people who have been marginalized, people love that,” Rivera told Walker. “People have a great love for him. I have great respect for him for having done it. I just think he blew a huge opportunity.”

That Lantigua squandered his chance seems clear to nearly everyone. We’ll have to wait until later today to see whether he finally agrees.

 –MICHAEL JONAS

       

BEACON HILL

Lawmakers use campaign funds for everything from wedding gifts to cars to stays in pricey hotels, the Telegram & Gazette reports.

The Massachusetts House approves legislation that would allow online registration and early voting, the Eagle-Tribune reports.

State Sen. Eileen Donoghue is hosting hearings across the state on student debt issues, the Lowell Sun reports.

A Boston Business Journal editorial considers the proposed deal on raising the minimum wage and finds it resembles the ill-fated deal on transportation financing which produced the tech tax fiasco. Via Masslive. The MetroWest Daily News, however, says the wage needs to go up in order to, among other things, increase the purchasing power of low wage workers.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Peabody Mayor Ted Bettencourt is seeking 10 alcohol licenses for restaurants downtown and at the North Shore Mall, the Salem News reports.  

Middleboro officials are trying to get commercial rail carrier CSX to stop parking its train cars filled with trash near the town gas plant, fearful a trash fire could trigger a catastrophic explosion. 

New Bedford taxpayers will pay for the repair of the 184-year-old First Baptist Church steeple, which is pictured on the city’s seal. Officials have placed a lien on the property after the congregation said it could not afford to do the work on the unsafe structure. 

A pair of medical marijuana farms are eyeing Amesbury.

CASINOS

A Cape Cod Times analysis finds that gambling opponents have the edge.

Mohegan Sun abandons a casino recount in Palmer and heads east, looking for a potential dance partner in Suffolk Downs. Mohegan will pursue non-gaming redevelopment on its 152 acres in Palmer.

NATIONAL POLITICS/WASHINGTON   

John Bolton, controversial UN ambassador under former President George W. Bush, calls the nuclear agreement with Iran negotiated by Secretary of State John Kerry “abject surrender.”   

A presidential pardon may not be all its cracked up to be. All the turkeys pardoned by President Obama, including the two from last year, have died, most from complications of obesity extending from living a pampered life after receiving clemency. 

The Atlantic deconstructs the failure of immigration reform.

ELECTIONS

The Globe reports on some post-election funny money coming into the campaign coffers of mayor-elect Marty Walsh and his one-time rival and new bestie Charlotte Golar Richie.  

City Hall staffers head for the exits in Boston, as the city prepares for the first administration change in 20 years. 

Mary Connaughton, a former candidate for state auditor who’s now at the Pioneer Institute, will sit out the 2014 election cycle, further depleting an already thin state GOP bench. David Bernstein gives Charlie Baker 55 percent odds of capturing the Corner Office next year, and wonders aloud about a lieutenant governor run by current Boston city councilor Ayanna Pressley.  

Former state Democratic Party boss John Walsh and incoming Boston city councilor Michelle Wu join Dan Rivera’s recount volunteers in Lawrence.  

BUSINESS/ECONOMY   

Tech sector riches, and the arrogance it spawns among some executives, is stirring anger in San Francisco, the New York Times reports.   

EDUCATION   

With Salem schools on a state watch list for poor performance, parents hold their own meetings to discuss the situation, the Salem News reports.  

There were more than 4,400 concussions or other head injuries last school year among Massachusetts K-12 students, the Globe reports.

Three teens were hurt when part of the stands at a Swampscott football field broke and they fell about 15 feet, the Item reports.

HEALTH CARE

The state’s Health Policy Commission is adding the acquisition of a Weymouth doctors’ group to its review of Partners HealthCare’s proposal to take over South Shore Hospital, saying the mergers could result in higher costs for patients south of Boston.  

It’s not only the federal health care website that’s in trouble. The state’s Health Connector site, which had to be relaunched on October 1 to synch up with mandates of the federal law, has had problems of its own.  

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT 

Some towns are telling their residents to mow over their leaves rather than bag them, which is considered better for lawns and less costly for the towns, the New York Times reports.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE   

New Hampshire lawmakers consider a bill that would let some drunk drivers stay on the road using a vehicle ignition system, NECN reports.  

Rogue state lab chemist Annie Dookhan is sentenced to three to five years in prison, raising questions of whether the punishment fits the crime, CommonWealth reports.  

MEDIA 

Meet the Author

Michael Jonas

Executive Editor, CommonWealth

About Michael Jonas

Michael Jonas has worked in journalism in Massachusetts since the early 1980s. Before joining the CommonWealth staff in early 2001, he was a contributing writer for the magazine for two years. His cover story in CommonWealth's Fall 1999 issue on Boston youth outreach workers was selected for a PASS (Prevention for a Safer Society) Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.

Michael got his start in journalism at the Dorchester Community News, a community newspaper serving Boston's largest neighborhood, where he covered a range of urban issues. Since the late 1980s, he has been a regular contributor to the Boston Globe. For 15 years he wrote a weekly column on local politics for the Boston Sunday Globe's City Weekly section.

Michael has also worked in broadcast journalism. In 1989, he was a co-producer for "The AIDS Quarterly," a national PBS series produced by WGBH-TV in Boston, and in the early 1990s, he worked as a producer for "Our Times," a weekly magazine program on WHDH-TV (Ch. 7) in Boston.

Michael lives in Dorchester with his wife and their two daughters.

About Michael Jonas

Michael Jonas has worked in journalism in Massachusetts since the early 1980s. Before joining the CommonWealth staff in early 2001, he was a contributing writer for the magazine for two years. His cover story in CommonWealth's Fall 1999 issue on Boston youth outreach workers was selected for a PASS (Prevention for a Safer Society) Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.

Michael got his start in journalism at the Dorchester Community News, a community newspaper serving Boston's largest neighborhood, where he covered a range of urban issues. Since the late 1980s, he has been a regular contributor to the Boston Globe. For 15 years he wrote a weekly column on local politics for the Boston Sunday Globe's City Weekly section.

Michael has also worked in broadcast journalism. In 1989, he was a co-producer for "The AIDS Quarterly," a national PBS series produced by WGBH-TV in Boston, and in the early 1990s, he worked as a producer for "Our Times," a weekly magazine program on WHDH-TV (Ch. 7) in Boston.

Michael lives in Dorchester with his wife and their two daughters.

Bloomberg L.P., its revenues softening, is questioning whether all the money spent on news gathering is worth it when only 25 to 30 percent of the company’s terminal owners read news stories, the New York Times reports.

National Review holds a fundraiser at Boston’s Harpoon Brewery, whose owners, writer Jay Nordlinger says, “are great supporters of NR.” Nordlinger waxes on about the beauty of the Hub and Massachusetts despite what he says is the area’s intolerance for conservatives.