But Ladra's suspicions that the mayor and perhaps one or more council members are abusing their power seemed to gain traction Thursday night when former Mayor Raul Martinez whipped out a police report about himself -- the subject of surveillance by Internal Affiars -- on the Los Implicados magazine-type show on MegaTV. The story will likely travel at the speed of light now that it was confirmed by Enrique Flor of El Nuevo Herald, who talked to the chief and the mayor and posted the story Friday. http://www.elnuevoherald.com/2011/10/07/1039948/martinez-denuncia-uso-de-policia.html (Hard copy is likely on Saturday and Ladra is going to buy 10. They make lovely gifts).
Alcaldito Carlos Hernandez himself, according to the police chief, called in the complaint after getting an "anonymous" tip that Martinez would be at a public housing building at 1360 Westr 26th Place (with 300 unites) at 5 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 22. Martinez was tailed by Internal Affairs Det. Hilda Reyes -- who made a detailed report of what she could see. "Former Mayor Raul Martinez was observed entering apartment 207C at the Affordable Housing facility... a neighbor on apartment 207C was seen getting chairs and placing them inside the apartment. Other neighbors were also seen brining in white boxes of what appeared to be pastries." That's right, ladies and gentlemen: smoking pastelitos. "The meeting was very private it lasted about an hour and there were approximate 10 neighbors inside the apartment. Once the meeting concluded, Mr. Martinez exited the apartment very quietly and waved at some neighbors that were outside of their apartments. Mr. Martinez was not observed giving any political speeches in public to the elderly community while he was there. He did not do any door-to-door solicitation of any kind and nor did he conduct any presentations in public. There were no political signs or advertisement posted or displayed at the elderly community complex while Mr. Martinez was present," reads the intricately-detailed report by Reyes, who also included parts of the policy on third party solicitation in city-owned residential properties (housing centers, aka voting hubs), since the complaint was about a violation of that policy which the mayor, a former police lieutenant, had coincidentally distributed a reminder of in the city five days earlier. "I did not find any evidence that Mr. Martinez was giving political speeches in residential properties for the elderly. I did not find any evidence that Mr. Martinez violated the listed policy," Reyes wrote.
Martinez told Ladra that it was a "meet and greet" by one of the residents, whose rights to invite political candidates into her home are not only protected by the constitution but also by the city policy on public housing, as stated in the internal email reminder of the policy on August 17. "This policy is not intended to curtail political speech. Political speech shall be permitted in City of Hialeah-owned residential properties for the elderly," the report says. After a second meet-and-greet, two employees who had never had a disciplinary issue were fired allegedly for not reporting that Martinez was there. A third "coffee chat" in a different housing building was cancelled after Martinez said he feared residents were being harassed. "This is an abuse," he said.
Reyes' official "inquiry" was written and turned in at 11 a.m. Aug. 23. But it wasn't approved by her supervisors until Sept. 20 and by Police Chief Mark Overton on Sept. 21. The paperwork says the preliminary complaint was made by Overton's office. But Overton told Flor he did it at the mayor's request after Hernandez got an anonymous call to the mayor's office by someone who wanted to alert the mayor to the actions of Martinez and "his group." Okay. Let's ask for a record of calls to the mayor's office on the day of that anonymous tip. Not because I don't want to let the person remain anonymous. Just because I don't believe him. Just like the "anonymous donor" who supposedly paid for the IHOP lunch does not appear to exist (more on that later).
So there you have it, folks. It can't get simpler than that. Su alcaldito is telling the police chief to follow his main challenger in the November election and report back with details on the where, what and who? Really? REALLY? Is anybody else getting chills. Su alcaldito told Flor that the days of having poice follow political candidates was from the Martinez era and Overton told Flor his officers do not follow anyone for political reasons. But that's a lie. Because I know for a fact that an officer followed me, likely at the chief's behest, likely at the request of the mayor, who I suspect likely used city police resources to have me investigated. And I'm not the only one. Other candidates, fire union President Mario Pico and even family members of employees that are critical have reported being followed. Well, that's when police are not too busy driving by the homes of the mayor and the council members at least twice on each shift after they asked for a watch order. I think that some of the other non-incumbent candidates and some of the leaders in the firefighters union should also ask for a watch order. They are the ones who really need one.
Ladra is going to have to add this Martinez surveillance report to the two false police reports that Council President Isis "Gavelgirl" Garcia-Martinez filed on me -- fully realizing she was making a false report each time (this photo is right before she filed a trespass on me -- illegally, since I left the campaign office and was in the parking lot when I was trespassed). I filed an complaint at the police department and should be able to pick up an information report by Monday. And I will follow up with the Assistant State Attorney in the public corruption unit with whom I spoke last week about what is obviously abuse of power.
Can we all say o f f i c i a l m i s c o n d u c t??.
Instead of tailing Martinez and investigating me, the Hialeah Police should do something about real crime. Like the vulgar, obscene phone threats received repeatedly at the Martinez campaign headquarters from Carlos A. Fernandez, who lives on West 22nd Street. Fernandez had left his caller ID on so that Angela Martinez knew who to call. Officers apparently took him to the station and had a talk with him and told the Martinez camp the guy was so scared he wouldn't try that again. "There is no probable cause for an arrest at this time," says a be-on-the-lookout that police did provide the Martinez camp with so they could recognize the guy if he suddenly came by. But Ladra wants to know who gets that kind of treatment. Can anyone who breaks the law go through the police station's "scared straight" program and avoid charges?
This is outrageous and the situation demands for an independent law enforcement authority to do its own inquiry ASAP. Today. Not tomorrow. Not after the election. Because abuse of power can get especially dangerous during election campaigns.
And because the police are supposed to be there to protect and serve the public, the people of Hialeah -- not the mayor of Hialeah.