Hours after he felt the confidence boost of his election -- through fraud, lies and trickery -- to the mayor's seat he has exploited for months, Hialeah's alcaldito Carlos Hernandez again abused his power Tuesday night. From a booth at Flannigan's. And he may abuse his power against employees he will likely now target because they supported former mayor Raul Martinez in the race.
It's not like he hasn't done it before. During this campaign, he fired two part-timers and transferred one full-time civil service employee to a more difficult position -- all because they support Martinez or did not report him when he visited a resident at public housing building at the resident's request.
He has had his thugs, including his chief enforcer Glen "The Goon" Rice take photos and/or video of them during early voting. Some employees told me he even asks them to smile for the camera. They have such total, arrogant confidence that nobody will police them that they think they can get away with anything, including violating people's rights. And roughing up an independent journalist blogger. Rice pushed me around Tuesday night inside Flannigan's on West 84th Street, where the mayor and some unidentified friends (photos here) had a celebratory meal. He stomped on my foot and stayed on it, applying painful pressure in an apparent effort to provoke me and keep me from taking photographs of the mayor enjoying dinner with friends while four officers -- three of them on duty -- were babysitting right outside Flannigan's. That's why Ladra was there, to document the misuse of city resources by an abusive dictator who thinks he owns the city. Rice even started saying that I hit him in the stomach, which is what he wanted but which never happened -- unless he means when he physically and forcefully bumped into me several times to move me physically away from su alcaldito's table.
He then had Sgt. Manny Montalvo, who was officially the only one of the four police officers out in the parking lot who was off-duty, issue me a trespass warning in the parking lot (again) after Rice, a disgraced former cop forced to resign, basically demanded that the manager have me trespassed. After I was already in the parking lot. Because I had left of my own accord after Goon Rice made a scene. Another illegal trespass warning by the disgrace of a police department that the Hialeah PD has become. And I do not mean the rank and file who support what I am doing and tell me so regularly and are ashamed of what they are forced to put up with and put me to at the behest of their command staff, which is acting on the orders of su alcaldito.
This is what makes it a criminal rather than civil matter. An elected official is misusing city resources to harass, intimidate and silence a political blogger. He must be so orgulloso!
And while I have tried to get other authorities involved, I am getting the runaround. The Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office has not taken this complaint serioiusly and the Florida Inspector General and Attorney General say they have no jurisdiction. Craig O'Connell at the FDLE in Tallahassee, at the Inspector General's office, said they would have to refer the complaint to Hialeah Police Chief Abuser Mark Overton. Like that is going to go anywhere. He is the one who battered me last week at the Goodlet Adult Center when I went to cover an endorsement circus event. He is the chief of the department that is harassing me and intimidating me and investigating me illegally.
But Ladra is not worried about herself. Not too much, anyway. What can they do? Issue me trespass warnings? Illegal ones at that. Eventually, they will be seen for the thugs they are. So go to it. Any attempt to violate my rights and curtail my freedom temporarily will fail and will be fought hard. The law and my rights are on my side. Ladra worries more about the dozens of employees who may face retaliation as early as today from a vindictive thug mayor who will stop at nothing to retain his power and build his pension and continue to provide his friends and campaign supporters with juicy no-bid contracts (read: kickback opportunities) and botella positions. I personally heard su alcaldito -- who would not answer the phone or return calls to comment on this behavior --ask his Lady in Waiting Arnie Alonso and Goon Rice to take photos "of every single employee out here" supporting his opponent. during the first round of early voting. Even Council President Isis "Gavelgirl" Garcia-Martinez got in on the intimidation. Check out the smirk on her face as she takes photos of employees with Raul Martinz shirts and signs below.
Just ask Roberto Santos, a 15-year fleet management employee who was told by su alcaldito at the Moose Lodge polling place Tuesday "I'll see you very soon!" with two thumbs up in a threatening manner. "Like he was trying to scare me," Santos told me. During the second round of early voting, he said Councilman Jose Caragol, who won in the first round, told him, "I squashed you." Some of the employees told Ladra that they were warned by their supervisors not to go to early voting sites or to the precincts on election day. "They are always taking photos of us. A neighbor even told me that a police officer showed up looking for me at my house," said one parks worker. "Arnie [Alonso] told my supervisor he wanted to see me buried." As he said that, Council President Isis "Gavelgirl" Garcia-Martinez laughed and waved at him. "Look at her. She thinks she's a joker." Another employee said: "It is a way to intimidate and try to put us on the floor. But I know I am not doing anything wrong supporting another candidate." A firefighter told me that Alonso but his hand across his neck and told him "You will be gone in two weeks," referring to the threat to fire 105 firefighters -- 70 of them on Thursday -- for taking a stand against the administration's strong-arm tactics. Or the employees in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bj2nxLZfhEg
Barbara Hernandez, the president of the general employees union, said that many of the employees feel they will be retaliated against now that Hernandez has been elected. "He has shown in the past that he is not above firing people or transfering or disciplining them for political retribution," Hernandez said. "We have filed grievances on behalf of employees who have been targetted."
They feel intimidated. They feel threatened. They are scared. And they are right to be. This alcaldito and this administration is abusive and, as I said, will stop at nothing to stay in power.
Will nobody stop them?