My doors are always open to members of the press, and any information I may be able to offer I am always willing to provide. All I ask is that the facts be reported accurately and without being editorialized.

Raul L. Martinez, mayor

City of Hialeah

I Am Not Raul Martinez's Henchman

But I gratefully acknowledge the support of that dynamic and positive leader: In Francisco Alvarado's "The Hialeah 3," there seems to be a great emphasis on being humorous at the expense of factual accuracy. Without commenting on the mocking tone of the article and its obvious disrespect of Hialeah elected officials, I take issue with the statement that the mayor appointed me to the city council. A parenthetical statement in the article was deliberately inserted to leave the impression that the appointment was the result of political favoritism.

The mayor did not appoint me to the city council. Moreover I am currently serving a four-year term based on the results of a successful election. In 1998 Hialeah voters approved a new city charter and with it a method for filling vacancies. By an affirmative vote of at least four members, the city council appoints a new member when there is a permanent vacancy. Under this procedure, I was appointed. At the next general election I was elected to a full term by 64 percent of the voters. I suggest the New Times editor review articles before publication to verify accuracy. In this case, this was not effectively done.

And in any event, I appreciate the support of Mayor Martinez, whose dynamic leadership has been the catalyst for positive change in Hialeah.

Eduardo Gonzalez, council vice president

City of Hialeah

Free Weekly Proudly Profits from Poverty

This past fall New Times published a two-part special project that examined poverty in Miami. "We're Number One!" (September 26 and October 3, 2002) included more than twenty articles and statistical charts that attempted to help readers understand the city's ignominious distinction, conferred by the U.S. Census Bureau, as America's poorest big city. Recently that project was recognized by the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, which honored the project and its contributors with the national John Bartlow Martin Award for Public Interest Magazine Journalism.

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