The Hialeah City Council Tuesday night approved a resolution to remove the names of former Mayor Raúl Martinez, his wife Angela and former state Sen. Roberto Casas from three municipal properties.
As the audience applauded, the council unanimously passed the three resolutions, sponsored by current Mayor Carlos Hernandez.
The properties include City Hall, a low-income apartment complex and a small park.
“This building belongs to the people,” Hernandez said, referring to the soon-to-be-renamed Raúl Martinez City Hall. “I think this building should not be named after anyone. This is the building of the people of the city of Hialeah.”
City Council member Vivian Casals-Muñoz said she had asked the Hialeah Historic Preservation Board to prevent any city property from being named after any person in the future.
Added council member Jose Caragol: “This building has no name. It is called the City Hall.”
Hernandez said workers on Thursday would remove the name from the five-story building at 501 Palm Ave. The structure was named for the former mayor in 2006.
Also to be removed is the name of the low-income apartment complex, Angela Gardens, which in 2005 was named after Martinez’s wife.
The third property to be stripped of its current name is a two-acre park named in honor of former state Sen. Roberto Casas, who was instrumental in obtaining funding for various projects in South Florida, including the park in western Hialeah.
On Tuesday, Hernandez said the park probably would be renamed Veterans Park, a proposal that will go to the Hialeah Historic Preservation Board.
The move to change the names began in November, when the City Council approved an ordinance prohibiting future municipal infrastructure from being christened with the name of living elected officials or their relatives. However, the ordinance did not mention existing names of municipal buildings. The measures to address that issue were introduced by Hernandez.
“What has been done is ridiculous,” said activist Julio Rodríguez, who is critical of the Hernandez administration. “Obviously it's a political vendetta.”
Modesto Perez, a community activist, said he supported Hernandez’s move.
“This is a historic moment,” Perez said. “I think the streets should not be baptized with the names of living people.”