What a crock from the man they call "the Rock." But get used to it. He is truth challenged. The firefighters fight this emergency with the truth and have been handing out flyers telling residents and business leaders about the mayor's dangerous plan of political retaliation. Alcaldito only has lies to give the hundreds of citizens who have called to demand that he keep the firefighter staff as is.
The mayor's office is actually telling these hundreds of callers to call the fire union instead. "Call Mario Pico," one woman told me when I called, "and ask him why the union does not want to come to an agreement with the city." Other callers are told to call the fire union president, and the mayor's staff provides the phone number, because the firefighters want to raise taxes to preserve their benefits.
Let's be clear: The firefighters, like Ladra, know that there does not have to be any tax increase because the council is squandering funds elsewhere. Like with no-bid contracts (about $1 million in the last meeting alone), some of which go to companies or people who make campaign contributions. Like the created positions for cronies and lackies, some of which just got "salary adjustments" -- including one mayor's aide that went from $1,776 a month to $2,884 a month. Would the mayor need to raise taxes for these things? The firefighters, like Ladra, know that there do not have to be any new taxes in order to maintain staffing levels where they are, which are already insufficient to cover a city of 220,000 residents that swells to a population of 500,000 during the weekday. This "tax increase" argument is a scare tactic used to bully and smear the firefighters even more.
But su alcaldito has to say that. He has no defense, no excuse for his threat to cut 40 percent of the firefighter paramedic personnel. It is threat and it is extortion because both he and the council president, Isis "Guttermouth Girl" Garcia-Martinez have publicly said that if the union were to make concessions -- not negotiate, but just take the concessions the city wants to force on them -- there would not be anybody fired. Really? Is that even legal? Let's rewind to July 20, when it was the city that declared impasse on the union not even two hours into negotiations. And they had planned it. The impasse document was prepared beforehand and brought into the meeting -- which shows a total lack of good faith. The city went into those negotiations clearly intending to declare impasse (and they will lose again when this is legally brought to the state board that oversees public employee relations).
This is just political payback because the union backed his opponent, former mayor Raul Martinez, in this November election and his mentor/master Julio Robaina's opponent, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez. Otherwise why would Hernandez distribute an old newspaper article about past hostilities between the firefighters and Martinez at his press conference about the budget? What does that have to do with the 2011-2012 allocation of funds?
By the way, Mayor Gimenez, why are you so silent on this? Won't this affect county services, too? Aren't you representing Hialeah citizens also, Mr. "Mayor for All"? Wasn't this a group that backed you and helped you get elected?
For that matter, where are the other elected leaders that represent and speak for this community? I contacted Miami-Dade Commissioner Esteban Bovo, State Sen. Rene Garcia (R, District 40) and State Rep. Eddy Gonzalez (R, District 102) -- all of them former Hialeah council members who are quite easy to find in the City of Progress during election season -- before the first budget hearing last week and asked if they were going to go. I have yet to hear back from any of them. I guess election season for them is too far off.
So let's call their offices, too, to see what they think.
- Gimenez can be reached at 305-375-5071 or email@example.com
- Garcia can be reached at 305-824-5058 or at 305-364-3100 and his district office is at 3814 W. 12th Ave, just above the campaign office for su alcaldito and the incumbents minus one
- Gonzalez can be reached in Tallahassee at 850-488-1683 or his district office in Hialeah Gardens, 10001 NW 87th Ave., 305-364-3066.