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Hialeah: Dade's 2nd largest city

Best known for its Mediterranean-styled racetrack -- Hialeah Park -- the city of Hialeah is DadeCounty's largest working-class suburb.

It is Dade's second largest city and has more residents (180,000) than Fort Lauderdale inBroward County. But its location in northwest Dade and a shortage of attractions have left the cityout of the minds and travel routes of most South Floridians.

In the past 20 years, Hialeah has gone through a massive cultural change. A previously negligibleLatin population now comprises 80 percent of Hialeah's residents.

The shift took a political form in 1983 when a Latin majority was elected to the city councilfor the first time.

Hialeah remains a working-class town. Development has taken the form of medium-sizedapartment complexes and small, strip shopping centers. Its main thoroughfare, 49th Street, is linedwith fast-food restaurants and car dealerships.

Allegations of wrongdoing are nothing new to Hialeah's city government. Until his death in1974, former mayor Henry Milander was investigated sporadically by the press and law enforcement formisusing his office. He was eventually convicted of grand larceny in 1970 and was re-elected thenext year.

More recently, the Hialeah Housing Authority was investigated in 1981 by the Dade grand juryon numerous allegations of bribery and misusing public funds. Last year, the executive director,Joseph Morganti, was convicted of taking kickbacks, falsifying public records and tampering with awitness.