The Ward 6 City Council race continues to become further entangled in barbs this week after an accusation of sign meddling last week, this time with Candidate Al Lattanzi saying his opponent, Councilor Michael McLaughlin, has failed to run a clean and positive campaign.
Lattanzi, in an op-ed in the paper, said he and McLaughlin agreed at the outset of the campaign to run on the issues, to keep things positive, and not go negative. However, this week Lattanzi said McLaughlin is not following through.
“I have spent the entire summer on the streets, knocking on thousands of doors while listening to your concerns,” Lattanzi wrote in an op-ed. “My opponent has done the same. However, instead of talking about the issues that matter and his record, or lack thereof, he has chosen to talk negatively about my family, my business, and my character. He has even gone so far as chastising my supporters and removing my campaign signs… The behavior exhibited by my opponent is erratic, hostile, threatening and is simply unacceptable for someone that holds an elected office. He cannot lie his way out of this one.”
McLaughlin categorically denies having removed signs from a property last July, and gave his account of the incident in last week’s Independent. His accuser, Rebecca Le, has said McLaughlin took down the signs in a fit of rage – that coming in a letter to Council President Rich Dell Isola and in an interview with the Independent. Le was expected to appear before the Council Tuesday night, after the paper’s deadlines, to discuss her allegation in a public forum.
McLaughlin told the Independent that there is a review going on and a defined process, and he looks forward to that playing out.
However, when it comes to the campaign, he said he blames the DeMaria Administration for the sudden change in the tenor of the campaign. Mayor DeMaria has been actively campaigning for Lattanzi, though that’s likely because Lattanzi formerly served as the mayor’s campaign chairman.
“As far as the campaign goes, I have respect and numerous times I have stated that I have respect for Al and Al is a fine individual,” said McLaughlin. “I have respect for his family and have had a good working relationship with (his wife) Dolores in the Mayor’s Office for as long as I can remember. For me, with three weeks to go before Election Day, the race has pivoted from a race between Al and myself to a race between myself and the DeMaria Administration…They are trying to silence a voice for the people of Everett…Al is a good guy and I still consider him to be a friend. I hope we can shake hands on Nov. 5 and move forward…It’s the furthest thing from the truth I would bad-mouth him, his family or his business.”
Lattanzi further elaborated the McLaughlin has been criticizing Lattanzi for how he conducts business as a vendor for the City of Everett. McLaughlin said that is not the case, but Lattanzi wrote that it is the case.
“My opponent and his supporters have attacked my character and business, implying that I’ve done something wrong in doing business with the City,” he wrote. “It’s not the first time my business and character have been attacked for political gain. I know that small businesses are the backbone of this community. If elected, I will work with the DeMaria Administration and the City Council to promote the use of more local vendors and support of small businesses.” McLaughlin told the Independent that he actually supports Lattanzi doing business with the City, and would like to see his store and other Everett businesses contract with the City more often.