Friday, July 15, 2011

Hialeah mayor bluffs about budget

There were more questions than answers after Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernandez ended his press conference "to discuss the city's finances" Friday, where he presented misleading numbers. Especially since the information seemed to be pulled from the air, offered nothing to back it up and refused to answer relevant and legitimate questions about his puffed up numbers.

Maybe his figures are on steroids.

In fact, the "press conference" looked more like a campaign stunt, a set-up soundbite opportunity to say he was not going to raise the taxes and that he would have a balanced budget. He always looked right at the camera when he said this multiple times. But he didn't say how. So, in fact, we don't know anything more now than we did Friday morning.

First, he provided members of the media with a "daily cash report" dated Wednesday -- before Thursday's weekly "check run" for payments to vendors, suppliers and contractors and before Friday's $3.2 million payroll was issued. Then, he refused to answer when Ladra asked how much of the $9.4 million he said was in the Suntrust account Wednesday was in unencumbered general fund monies as opposed to earmarked enterprise funds like the gas tax revenues or storm sewer utility, which can only be applied to certain expenses and not general operating costs.

"You will have to put that question in writing," he told me, and then basically shut the press conference down. Even though other questions in writing have not been answered and it's extremely relevant to the issue he was talking about. And it's something he should know. So basically, here is the interim mayor and candidate, providing a number that he knows is false, hoping nobody would ask about those things and refusing to answer when someone does. Finance Director Vivian Parks, Budget Director Alex Vega and Water and Sewer Director Armando Vidal -- all standing to the side, presumably to lend the mayor some credibility, but making themselves actually complicit in the smoke and mirrors -- should have known the answer also. But they are not allowed to speak anymore, according to a gag order issued last week.

Hernandez would not answer the second part of Ladra's question, which was to confirm that the "daily cash" in the Suntrust account was actually about $6.2 million today, because it is payday and the payroll takes about $3.2 million. Then I wanted to ask how much Thursday's check run was, to subract it from the $6.2 mil. Then I wanted to ask about how they would make the next five payrolls through the end of the fiscal year, which totals about $19 million. With a shortfall of about $13 million for that, I wanted to ask -- and did put it in writing earlier this week -- what the project revenues are for this month, August and September.

Ladra doesn't think the revenues are going to be enough, judging from trial balances that project this month's accounts receivables at $44,000. Maybe that's why Hernandez wants to take out a short-term credit line. He said it was to have a revolving fund for capital improvements that the city advances funding for while the county or state or federal bond or grant monies come through. So it's a loan secured on the accounts payable from these projects, which he says the city has dipped into the general fund to start and/or complete.

Although he called it his general fund. A few different times.

"We have been fronting $4-$6 million from my general fund," Hernandez said. "When that money money moves back in and out... I'm not comfortable with that." So he will ask the council to take out a line of credit at the next council meeting, he said.

"So I feel better. I don't have to do it... but I'm going to feel very omfortable in case of extreme emergencies," Hernandez said, adding again that he would "put it into my general account.

"I'm going to have it to be there for whatever comes to mind," he said.

Like payroll? Like payments to the vendors whose checks are reportedly being held? Like paying the 16 firefighters who were fired illegally for the five months they were illegally laid off, as ordered by an independent arbitrator?


We don't know. Because he won't answer any questions. But if he thinks this non press conference would relieve the pressure from the media and employees demanding more specific information and evidence, he is even denser than his critics say he is. Ladra thinks it's going to be worse.


Stay tuned to As Hialeah Churns and we will see.



49 comments:

  1. I still do not understand why they don't answer all the questions?

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  2. Claudia FernandezJuly 15, 2011 at 5:08 PM

    Porque piensa que somos unos tontos. Este nene es tan obtuso que se cree que el unico inteligente es el y que todos los demas somos unos burros.
    Carlito...A-E-I-O-U - mas sabe el burro que tu!

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  3. The council better not approve a line of credit so that he "feels better" and uses it "for whatever comes to mind" did he really say that?
    Why won't the council stop this madness from continuing to happen?

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  4. Claudia FernandezJuly 15, 2011 at 5:36 PM

    Porque el lema del Concejo es.

    1 - 2 -3 -4 - 5

    Cuando el Alcalde me dice algo yo brinco.

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  5. so they still haven't followed the ruling about illegally firing the firefighters? that's so wrong!

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  6. Hernandez is getting advice from Alberto san Pedro

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  7. People this is basic math. 3.2mil a payroll doesn't leave much room for the rest of the year. Nice to see Ms. Vivian and Vega standing by, now they are part of the shell game. Better get a bigger cell for when the shit hits the fan.

