Thursday, August 25, 2011

Poll: Hialeah incumbents weak

A poll of 300 Hialeah residents paid for by the city's firefighters union puts former mayor Raul Martinez in the pole position for the mayoral race this November with a double-digit lead over incumbent mayor, Carlos Hernandez. But while former State Sen. Rudy Garcia has been in the number three position before, he is now double-digits behind Hernandez -- who has used the bully pulpit to promote his candidacy through a bunch of obvious campaign initiatives -- according to the poll by the same Freddy Balsera who was paid more than $200,000 for work on the county mayoral campaign of former Hialeah mayor Julio Robaina.

Balsera reportedly only charged $5,000 for the poll for the fire union, who fiercely fought Robaina's mayoral bid and is likely not going to endorse his puppet alcaldito. The union leadership, which released only a one-page summary of the poll and not the questions or the numbers themselves (and, yes, I've asked for more and will press for full disclosure) chose Balsera's firm to give the poll credibility and commissioned it because, contrary to popular belief, not all the union members are as supportive of Martinez as the leadership may seem to be. The fire union screening is next week and the poll was commissioned by the leadership to help with the decision. But Martinez certainly has a few things on his side: He supported Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez -- and the firefighters built a rapport working with him on the same side of that -- and his slate has a few fire union friendly candidates, also from Hialeah Team Gimenez, that the anti-incumbent and increasingly influential fire union leadership will likely support. That includes former councilman and housing authority director (until he was fired by Robaina) Alex Morales, who also showed "a commanding lead" in the open seat in this poll after getting high recognition ratings in the poll commissioned last month by Frank Lago, a council candidate and chief of staff to Sweetwater Mayor Manny Marono. This poll says Lago is tied or within the margin of error with incumbent Paul Hernandez, whose seat he is seeking. In fact, all the incumbents are vulnerable and Cindy Miel and Julio Martinez are also tied or within the margin with Council President Isis "Gavelgirl" Garcia-Martinez and Jose Caragol, who they are challenging, respectively. Miel is currently in the seat against Vivian Casals-Munoz with housing authority employee and son of the former chief Danny Bolanos. But Ladra is certain she will switch to rematch Gavelgirl -- and the fact that this poll pit her there instead of with Vivian shows that the fire union or Balsera may have had that inside knowledge.

The glaring omission in the summary is any mention about Bolanos against Casals-Munoz, who was cited as the least favorable incumbent in the Lago poll (which we still want to know how it was paid for). And the reason for that is because Danny Boy, who gets some negative points from past accusations when he was a police officer and his brother's bank robbery conviction, doesn't do too well in this poll. According to people who have seen the numbers, Bolanos has about a 14 percent approval rating or voter support, Ladra is not sure which -- but neither is good. And this is one place Ladra thinks the poll is flawed. And not just because Freddy didn't take Ladra into account, and my anti-incumbent bent is giving Danny his due. But, rather, mostly because we bet the 195 women and 105 men -- 86 percent of which were 56 years old or older -- were not told that Casals-Munoz may have "her fingerprints on everything" that federal investigators are looking at in the Ponzi scheme investigation and the inquiry into Robaina's allegedly questionable loans and business dealings. Even if Vivian-- whose highlights and new hairdo get a thumbs up -- is not eventually implicated officially, some of her role has already been documented. The Miami Herald lists her in an April story about shadow banking allegations against Robaina as one of the creditors who loaned $25,000 to a man that also borrowed more than $1 million from Robaina's partners, Mercy and Rolando and Robertico Blanco. And she is apparently the notary public for most of the Blancos' and Robaina's loans, as well. Ladra is not too sure, but we think that the pending resolution of that federal inquiry will come before November and change that race just a tad. One way or another.

What likely won't change between now and then is the way voters feel about the state of their government. According to the summary released, 65% of those surveyed said the financial condition of the city is either average or poor and 26% cited waste and corruption in government was the top issue followed by property taxes and crime & safety.

