Thursday, November 10, 2011

Firefighter guest blogger with truth

Ladra is lending her space today to Hialeah Fire Union Vice President Eric "Slick" Johnson (aka "Braveheart")  who lays out the truth in the firefighters' ongoing battle with the administration and the lies and lack of transparency they have been trying to fight:

I would love to use this forum to explain why we are in this predicament, but It would be hard to sum up three years in a short story. Basically, what is happening is clear cut political retribution. The retribution started with Former Mayor Julio Robaina and has now been passed along to Interim Mayor Carlos Hernandez. Nothing more and nothing less.

In a few years time Hialeah Collected over 93 Million dollars in excess revenue and spent EVERY PENNY carelessly. We as a fire department have asked, for three years, for transparency and honesty as we have prepared all along to make necessary concessions with the clear cut economic crunch facing society today. The same year the Housing Market was crashing the City actually offered us raises. We stated, at the table and on tape, during a negotiations session that we are not blind to what is going on with the economy. We told the city please review your numbers as were ready to do our share. As the belief was the City’s numbers were incorrect.

OOPS we were right it seems.

The then mayor (Julio Robaina) stated there would be no cuts and no raises as the city had spent years preparing for times like this. There would be absolutely NO LAYOFFS. In fact, he traveled department to department spreading this news. Amazingly enough, within two weeks time, we had an imaginary 5 million dollar deficit. That number changed to 13 million then again to 23 million. The numbers were way off on a daily basis and changed as often as we all change our socks.
That same year we asked the City Council to conduct a forensic audit, which the city REFUSED – which means they had something to hide. Instead they forcefully and illegally imposed a contract on the general employees resulting in some employees facing pay cuts of up to 30%. Yes, I said 30%. Please keep in mind Hialeah is the lowest paid municipality in Miami-Dade County. The general employees reacted by pleading their case to the state of Florida and won, but the City refused again to return any money and held a new hearing. The City then re-imposed another contract calling for 17% pay cuts across the board. Again, the employees took the City to court and again the City lost. To date, the City has the case tied up in the appeals process, as to stall the inevitable repayment.

On May 18, 2010 Former Mayor Julio Robaina SWORE UNDER OATH that he did not impose these draconian cuts upon the employees and that the City faced a 5.8 to 6 million dollar shortfall that year. Low and behold, the CAFR (Certified Annual Financial Report) was released just before the Miami-Dade County election and revealed there was a 19 Million Dollar surplus. YES SURPLUS!!!!

Let's face the facts here………… We waged “WAR” against our former Mayor Julio Robaina, who was running for county mayor, as we knew that if elected he’d destroy the Miami-Dade County as he did with the City of Hialeah. Besides the ongoing investigations against him for mortgage fraud, Federal Tax Evasion, high interest loans with a Ponzi Schemers, and his deals with illegal MAQUINITAS (coin machines used to gamble) operators his past would clearly predict his future. Our City Council were merely puppets in his Political show, as they just nodded their heads as bobble head dolls do. No matter what he asked for he received, due to his political power and the obvious fact that with his support he could ensure them to remain in office.

Robaina and the council decided to build an unnecessary 166 Million Dollar Reverse Osmosis Water plant in the height of a depression and among firing over 200 employees. This all the while he was forcefully imposing some of the largest pay cuts in the United States Of America. Funny though that the builders of that water plant were some of his largest campaign contributors. Since, it seems I am at the heart of the investigation from ROBA-I-NADA, Regalado and now Carlos Hernandez the retribution and threats have been more directed to me in the way of threats, intimidation and coercion. Boy did those fools pick the wrong man… So sorry Charlie…. Life is not worth living unless it is under the flag we fly inside a democratic society where we have rights and freedoms guaranteed by the blood of millions of American men and women.

We the employees have been accused of driving up pension costs, as we are grouped with places that have no comparison to us. It is true that our pensions costs have risen, but please allow me to tell you why. For three years in a row Former Mayor Julio Robaina went to our retirement board and asked to draw money by lowering his pension contributions. Not one year, not two years, but THREE YEARS IN A ROW. He was warned that if he did this it would drive his pension contributions up for almost 15 years. He knew full well and now we suffer the consequences of what politicians have done to create this imaginary problem… DID YOU READ THAT???? The MAYOR and the Council caused the pensions to go up.. NOT THE EMPLOYEES…. It seems allot easier to just blame the employees rather than gather the facts.