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  8. And the Council is to blame along with the Finance director and Budget director. They need to clean house in Hialeah. Incredible that the council will allow him to borrow money!

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  9. If a loan is not approved and secured by the city, employees will not get paid. That is the real issue.

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  10. What part people don't understand? The city is broke. The supposed 19 million surplus is a lie that was created to make Julio Robaina look good. This lie has now landed on Carlos and the entire coucil's hands. Robaina was banking on getting elected so he could clean-up some of the mess he left behind in Hialeah.

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  11. Julio Robaina should run for Hialeah mayor. Robaina had a surplus and hernandez spend it.get rid of all the firefighter they have the city broke.

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  12. Julio Robaina is the one who got the City into this situation along with the City council and his entourage of do nothings. The report that was provided ended Sept 2010 and they released it before his second run for county, every person who handles a checkbook knew that the figure was old and not dependable. Also the amount in the bank was 8 million with 11 million owed to the city. What a bad joke. Robiana is not fit to handle any type of finances.

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  13. Budget are done yearly and have to add up and equal to the budget amount . Hernandez is just so stupid he can't balance his personal check book.
    The problem here is who is goingbto do the budget with Robaina no longer mayor. A 3rd party report will be helpful so hernandez can see what a stupid he is making of himself.

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  14. The stupidity that Hernandez and the council made were as follows:
    1.Saying yes to everything.
    2.Blaming the employees for everything.
    3.Continuing to lie about the shortfall this year when the budget was balanced for 2010-2011 and he and the council approved it.

    Yet the greatest stupidity to date is that they are all taking the fall for Robaina. Now that is Stupid.
    They cannot muster the intelligence to speak up and admit the truth.

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  15. @PEPE

    Whoever the he'll you are, shut up!!! You are obvious a Julio fan and don't know anything that's going on.

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  16. Anonymous at 5:43AM

    Why don't you tell us?

    You obviously went to the free Inglish classes at Hialeah High. Also, it's hell, not he'll.

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  17. Raul is to concern about discrediting hernandez and garcia is walking the street and working this election hard. Garcia next mayor in Hialeah .

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  18. Great article in the Herald about how Robaina and Hernandez lied about the finances. Sure hope they expose everything the council has done to hurt the cities residents and it's employees. Can't wait till the other details come to light.

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  19. You guys should worry about garcia because he is working hard and if you piss of Robaina he will run again and win. Hialeah is Robaina !!!
    The city is fine financially. More to come on that later. Hernandez is just so stupid he can't figure it out.

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  20. Lickerprick where are you? Speaking to martinez to get on his payroll like your partner Elaine " Fired" Devalle.
    Elaine add how much money is due to the city from the county,state and other departments. In business Elaine you spend money that was approved on the budget and you collect your revenues. Need to collect revenues not take a floating line until this money comes in. Hernandezvis one stupid fool, and you can't figured that out.

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  21. Elaine, I still don't understand why your supporting Martinez. I don't undersand the unions and employees, did they forget all the impasses and budget fights with Raul during the good times? I just wrote an article on Hernandez and I have to admit I agree with you on his handling of the position thus far...

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  22. I am voting for Rudy in Novemeber and every other new candidate to replace the bad ones we have now. I think they dont know how to help the people in the City and they have been given lots of time and they still dont do anything for the people. They only do things for the fat mayor and the I 'dye' my hair mayor. They are all not good for Hialeah.

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  23. @responder the employees are talking to everyone and anyone they can to get the story out about the City finances. Good honest truth, Martinez is the only one screaming about it and asking the tough questions beacuse he is not scared to do so. They and everyone knows all about Raul nothing new can be said that would shock anyone, the only place he can go from there is UP because he is the only one that is explaining these monetary concerns to everyone.