Being commissioned by the fire union, there were naturally questions to gauge voters moods toward city employees, who are being blamed for the financial emergency and having contract issues with the administration. "Quality city services" was rated as the fourth most important issue to voters, but the poll doesn't say fourth out of how many. Not surprisingly, 86% of those questioned said the Hialeah firefighters -- who have taken a more visible role in political matters lately after contract negotiations with the former administration basically dissolved -- are doing a a good or excellent job. They are, after all, firefighters. Hello. It's like puppies. Who doesn't love puppies? But, again, what the poll summary does not say is whether those polled were asked if the firefighters were doing a good job saving lives or a good job educating voters and exposing concerns with the current administration's policies and management. Or both.

One thing Ladra would add: They are doing a good or excellent job staying politically relevant. But if they don't show the rest of the poll, it's going to be questioned and misconstrued by their enemies, whose approval rating is not 86 percent. Not even close.


  1. Me thinks Ladra should cut back on the late nite caffeine. Too much info, all at once. Two blog posts, and a barrage of responses on a past post. Perhaps Ladra should have a separate "Continuing Battle" post, where her detractors and supporters can continue to post their pugilistic prose. We could then post only comments here pertinent to the current blog post at hand, but the battle continues... as do I.
    Firt I would like to thank Will for his attempt at civility. I was truly moved; although, this may have been due more to the glass of prune juice I consumed. When one puts their thoughts, their feelings, out into cyberspace, as Ladra does; you become a target; a target for legitimate criticism, and a target for those who just enjoy slinging arrows. Ladra chooses to do this, so she must defend her own actions.
    I do so enjoy the color commentary, the personal viewpoint, the emotion , Ladra expresses. Damn the facts, the polls, the arrest records; Hialeah elections are won on emotions, perceived character, and failing memories. "Life is Hialeah was so good when Raul was Mayor." I believe this is the point Ladra was making when she compared firefighters to puppies. Everyone loves puppies, everyone loves firefighters. This is raw emotion at work, not political machinations. Whether this is good or bad for Hialeah, heck, I am only a consensus of one.
    Now its time for my caffeine. I earnestly await the slings and arrows that will befall Ladra today. Though Ladra may wish only to be a blogger, a reporter, a media mogul; she has acquired a starring role in the Hialeah Telenovela "As Hialeah Churns." Long Live Ladra.

  2. So why report the poll if you don't have all the info?

    I have a poll.....Rudy at 26%, Raul at 22% and Hernandez at 20%, but the key is who would be your second choice.....Hernandez 28%, Rudy 20%, and Raul at 12%.

    Poll was conduct by El Chino and has same credibility as Hialeah Fire Fughters.

    I expected more from cosa linda

  3. Mr. Anonymous,
    The information provided was all that was needed to be given out. The actual numbers are irrelavent in this case. I would love for you to actually come by the office here and lets compare Poll questions if there is any doubt in your mind. What I have realized is that the polls are a snapshot of the people you call at that time. By no means does this dictate a winner in my mind. It better prepares you by the information given by the 300 people you survey. As far as the credibility you refer to this Fire Department has; that was not very nice. Just remeber this: we have been factual since day one. We are a group of straight up individuals who have only sought the truth. We are the group you bash, put down and question, but in time of need you will call our group because we will always perrform despite the political cicumstances. Please do keep that in mind. 752 east 1st ave is the office address if you would like to stop by.

  4. "Only $5,000" to poll 300 people? I want that job. I would like to know the methodology employed in taking this poll. It would be easiest to take an online poll, but then you'd only be polling the computer literate in the city. Maybe stand outside each Publix and ask each 5th customer their opinion, but then you might just be asking the more "Americanized" slice of the population. We'd have to include all the markets; Presidente and Sedano's and others. Okay, so we do start this at 7 AM, when they open, till we have 1,000 responses; but then we are getting a more hard working group of responders, those shopping on their way before a standard job shift. Hmm, how 'bout the phone book instead? Then we'd get only land lines probably, and again, when is the best time to call. Midday?, and then we only reach nanny and papi, babysitting the grandkids.
    I am not disagreeing with the results of this poll, nor am I holding these numbers to my bosom as the current gospel of current Hialeah political thought. I think that this poll only truly proves one thing....lovable as puppies or not...the Fire Union has too much money on their hands if they can drop 5 grand on a 300 person poll.

