It felt a letdown after I listened to the rebuttal from Vilma Martinez Dominguez on the radio this past Monday. I was invited last Friday to the radio show hosted by Rafael Disla and Alfonso Rodriguez to talk about my article of September 9, 2021, entitled Can We Trust Vilma? She then approached them in the interest of responding to my comments but requested that no telephone calls be allowed.
My preparation consisted of several applications and documents signed by her and others, and for a moment there was a doubt in my mind as to anything that I may have missed.
She was insulted about my insinuation that she doesn’t have the qualifications she claims to have and presented a piece of paper with the name of the college and a statement that she had a 3.5 average. That was not a copy of her diploma and went on to say that there are no educational requirements to run for mayor of a city.
Of course, we know that. You may go back to the original article mentioned above because I said that her resume, the application for the Community Development job, and the accompanying cover letter, all say very different things. If she could not coordinate her life experiences and have them match, it lends to lacking credibility.
For example, it says somewhere else that she has 24+ years of urban planning experience when the only job she had before this position with the city was as a social worker dealing with abused women mostly. She made no effort to try and clarify it.
Although she agreed to pay for the hours’ worth of programming, she forgot my earlier appearance and went on campaigning as any candidate would instead of refuting my comments.
When the time was up, Alfonso asked a direct question about the most important part of my article and the documentation I presented to them. It was about the cheating to accommodate Franklin Miguel, currently director of DPW to receive $15,000 from the lead paint removal program and also receive a $35,000 loan for home repairs. He was eligible for both thanks to the inclusion of false information and the exclusion of details that would have placed him at a higher income level, thus rendering him ineligible.
This is one case that I followed wondering how many other friends have been made recipients of favors like that. Those funds come into the city from the federal and state governments for low-income families, not for people who need to lie to get ahead.
Vilma did say that those actions are penalized by the government and if HUD finds out, Franklin will have to return that money. Regarding why it happened, she said that there’s a lot of paperwork and few employees to handle the caseloads and in the end, “People make mistakes.” This case was not a “mistake.”
Elections are here!
This is the last edition before September 21st and, if there’s one thing I can recommend is to consider very carefully who you are going to vote for. Lawrence is in trouble. Notice that no one wants to talk about problems in the City Council. They are spending money like drunken sailors and the answer is to go up in the property taxes.
We all want to have the best of everything but it seems that Lawrencians have no limits in the give-me, give-me, give-me department. Nobody is talking about the $69 million in debt and the high interests we are paying. We are building another police station very soon that will cost us around $10 million more considering the state’s reimbursement.
Then, we want new schools. We have to reason things out and live within our means. If they already said that for the next five years the taxes will go up 2.5% each year, who are going to be living here? The next mayor should freeze all expenditures and spend only on what’s necessary to make sure we are on a firm footing.
Every time a candidate says that they are going to build more affordable housing, I’m glad they are not in my presence. Take a look at what they have done in that area through the last 20 years. They become low income by being built by some non-profit organization that doesn’t pay property taxes to the city while increasing the student population in our schools, the demand for police and fire is also felt and it is the average homeowner whose taxes keep going up footing the bills.
Don’t fall for those empty promises or unattainable ideas. There are some candidates, particularly for the city council that are aware of what they are getting into and want to find ways to help.
For the past 25 years, since we started this publication, I have been very opinionated and have no hesitation telling you the truth – not my truth, the facts. I have made many enemies, lost friends, and have been accused of many things. That’s OK. I take my job very seriously and my only intention is to allow you to see the light on certain things, educate our community in areas that will enhance their lives. Families and politics are areas where most of us are naïve and come election time, we don’t select judiciously.
You can see who they are if you follow their antics. People like Maria De La Cruz, District A councilor who has been trying to get a job with the city since she started in the council. She has managed to get relatives into positions but apparently, she has not had any luck for herself.
Maria is so confident that she will be reelected to the council that she doesn’t bother to do fundraisers or asks for campaign contributions. She received no money during 2020 and in 2019 it was from SEIU and Merrimack Valley Central Labor Council AFL-CIO. As a result, she has not filed campaign reports during 2021 even though the Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) has been billing her every month for the $300 that she owes in penalties.
OCPF will be issuing additional fines soon because De La Cruz was to file another report 8 days before the Preliminary Election and failed to do that.
Last week she held a cookout and the police department sent the ice cream truck to give out free ice cream. Can you imagine that? Other candidates should try asking for the same service to see what response they get. Between the cookout expenses, flyers that she had printed, etc., she should be filing an expense report.
Lucky for District A residents, they have an alternative this year.
Dr. Phil McGraw often says, “The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.”