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  24. => My misinformed friend Will...wish I could say that it is nice to see you here. Well, actually it is, because I do so enjoy playing with dumb animals; though I do quickly weary of those who have no conception of reality; those with faith based or false based reasoning. I do not speak with Raul Martinez. He was often a target of my poetic vitriol. I have no need to be on anyone's payroll but my own. I certainly would never be on the payroll of any Gusano politician. I have been in Hialeah since before the plague hit, back when Henry Milander ruled. I may be in Hialeah, but Hialeah is not in me. I would like to ride out this election without taking sides; for I find it difficult to ever support a Republican. I only took a very active role in the County Mayoral election because I knew how dirty and dangerous Robaina was and is; and I am a County resident, but not a Hialeah resident. I have Rudy Garcia signs posted at my store. I have looked at Garcia's legislative record, and it is impressive. I have spoken to him on several occasions, and he has some very good ideas to jumpstart the Hialeah economy. As I posted previously, the Hialeah economy is not good; perhaps because so much of the populace's disposal income is being redirected out of the consumer based economic engine, and into the hands and pockets of Robaina's cohorts via the illegal maquinitas. Likewise, business is not great at my store; but times were once good, very good, great even. We have a saying amongst my people...Jesus may have saved.....but Moses invested. I have no need to be on anyone's payroll, nor is Elaine my partner (though I wouldn't refuse a Tango twixt the sheets with her). I support a candidate only because I believe in them. Will, I am purchase proof. Some people cannot live within their means, no matter how much money they earn. My means greatly exceed my needs; for a multitude of lifetimes.And now for your perusal, coming to a liquor store near you soon:
    THE CITY THAT CEASED
    TO PROGESS IS BROKE
    DON'T CRY OR SHOUT
    JUST THROW THE BUMS OUT

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  25. Madame Ladra, I like you CPA exlpanations regarding the Hialeah finances, they are not good as the new Mayor has said. To me the future Mayor will be Senator Rudy Garcia. Hay una papa caliente en el futuro presupuesto de la ciudad que Progresa. Candela dice

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  26. Lickerprick we agree on something. Rudy Garcia will be the next Mayor of Hialeah and things are getting better in Hialeah with it's economy. So make sure you take sides and vote and take a active roll with Garcia because if you have Fidel-Martinez as our next Mayor who ever goes against his wishes is going to pay a big price. Maybe your name will go back to lickerpoet if you continue on your Garcia path. It's ok that we don't agree on Robaina but we need to all in Hialeah make sure that the real criminal Martinez is not elected.
    I hope Elaine realizes that Martinez is shit and all bad for everyone.

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  27. Real truth of miami.com

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  28. Yo, Won't. Again, your reading comprehension sucks. I can't vote in this election. I'm not a Hialeah resident. I don't care what you call me; as long as it isn't the defendant or the deceased. I'm just an observer in this election; for the ultimate oxymoron is....an honest Cuban American politician.

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  29. You have a business in Hialeah just make sure people and your one employee vote for Garcia. Is that hard to comprehend Lickerprick? That is the problem we have in America all you democrats.
    Lickerprick my grammar might be weak but thank God I have surrounded myself with people that write well and have made a fortune!! What a country.
    You write great and sell Johnny Walker for a living!!!
    Elaine writing is terrible and she does that for a living, why you kiss her ass? I follow her blog because I am tired of her one dimensional writing. Look at this Hialeah election , all she is writing is on the previous power. Why not on the convicted criminal and bad dude Raul Martinez.

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  30. Gotta love how much dialogue has been generated by the financial questions at Hialeah City Hall.
    But I want to chime in with a reality check.

    First, a verbal spanking for the poet... even though he might like it more than he should when I put it like THAT: It isn't right to generalize about anyone. Not your clients. Not Hialeahns. Not Democrats. Not Cuban American politicians. I refuse to believe that honesty is something that can be defined by nationality (or race, gender or whether one is a vegetarian or eats lots of red meat). And, while funny the first time, those type of comments make you seem so less brilliant than you truly are.

    @Responder & Will: Not that you have any credibility, having been wrong already on so much, including the mayoral race. And since your reading comprehension truly does match that of a slow 2nd grader, I will write this slow. I. Am. Not. Working. For. Anyone. Nor am I supporting (yet) anyone in the mayor's race. Not that it matters. Like my poet, Ladra does not vote in the city of Hialeah (hmmm... not yet, that is. I could look for an apartment THERE. Bwaah hah hah). I will admit that I would like to see all the incumbents unseated. But to say that I support Raul is quite a stretch. What I have written each time is that I believe Raul would win if the election were today. I could be wrong, sure. But that's why it's my blog. And there are quite a few people who share that belief.

    That said, I've never met Rudy and I might change my mind. Like I've said before, I am accessible to everyone and give everyone the benefit of the doubt, to a fault. Plus, he could pose a close call, especialy if Rudy is working while Raul keeps entertaining young Carlito's theatrics. Mr. Mayor should not give the intern mayor tanta importancia, and I told him so myself because, yes, I've seen Raul around the city and talked to him and Ladra finds him rather informative and enlightening and suprisingly charming when he isn't trying to boss you around. But my media advice to him, like it was to Julio Robaina (the great financial administrator, indeed) before him, is free of charge. In fact, anyone who wants media advice for their campaign can get in touch with me. That includes Rudy, too.