  5. Random digitzed calling. 20,000 phone numbers are randomly selected and called. This was one of the longest polls ever conducted with a time of almost 20 minutes. Ths took weeks to accomplish. We wanted the truth. We did not want a push poll or a skewed poll to get results to favor any one person or issue. We did not poll by groups of party affiliations as most do. WE USED RANDOM PEOPLE who have the tendancy to vote in the upcoming election. Yes. We spent $5,000.00 to get the feel of the people. This is not and was not taxpayers money. This is money the firefighters put up out of thier own pockets. Already we are suffering but when it comes to getting the turth that will directly affect our future this had to be done.

  6. Johnson, Hialeah Fire Fighters love to get screwed. Amazing to see them all jumping on Raul's slate.....we he stuck it to you guys over and over.....ask poor Luis how Raul use to insult him about what school did his kids go too......but you guys don't care about the community, you guys care about salaries, benefits and your second jobs.

    I like facts:

    Raul will raise taxes
    Raul will stick it to the union, not at first but it will come
    The Hialeah Fire union didn't beat Robaina he carried 78 plus percent of the vote in Hialeah and Northwest Dade.
    If Hernandez doesn't hitch his trailer to that he is screwed
    Raul's negatives are higher than is positives, he is trying to reinvent himself but people will see through it.
    Rudy better start work, and I don't mean emails and twitters.

  7. Morales we have a surprise for you!

  8. Now I am confused. 20,000 random phone numbers were selected; but there were only 300 respondents? I am hoping that this random digitized calling corrected for the disparity in land line versus cell phone usage between the 305 area code with older established numbers and the 786 area code with newer numbers.But still, how do you randomly select over this enormous range of possible numbers and zero in on registered Hialeah voters who have the tendency to vote in this next election? There are still many other variables that could skew the results, such as time of day the calls were made. And how valid is a phone poll anyway? Have you never "cleaned up" your responses for a phone poll, and then voted your own prejudices once alone in front of the voting machine? Perhaps you only selected for idiots who were willing to sit through a 20 minute poll. Eric, I like you, and I agree that this was not taxpayer's money. If it was my union, and my money; I'd be screaming holy terror that these funds were misdirected towards an activity that should be funded by the politicos themselves. If the union has a vested interest in supporting one candidate over another; I would hope they would back their best choice, and damn what the morons who are willing to sit through a 20 minute poll think. The only winner of this poll was Freddy Balsera who now has 5,000 dead presidents in his pocket.

  9. One fact remains...Hialeah is still a city full of know-it-alls who know nothing. The only poll that matters is the one in November, and if the firefighters are satisfied with the way this poll was conducted, who the hell is anyone to sit here and debate poll methods back and forth? Unless your name is Sergio Bendixen or Dario Moreno, you are nobody. So be quiet.

  10. Sit back and watch, time will tell where each candidate stands. Any affiliation with "El Gambero de Hialeah" Robaina once the FEDS get finished will stain a candidate out of the race. So gavelgirl, Viv and el alcaldito need to watch very intently and get ready to back peddal quickly. The only positive for this group of misfits is that el alcaldito is such a polished liar and gavelgirl is so paranoid and psycho that it will appear normal for them to make misleading comments and attempt to lie the're way out of their love affair with "El Gambero de Hialeah". except this time there are people watching that will confront and expose them and the truth each step of the way as el gambero found out during the County Mayoral election. There has been a shift of power in Hialeah politics, the employees and the community have decided that the time has come for political accountability an intergrity words seldom associated with Hialeah politics (especially over the last 6 years). Unfortunetly for those minions currently in power within el alcalditos circle of trust, the time has come to vacate the premises... Look up, the drone is aapproaching........... the count down has starte. Tick tock, tick tock, 60 + days and counting.