Now, during the last few months we have gone again from a deficit to a surplus – depending on what day you ask. We have no confidence in the numbers the city presents. We are ready and willing to make necessary concessions as long as it is with a clear view in site.

I almost forgot.. When we asked for the audit we asked the City to join us and we would pay for it to the best of our ability and asked for a contribution from the City so that we may work hand in hand with the independent outsider. What we received was a Nickel taped to a letter from a Council member saying consider this our contribution.

Now we are facing the largest FIREFIGHTER workforce reduction in American history, in a town that does not sleep. Services have already been reduced and due to Imposed Cuts lives will change further as time goes by. We can only help if we are here. And, for the ladies and gentleman that intimated that we asked to raise taxes you definitely have the wrong group of men and women. We have never asked for that as we also are tax payers. We just want to figure out what happened to the 93 million extra dollars we collected and where it went.

Is the truth to much to ask for???

Is transparency so out of reach????


The only way to change this City is to start changing is politics. WE ASK THAT YOU REACH OUT to everyone and anyone you know inside our City and ask them to Vote for change.



  1. Change by voting for a former mayor who you guys were mortal enemies? Suddenly your best friends now? You play the political game as much as any of them. How about the unions realize the tax shortfall since your latest contract is much different. You say the city doesn't want to negotiate? Well then propose your own cuts that satisfy the cities want with out raising taxes on the citizens. Similar to how your county Mayor put it on the union's before he cut jobs in STAGES. Budget in stages in the county imagine that... Where was the insults to the county when that was proposed? You and barks (ladra) are just as bad self serving interest....

  2. Johnson you are wasting your time with all these bullshit lies. You won the county race but you pissed us all off with your lies and propaganda. By going out of your way you forced us all to action. I guess I owe you thanks. I hope the firefighters get fired and we bring in new blood at half the price? Remember Martinez implemented the new water treatment plant and then acted as a consultant. No one talks about it. You will be enjoying clerical work next to palm ave for some time.

  3. Anon above me, you're a moron....just like your alcaldito.

  4. Where are all the hard-core Martinez supporters? This blog was filled with them just a few weeks ago, posting about how Carlos wasn't making the run off.

    Elaine, it's honestly amazing how radical you've become. That's why I rarely post here anymore. It's like arguing with the occupy miami protestors. You already know the result on Tuesday, the only thing in doubt is whether Raul can win election day.

    Eric, I hope after this election you go back to focusing on your day job and don't say you weren't warned to cut a deal prior to the run off.

    By the way Rudy's endorsement should be coming today or tomorrow, just a heads up.

  5. First of all I support Eric ans Ladra for speaking for the City Fire fighters.. & Sorry to inforn you Mr. Anonynous but the City never wanted to negotiate a contract.. They just want to impose what they want like it or not... That does'nt sound like a negotiation to me... It either their way or no way.. & I will tell you this Mr. Martinex may not be perfect but at least it bluntly honest whether you want to hear it or not.. This administration has bullshitted the numbers so much they don't even know what number they said last.. We need a good administratorand leader not an ex cop with a bullshit degree who is only there because he kissed the right ass! Open you eyes ... This poor excuse for a Mayor has a secretary who gets paid 85k a year... Really????

  6. Let's see what Hernandez has done... lower taxes... yes he did do this, but at what cost?

    1. Closing of the parks

    2. 100 + Firefighters laid off

    3. Installed cameras, then quickly backed away from the contract costing the city $$$

    4. Buying seniors off with a free breakfast on taxpayer money.

    Carlos is going to drive this city into the ground just like Robaina. Ponzi schemers and loansharks both of them. We need Raul back in power!

  7. Elaine, don't say I haven't give you news before it breaks. Rudy and the Herald in the same night? Instead of occupying campaign/political events why don't you start acting like a journalist and maybe, just maybe, you will be treated as one. You could actually serve some good by handling things properly.

