From My Corner: February 8, 2024

Protest during State of the City

On the morning of February 6, Fidelina Santiago and Jennifer López were brought before a judge in Salem, MA on 16 charges of violating election laws.  They entered a of not guilty plea.

Santiago and López were then released on Personal Recognizance with the following conditions.

  1. Surrender passport
  2. NOT to travel outside the country
  3. Report to probation
  4. to police for booking

The case will continue April 4th at the Salem Court.

Meanwhile, Vladimir Acevedo, the candidate who lost in District A, appeared at City Hall that evening wearing a t-shirt that said ELECTORAL FRAUD = ILLEGITIMATE COUNCIL in protest during the City Council session.


Odds and Ends at City Hall

Last week there was not enough time for me to write about other things besides the Lawrence Redevelopment Authority (LRA) but there were many notes left behind.

For example, on January 16, the Personnel Committee of the City Council was to interview four candidates to fill the vacancy at the School Committee seat on District D.  Four candidates applied but two were rejected because they didn’t live in the district so the other two were invited to attend the next council meeting and be interviewed.

One of the two decided to appear through Zoom and the last one never came. After a few questions, it was discovered that he also doesn’t live in District D and was disqualified.

Fortunately, at the recent meeting of the City Council, they were able to interview a new candidate for the school committee position who resides in the district and will be a great addition to that body.  Saundra Edwards is an attorney who is very interested in education, and she was unanimously welcomed by the councilors.

This process shouldn’t have to be so tortuous for them, but it goes to show the lack of knowledge our residents have.  The fact that to be a member of the school committee the only requirement is to be a resident of the district you are going to represent.  Lawrencians need more civic information!

The personnel director resigned, and I’m told that it was because some of his authority was taken away from him.  Apparently, that was also the reason for the previous person in that position.


City Charter – Temporary absence of the Mayor

During the past week, the absence of Mayor Brian DePeña was reason for at-tacks on social media, questioning whether he notified the council president that he would be out of the country.  Let’s clarify first what the City Charter says:

4.10 Temporary Absence of the Mayor.

(a) Acting Mayor. Whenever by reason of illness or absence from the city, the mayor shall be unable to perform the duties of his office for a period of three successive working days or more, the president of the city council shall become the acting mayor. The mayor shall notify the city council president in writing of an absence of the mayor from the city for a period of 3 or more successive working days.

(b) Powers of Acting Mayor. The acting mayor shall have all of the powers of the mayor except that he shall not make any permanent appointment nor removal to or from any office unless the disability of the mayor shall have continued for sixty days or more, nor shall he approve or disapprove of any measure passed by the city council unless the time within which the mayor must act would expire before the return of the mayor. During any period in which the council president is serving as acting mayor he shall not be eligible to vote on any measure as a member of the city council.


Mayor DePeña claims to have emails to prove that he notified the Council President Jeovanny Rodríguez and several telephone calls that went unanswered. This is a serious issue because someone must be in charge in case of any unexpected circumstances in the city.

It’s a shame when rumors and innuendos on social media misinform the public and damage the reputation of a person.  Please try going to the source and get the correct information.




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