Miami's Most Notoriously Named Places: Raul Martinez City Hall and More
The Hialeah City Commission Tuesday voted unanimously to take former mayor Raul Martinez's name off city hall. The current mayor, Carlos Hernandez, a longtime critic of the indicted but later cleared politician, pushed the measure, saying, "The building belongs to the people."
For good measure, the council also agreed to remove Martinez's wife's name from a low-income housing complex -- and that of former state Sen. Roberto Casas from a park.
The council cloaked the measure in the idea that nothing should be named for a person. Baloney. Miami has a long history of naming streets and other public places after bad guys. Here are the seven most infamous:
7. Banah Sweet Way
On July 13, 2012, the Miami-Dade County Commission named part of SE Tenth Avenue "Banah Sweet Way," despite the fact that the company's founder and owner was a convicted cocaine trafficker. The firm had also received tens of thousands in county aid and later declared bankruptcy.
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6. Alcee Hastings Way
Last year, Miramar commissioners angered some residents by renaming a stretch of SW 148th Avenue for Democratic U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings. You might remember Hastings served as a federal judge but was investigated and then impeached in 1989 after the Judicial Council of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeal found he had repeatedly lied under oath and had solicited bribes.
5. Jose Canseco Way
Jose Canseco Way was the name for parts of SW 16th Street from 77th to 87th and from 97th to 107th avenues near Florida International University. Canseco ushered in the steroid era in Major League Baseball by announcing he juiced and juiced and juiced. He was also charged with battery for deliberately ramming his Porsche into his wife's BMW. In 2009, County Commissioner Joe Martinez asked to have Canseco's name removed.
4. Miller J. Dawkins Olympic Pool Complex
Miller Dawkins is a former Miami commissioner who pleaded guilty to bribery, corruption, and conspiracy after the FBI's Operation Greenpalm in 1996. You can swim in a pool named for him in Liberty City at 1350 NW 50th St. There's also a mini-park named for him (pictured above) on NW Eighth Avenue at 47th Terrace.
3. Leonel Martinez
The mother of all street changes involves once-prominent developer Leonel Martinez. Politicians named a street for Martinez and even created Leonel Martinez Day in 1988. Then, in 1990, he pleaded guilty to drug trafficking. Commissioners swore up and down then that they'd never name another street after a living person. That way, they'd avoid future embarrassment.
2. Abel Holtz Boulevard
A stretch of SE Second Avenue in downtown Miami is called Abel Holtz Boulevard. But several years ago, Miami Beach residents became irate that the Flamingo Park Tennis Center (pictured) bore Holtz's name. Holtz, you see, was the founder and chairman of Capital Bank, one of the area's most powerful financial institutions during the cocaine-filled '80s and '90s. He bribed Miami Beach Mayor Alex Daoud and lied to a grand jury. But he was a philanthropist and had his rights restored.
1. Alex Rodriguez Park
Finally, there's Mark Light field at Alex Rodriguez Park at the University of Miami.