  8. To Anon @ 10:23 am, or you are blind or idiot...Eric Johnson has bring the truth in every comment, he is able to speak with you in person if you wish....the whole city have his number, if you live under a rock, please pull your head out and talk to your neighbor....As the wish for ff to get fired for half the money, keep dreaming!!!...and I hope you don't have a heart attack one of this days!!!

  9. Belkis you are living under a rock!!! Stop threatening all the citizens if we have a heart attack, that is your job!!! Soon we will have happy firefighters for half the price. Young aggressive and eager to learn. Johnson in a skirt soon, can't wait to see that.
    Johnson you pissed off the wrong guys!!!!!
    We made sure you were going to kiss our ass this election!

  10. This is a very well written and informative column from the Vice President of the Fire Department Union Mr. Johnson. Here is a man who speaks with truth and conviction who seems to be dedicated to the best in fire protection for the residents of Hialeah. Hope, the voters will listen and entrust their vote to Raul Martinez. He is a hard working person whose history of being mayor of Hialeah for nearly 25 years is the best reason to return his type of leadership to Hialeah City Hall.

  11. And the sparks fly ! Thank Goodness we have a fireman on hand. Oh, no, the fireman is writing the blog. Then we'll just have to get the blogger to handle the pumper....err...hold the hose...erect the ladder...oooo....light my fire, light my fire, light my fire, oh yeah, come on baby light my fire.
    Sorry, politics gets me so aroused.
    So we have a choice. We have the now honest Cuban-American politician, an oxymoron, Raul, in one corner; and we have the retired policeman who wasn't smart enough not to sign a contract with an illegal usurious interest rate explicitly stated, a moron, Carlos, in the far corner.
    Hmm, the oxymoron or the moron? What it boils down to is, do we keep the current administration that will continue to obfuscate (obscure with smoke and mirrors, for where there is smoke there is FIRE, and the mirrors, on his billboards of course.) the facts, covering over the financial crimes of the previous administration, and continue to steal the lifeblood of the virtuous economic cycle by allowing the maquinita syndicate to flourish; or do we surrender our hearts and souls to a past quasi-benevolent dictator.
    Though I filled my store sign many times with doggerel decrying Raul's past abuses; I believe Raul is a wiser man today, tempered by the heat of National politics and International business, tempered by FIRE. For whatever it is worth, my support....well,
    Originally expressed by Shakespeare in The Tempest, "Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows" Then adapted by Lord Lytton: "Poverty has strange bedfellows". Further adapted by Charles Dudley Warner, "Politics makes strange bedfellows." And now for your perusal, adapted for Hialeah politics by Lickerpoet, "Politics makes for strange bedfellows. Just don't make me sleep on the wet spot, Raul."

  12. Cortadito not for long Alcardito for a long time thats my guess.Ladra,ladra to the wrong tree.
    Manuel Morales

  13. Responder, wonderful breaking news on the same night as the "Latin Grammys" and in a letter? The Herald endorsement with the words"Reluctantly Recommends"? This is the strangest endorsement it smells, tastes and feels as if they did so without much fan fare or grandstanding. It is like when Uncle Luke endorsed Humpty Dumpty. Rudy as Luke just lost all future political aspirations in our City. Raul has said and I can as well ; many Rudy supporters have gone to Raul because there message was the same. How Rudy will face his supporters when we know how he truly feels will be interesting.  As I said not much of a big deal when voters have cast their votes and decided to urge others in support of Raul. It's about the message responder, they had the same message for Hialeah and Hialeah liked the message. 

  14. eric johnson is a scum union rep.he's not looking out on behalf of the city's firefighters he's lookindg out for his own pockets.look what the unions are doing to AMERICA, no jobs everything is sent overseas!
    I dont agrre with Hernandez tactics.but "chickenheart" is not a better solution.And if he thinks that Martinez is a better solution,he's wrong.Both of them Hernandez and Martinez have their own agenda,fatten their pockets...... pistol 3

  15. Thanks for the interesting post


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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