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  31. Ladra, because I am a fair minded individual and always want to hear what others have to say I went and took a look at the truth blog. I realized right away that this is not an investigative blog written to enlighten the general public on what is going on in our communities. It reads like a really pissed off republican woman, who started this blog in June to deflect the truth about Mr. Robaina that was being reported by many media outlets.
    This blog is used as a defense for all the actions taken by the pior Mayor and even makes threats to the present Mayor regarding Mr.Robaina making a comback or supporting Rudy Garcia.
    The comments posted by others against you are incredibly low class and are a way to get any attention that they can. I wish both you and lickerpoet would not humor them and her with any more comments. The blog they started is a joke and an insult to all investigative work that is done by you and others.

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  32. Though the verbal spanking does sound intriguing, I would much prefer a good ol'
    tongue-lashing. As for my generalization about honesty, or lack thereof, being defined by a specific nationality, I defer to another award winning (PEN award)investigative journalist Ann Louise Bardach, who in her 2003 book Cuba Confidential: Love and Vengeance in Miami and Havana, refers to Miami's Cuban exiles as a ''modified dictatorship'' with a ''mirror system'' to intimidate and stifle dissent, she also describes them as ''the roughest, toughest crowd this side of the Mujahadeen'' and blames them for making ''corruption a growth industry.''
    Corruption a growth industry. I could not have said it as well. I guess that is why she is a PEN award winner, and I am just a blog groupie.
    Still, I grovel at thy cyber feet and supplicate for the aforementioned reward...err.. punishment that I so richly deserve.

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  33. I love Bardach's writing. But even she sees things through a perspective that is not everyone's. This is coming from an exile daughter who has been to Cuba 7 times and believes our current policy is ass backwards. But it's inevitable that in a community of so many Cubans, you are going to get a few delincuentes. And while I believe that political corruption is indeed more of a cottage industry, because it benefits really a small circle rather than the community at large, I don't believe it's monopolized through nature by any one nationality. Dominated, perhaps, because of a number of factors, incljding the sheer number of us, er, them. I'm sure that other nationalities -- Irish, Mexican, Italians -- dominate the corruption in other cities. In South Florida, it's nearly impossible not to be the best or most at lots of things -- including business, art, music, and, sure, medical fraud and political graft. But non Cubans get arrested all the time in Broward County, too.

    In other words, Yes, Virginia, there is a Cuban Mafia. It's just a lot smaller and less relevant than what all these authors -- whose own cottage industry depends on dealing in dramatic details -- would have you believe.

    Tongue lashing done. ;P

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  34. Elaine are you a communist? Wow!! 7 times in Cuba as a vacation? Wow! Wow! Wow!
    Your old friends at the herald will love to know who you really are. The older generation Cubanos are going to be very very upset.

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  35. So funny how you have to grasp at straws everywhere. I never said I went on vacation. I visit family, lived off the black market and interviewed dissidents and human rights activists. After one trip, I returned with 105 human rights denounciations (some with photos) sewn into my leather jacket (turned into Amensty International later). And the Herald knew. It was great for them and twice I was sent in covertly as a journalist. Now, go take your meds. Maybe up the dose.

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  36. That is 3 trips that you can so- call justify. How about the other 4 trips? Where you working on the Bimini - Cuba ferry? Is that why you and martinez are so close?
    Next Tuesday at Hialeah city hall, residents of Hialeah don't like communist so they will be in large crowds expressing there freedom of speach against people that visit Cuba . I hope all the media will be there. See you next Tuesday . You communist

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  37. Virginia are you ok with your friend Elaine going to Cuba?

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  38. Interesting how we have segued from one failed economic system to another, from Hialeah to Cuba. There never seems to be one answer to satisfy all the Cuban Diasporans, for as Ladra eloquently pointed out, they are not monolithic in belief or practice; to visit or not to visit, to embargo or not to embargo; but frankly, this is not the issue at hand right now.
    The failure of Fidel Castro's economic experiment has been romanticized by this phrase "he loved his revolution more than he loved his people." Now, my little droogies, how will Robaina's sycophants rationalize, and romanticize, this disparity between the Myth of Robaina's Mastery of Financial Wizardry, and this apparent shortfall in the City of Hialeah's pocketbook?

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  39. Lickerprick you really dislike Robaina . I was told you wanted a variance at your business and it was denied. If it would have been approved your dislike on Robaina would have been favorable. End of discussion.
    Elaine is a communist and you know it.

