If I Were Mayor
11:04 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Mayor Carlos Hernandez: Hialeah Gets A Bum Rap

Carlos Hernández is mayor of Hialeah, one of the few towns with a "strong mayor" system.
Carlos Hernández is mayor of Hialeah, one of the few towns with a "strong mayor" system.

Our If I Were Mayor project continues as we bring your ideas to the mayors themselves. We spoke with Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernández, who was re-elected last fall.

Here are excerpts from our conversation with him:

WLRN: Reddit user Digital 565 asked if you would consider putting financial disclosure forms for Hialeah elected officials on the Hialeah website so people would have easier access to them.

I have no problem with that. Everything is a public record. I will look into that. I think that as a public official, you should be very transparent to the public.

Two of the big ballot-broker stories last year were about people from Hialeah. You’ve said that you feel that Hialeah is just made the poster child for absentee ballot fraud. Why do you think that is?

At the end of the day, it was always the elected officials’ fault, especially in Tallahassee: Why make the laws so easy to cheat? Why make these laws so easy for people to be able to be ballot brokers?

Why did I say we were the poster child? Because I thought it was unfair. This was a problem that was happening everywhere, not only in Dade County, Broward, everywhere. And we were singled out. Again, this is a problem that -- if it still continues -- that Tallahassee should tighten the laws. I’m a firm believer that absentee ballots should really only be for people who can’t go out and vote.

I'm honestly going to blame a lot on the English-speaking media because, you know what, they only come to Hialeah when something negative happens.

CiDHialeah suggested over Twitter that Hialeah agencies should have a bigger social-media presence. For example: The Hialeah Police Department should have a Twitter account.

At the end of the day, law enforcement is about protecting citizens. That’s their priority. Every time there’s an incident or something, the media’s there to cover it. So I’m not going to make that into a priority of my police department. I’m not going to take an officer to sit there to tweet and all these things, when I could use that money to have an officer on the road.

What’s the biggest misconception about Hialeah?

We’re the fifth largest city in the state of Florida. We’re probably one of the most important cities in the state of Florida -- for sure in Dade County. I’m honestly going to blame a lot on the English-speaking media because, you know what? They only come to Hialeah when something negative happens. But they don’t cover any of the positive things.

If it wasn’t for El Nuevo Herald, or Diario Las Americas or channels 23, 51 or 41, that are balanced, [we wouldn't get coverage for the positive things].

The people of Hialeah, we’re very proud. We’re a blue-collar, hard-working city that opens its arms to a lot of immigrants, where they have their starting point.

You can watch the entire interview here:

The If I Were Mayor project is supported by the Miami Foundation, as part of their ongoing work to build a more civically engaged Miami.