Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernández may be termed out, but his political action committee raised almost a quarter million since he was re-elected, including more than $200K was last month alone — most of it on a single day.
What’s it for, if he’s termed out in 2021?
Sources say Hernández, who rules Hialeah with an iron fist and retaliates against his political enemies, wants to have a referendum on the ballot this year allowing him to serve another term. There’s even an item on Tuesday’s agenda to form a charter committee that would — guess what? — consider just that.
And it’s on the consent agenda, no less, which also has an alarming number of competitive bid waiver requests. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 501 Palm Avenue.
The resolution — which is certain to pass the Seguro Que Yes council — would provide for a charter committee to review the city charter “and propose any amendments or revisions that may be advisable for placement on the upcoming election ballot of November 5, 2019.”
Oh, really? How transparent is this guy? How much do you want to bet that ending term limits is on the list?
And does Hernández really think that the voters in Hialeah are going to let him get away with this? They certainly didn’t buy the “public safety” tax increase he pushed last year.
Hernández — who served previously as councilman for six years — will already have been mayor for 10 years, two longer than allowed by term limits approved by voters in 1995. He served two years, 2011-2013, when he replaced his mentor, Mayor Julio Robaina, in the middle of his term — Robaina had resigned to run for Miami-Dade mayor in the famous recall election — and Hernández is now in the middle of his second four-year term. He will have been in office 16 years by the time his rule ends in 2021.
In 2017, former Mayor Julio Martinez sued the city to enforce the charter, arguing that the mayor had already served two terms because terms were not defined by length of time. A part of a term was a term, his attorney argued.
They didn’t win, obviously, and now Hernández wants yet another term.
Pero por supuesto. What else is he going to do? That way, he can more easily raise money from city vendors and developers for his 2025 run for county sheriff, which would coincide with the end of his third term.
There is simply no other reason for him to be raising this kind of dough.
The larger contributions to the Hialeah For Progress PAC, according to the latest campaign report, include:
- $40,000 from two Miami Lakes real estate companies tied to Robaina
- $30,000 from Leon Advertising and Public Relations
- $25,000 from a construction company called M&R Enterprises
- $25,000 from a Coral Gables real estate company called CC Devco
- $25,000 from a Hialeah Gardens real estate company called World Property Services
- $20,000 from a Sunny Isles Beach company called 1101 E. 33 Holdings
- $12,500 from Gonzalez & Sons Equipment
- $10,000 from Miami Beach real estate developer Fredric Karlton
There is also at least $10,000 from amusement companies that run the maquinitas so ubiquitous in the City of Progress and at least $2,000 from companies tied to Rolando Blanco, the Hialeah power broker who accepted hundreds of thousands in loanshark money for Robaina from a now-convicted Ponzi schemer.
There are also contributions from vendors to the city — reminding Ladra of the Ready For Progress PAC set up in Miami Beach that was all city vendors and contractors — and which had to be shut down.
But this is Hialeah.
The Tampa-based PAC has raised a total of $487,700, but a lot of it was used for the 2017 re-election. But Hernández has raised $228,000 in just February and March. More than $181,000 was collected on Monday, March 4.
The PAC has also spent $186,554 of its bank, almost half of it on the 2017 election. But since then, it also spent $12,500 last year on Imagen Magazine — probably to put Hernandez on the cover again — $20K for another PAC, run by former Chief of Staff Arnie Alonso, to promote a tax increase last year that failed miserably, and, most recently, $19,000 last month to McLaughlin and Associates, a polling firm based in New York.
Ladra hopes they asked if voters wanted to have someone in office for 20 years. If that’s what they intended when they passed term limits in 1995.
But chances are they won’t ask that.