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  40. Won't; you continue to be grossly misinformed. I have never asked for a variance at my business. I would be interested to know what this supposed variance was for, perhaps I might want one after all, for man always seems to want that which he has been denied. With this same reasoning, I would conjecture that your greatest desire would be for an education, for obviously you were denied one. Please, Won't , I can be legitimately attacked on many fronts; political, religious, intellectual; please try to keep your assaults within the realm of reality. There is no need to make stuff up. As far as Elaine's economic perspective, heck I don't care about a woman's economics; as long as she gets on top, I'm happy. There ya go, Won't, I'm a sexist pig. Run with it.

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  41. Okay, enough fun. Back to the issue at hand.
    Ms. Ladra, you state that the Budget Director, the Finance Director, and the Water and Sewer Director have been restrained from discussing these public issues with their actual employers, the public. The image of 3 blind mice, or maybe the Three Stooges, appears in my mind. Yes, I guess the Three Stooges, since they are not being restrained from seeing the evil, only from discussing it. Who would have, or could have, issued such a gag order, certainly not a court? I have not had the pleasure of reading the City Charter, or the job descriptions for the positions of these three stooges, but even though they serve at the pleasure of the Mayor, don't they work for us? Can the Mayor really order a public employee not to discuss the public's business with the public? Sometimes the cover up is worse than the crime. (Please see Martha Stewart.) I would think that their
    refusal to respond to valid written requests would verge on Conspiracy (seems to be a prosecutorial catch all charge)if funds have been misappropriated. I'd just like Ladra's opinion, since since has more experience with investigative tools; waterboarding, electrified testicular clamps, et.al.

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  42. Lickerprick
    I am sure Elaine has knowledge of water boarding and electrified testicular clamp torture after all her SEVEN visits to Cuba.

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  43. Won't, your peristence is becoming endearing.
    Just be forewarned, can't say you weren't warned.
    Her name may be Ladra, "perro que ladra no muerde", a barking dog may not bite...but that doesn't mean it won't be your testicles in the clamp. "Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned/ Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned." (William Congreve,1697.)

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  44. Shhhhh. Those clamps were supposed to stay between us...

    Now, on the gag order: I was told by Vivian Parks that the mayor issued a memo or email to her and other department heads saying that nobody was to speak to the media or press. All inquiries were to go through the mayor's office or a public records request to the city clerk's office. Of course, I made a public records request for this email. Hope to get it today.

    Parks told Ladra about this new directive -- not that they were very forthcoming before -- on her second visit to the finance director's nice home in Miami Springs (because that is what happens when you repeatedly do not return calls to your public office). She spoke to me at the first visit a day earlier, albeit hesitantly. And sources have told me that she complained to the mayor the next day about my visit, resulting in the gag order (sorry). Something to the effect of "I don't need reporters coming to my house." But I'm not sure. I wasn't there.

    And nobody is talking.

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  45. persistence...sorry...sometimes a cigar is only a cigar....not everything has a profound meaning... though the actual quote from Freud was "sometimes a pipe is just a pipe."...but the cigar misquote brings alive vivid images of Monica Lewinsky's cigar dance...and in that instance, a cigar is not only a cigar.

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  46. Watching Hialeah Politics is so interesting....now we are watching this reincarnation of Raulito is funny to watch unfold. We now see a kinder and gentler Raul, who "only wants to offer his services to the city he loves." Right!! Kids, this is the same Raul who is now gunning for his ex-son in law, who's only sin is not wanting to be married to his daughter, the same Raul who blasted Cuban Republican by calling them sheep, the same raul who punched a kid half his size on the expressway, the same you use to insult fire union officials when the came before the city council.....don't be fooled 60 year old grumpy old men don't change.

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  47. Raul is the same guy also that became Robaina worst nightmare. When Robaina didn't help him with the water plant contract where he was retained and paid 10000 per month trying hard for Robaina to help him make millions.
    Also the same Raul that lobbied for his friend ralph Reyes to get the Hialeah billboard contract.
    Also the same Raul that fucked the firefighters
    Also the same Raul that was convicted of a crime and going to jail.
    Raul is the same shit as always.

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I have decided to moderate comments for a while as there are some that are simply off-subject and have become personal and offensive in nature, attacking not just me but others through this venue.

Comments that add substance and context to the news and issues in the blog will be posted. Comments that use profanity and abuse this open space to attack others will be saved and, when called for, sent to the appropriate authorities.