  11. Lickerpoet,
    In a sense I do agree with you. We are the only Union that has not conducted polls in the past for political races or even political screening. We beg for a change here in our city and will stop at nothing to do it as we have proven for two years. We beg for the truth not more lies as also we have proven for over two years. I can assure you that the poll was UNSKEWED. We wrote the questions no guidance or interferance on anyones part. The 20,000 phone numbers were the ones listed in the lists provided by the elections departments. The phone calls went on for days and days since it was such a long poll. Some say I was crazy for making it so long but those are the questions I wanted answered. When I said random digitized calling was used the computer program selects teh numbers, randomly, so as not to call by party affiliation, age groups, ethnicities, etc etc... This was a true and accurate poll which has drawn alot of critisicm for reasons I am not aware of. If anything this poll was increible for Carlos Hernandez, his numbers are higher than we expected. I do think rudys numbers were low though. I do understand that this is just s snapshot of a few (300) voters. We thought this poll would help people not draw such critics. The poll summary was shared with Rudy and Raul and it found its way to Carlos Hernandez also. If "ONE" GROUP did not agree with the numbers than the should conduct their own damn poll. It seems that now the integrity of the Fire union is being questioned after the release of this, although the intentions were not were to only help not hurt. I do realize now that next time we conduct a poll I will be selfish and not share even though that is not my nature.

  12. I have just received my Business Tax Receipts from the City of Hialeah. The Business tax was formerly known as the Occupational Tax; new name, same fees. In previous years, a small flyer was mailed along with the receipts explaining that if you needed any business assistance, you could contact the listed number. This was normally black print on white stock paper. This year we have a political work of art provided with our Tax receipt, with an approximately 2" x 3" full color portrait of the soon to be ex-Mayor (Damn if he doesn't take a nice picture.) The largest font on the flyer is reserved for the words Mayor Carlos Hernandez which are sandwiched between the seal of the City of Hialeah, and the seal of Mayor Carlos Hernandez Alcalde. The background motif is of flamingos floating on water. Funny, but I thought finances were tight in Hialeah. I wonder how the cost of this flyer compares to that of previous years. Aaah...the power of incumbency.

  13. Sorry to offend you Eric. My mistake was to comment on the poll without having access to the questions and the methodology employed. That you can assure me that the poll was unskewed, well , no one can do that. Without going heavy into statistical analysis, because I hate statistics; the methodology definitely leaves an imprint on the results. I spent my youthful career performing biological research that always measured up as not statistically valid. This is similar to the Heisenberg uncertainty principle of quantum mechanics, which basically states, that as soon as you've probed into an environment, you've changed the environment. Such is the case with whatever methodology you choose. Your poll used phone polling. You've automatically selected out all the people who won't answer their phone if they do not recognize the name on their caller ID. If someone calls me on the phone for a survey or a poll, I will always ask how long the survey will take. Hey, the person on the other side of the phone is just trying to make a living, but if they were to say 20 minutes, well good luck And again, I must reiterate, and expound on my claim that people tend to poll as their better selves, and then vote their prejudices in the voting booth. If you were to ask most right wingers if we should have a black president, they would probably state that if he was of equal or superior ability, then they would honestly consider voting for him; but once they got into the voting booth, their sentiment might change. It really takes a trained interviewer, face to face, to perform a quality poll; to interpret the facial expressions, the body language. To reach a conclusion from just 300 respondents...well...let us look at this another way. You are going to try one of two experimental drugs, that could be very helpful, but also could be very dangerous. One has been tested on only 300 people, and the other on 1000's of people. Which results are you going to bet your health and your life on?
    Figures can lie, and liars can figure. Its not that I don't agree with your numbers, nor am I questioning your integrity, nor that of the fire union. I am only questioning the integrity of your methodology. Polling is a statistical science that I frankly have little faith in, + or - 5%, that should be left up to the professionals. The only polls that truly matter for this issue will be taken on November 1 and November 15. Hialeah will either go backwards or forwards, but it certainly will not stay the same.

  14. Statistics, schmatistics. Polls are great tools to use as barometers but everbody knows the temperature changes by the second. I like to look at all polls and have been able to peek at the details of this one and it seems legitimate and thorough (worth more than $5,000 but Mr. Johnson can be one persistent pissed off firefighters and I heard he chased Freddy Balsera down on a golf course and wore him out until he agreed). Most of the results seem reasonable. There are a few that appear to be strange: Almost 30 percent think the city's current financial state is poor or very bad but more than 50 percent think the city is going in the right direction, for example. Still, I don't know if it was smart to do a poll or if the poll was perfect, all I know is I am not going to know of a poll and not want to peek at it. It is good to look at all polls and take them at face value for what is there. Lickerpoet, if you know of one with thousands of respondents, please share. Ladra wanted to wait until after qualifying, when we know all the details 'cause there still might be a surprise or two, to do her own poll. But the masses are restless. The pot has been stirred. Let's add some salsa!

    Don't know if you'll like my methodology, though, poet. Or lack thereof. I plan to stand outside Publix, Sedano's and Presidente for an hour each one Saturday or Sunday and just ask whoever looks like they will talk to me who they plan to vote for. I will have a clipboard notebook with names and will draw little lines, or notches, for votes. That's it. The one with the most bundles of five at the end wins. I don't care about age or party affiliation or anything because I am not going to advertise to these people. I am not a consultant. All I care about is who they plan to vote for. I might ask why, for fodder for the story that goes with the poll, but I won't be rating the candidates by favorability (what the hell is THAT?) or negative thingamabobs. It's very unscientific and has been wrong (my exit poll during the mayor's race had Robaina slightly ahead). But it gives me some comfort and confidence. This poll looks good. I need to peek at it again. But maybe what it was is early.

    Oh, and the late nights are due to the fact that since I really don't get paid to do this by any candidate or anyone at all, I do have to make a living sometimes with social media and website management projects, or freelance stories for magazines or Fox News or Univision 23, and usually those have to be done in daylight.

    But it's okay. Ladra likes to walk at night. ;) Hope the google alert doesn't wake you.

  15. Madame Ladra I missed your Blog for the last 15 days, because we where out of Florida. Candela dice.

  16. Bolanos
    Martinez set you up with Vivian. Pulled Cindy out and cut a deal with Vivian. Amazing!!!! That is Martinez for you

  17. It is important that we all sit down and really analyze who it is that is running to govern this city. Here we have Carlos that has been in the council for over 6 years and now he is running for the hills to say that he has done something and he has not. As a police officer he got spanked by his mayor Raul and then a couple of years later when raul was going for the Senate he was kissing his ass and now again Raul sucks. It seems that he does not know what to do to get the votes. The City is a joke starting with his council minus two or three that do not deserve to have clowns like Isis, Paul, and Vivian next to them. Yes while in office Raul did well, as liar and stole money alot of money fro the city. He calls the acting mayor a liar but who is he to talk about when we has lied in the past. As for the fire fighters your poll is as good as your contract 0. I dont know why you would all want to put your selves at risk to bring mister Gotti back. It would be the joke of the year throughout the country and it will give his buddys a chance to make a little more money before they die of old age. With this said if you want to bring back The City of Progress to where our parents first had it when they came from cuba then there is only one man that can do that and that is Rudy Garcia. I am not big in politics, but i do read and this is the person that will lead the city to where it needs to be. I hope that everyone sits down these next couple of weeks and reads up on all the candidates.

  18. RUDY you say? That is just to funny. Where has this man ben for ????????? years? No dout that Raul is a piece of shit, but he is the only piece of shit that can fix this mess left behind by Robaina and his council. The cops and fireman have no clue what coming but as a resident I say I dont care.. I want my city back to the weay it was. Why cannot the county take over those depratments? I will bet this would sabe alot of money for the city. Carlos is a crook, Robaina was crook, vivian is a crook, isis pushes pain medication and we all knwo that Raul is a crook. Who is the crook who can fix the city..

  19. Tired of the same ol' crooks in City Hall....

    Elect new crooks

  20. Carlos, Isis, Peter, Caragol and Vivian need to be removed from office come November. Bottom line they make the City look like Crap. Has anyone taken a look at these people? For Crist sake they are awful looking, un-intelligent and plain speaking a total waste of tax payer representation.


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.

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