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City officials address concerns of District 5 residents

Hadley Park Homeowners Association, Inc. brought out ‘Heavy Weights’, to listen, act on their complaints

Gigi Tinsley | 4/3/2014, 9 a.m.

On the last Tuesday of March at the Carrie P. Meek Senior Citizens Center, 1350 NW 50th St., the meeting room was packed with residents from District 5 ready to voice their community concerns. There “to listen to them and act on complaints and concerns,” said Herschel L. Haynes, the former chairman and current interim chair of the Hadley Park Homeowners Association, (HPHA), Inc., were City of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado, Chief of Police Manuel Orosa, Major Dennis Jackson, Commander Dana Carr, and District 5 Commissioner Keon Hardemon.

The concerns were many and some were being repeated so regularly that many residents felt nothing was being done by the police department to stop the criminal elements.

“Last month, we were concentrating on the northern end of the city,” Commander Dana Carr said. “Because of the increase in crime in that area, that’s where our focus was. Three people were shot and one died; we shut down a chop shop and put a stop to other criminal activities.”

She added that it was not that they were not interested, “but sometimes, other things take priority. Believe me, if we could address everything at one time, we would.”

Some of the concerns stated by homeowners included: car and dirt bike racing, extra loud noises, gambling, and drug selling.

“The complaints are repetitive, Henry Goa, Ph.D, HPHA Board Member said. “Is it possible to bring closure to some of these things. Is it possible, when the police see something wrong to call that problem in to the appropriate department (Such as lights out and poles down)?” Carr’s answer was “Yes, they can.”

Several residents lauded Jackson for his excellent response time and the criminal activities he is eradicating in their areas.

Mayor Tomas Regalado said, “Our office and officers are here to support the residents. The safety of the residents is our major concern,” he added.

Regalado reported that “records of residents from the District 5 community have been expunged and 45 of them have gotten new jobs in Wynwood. In addition ‘Shot Spotters’ reduced the celebratory firing of weapons by 70 percent and an update will be forthcoming concerning the renovation of Hadley Park.”

City of Miami Chief of Police Manuel Orosa reported that "2013-crime in the city decreased by 5 percent. The three NET Areas which make up the bulk of District 5 were down as follows: Overtown, eight percent; Little Haiti, 12 percent; and Model City, eight percent. And monies from seized drug arrests will be used to hire approximately 25 additional police officers to help decrease crime even more."

He further explained, that "placement of officers in a community is done by seniority and not by race or culture. “Sometimes, it may seem that way, but our department reflects the community,” Orosa said. “There are 50 percent Hispanic, 22 percent Black and 17 percent White residents in our communities.”

“My position is to do right for everyone we can from each community,” Orosa added.

Commissioner Keon Hardemon advised the residents to “Believe the mayor.” “When you look into a man’s eyes you really can see his heart.”

“We have the 6.5 million dollars needed to start construction on the gym and it should start this month,” Hardemon said. We have been working hard to get the funding and now that we have it things will move much faster.”

Nathaniel Wilcox, the executive director of PULSE (People United to Lead the Struggle for Equality) expounded on the “HotSpot” project. “I know that many of you are afraid to call and give your names when reporting criminal activity in your area. When you use the “HotSpot” card you don’t have to give your name or any personal information. Just fill out the card and send it in. You don’t even have to pay for the stamp. When I get your card I will give it to the police department.”

Other HPHA Board Members in attendance, beside Haynes and Goa, were: Nancy Dawkins, the Senior Citizens Coordinator and George Stanley, a member of the founding HPHA group.

“Most of the time, the politicians only come into our neighborhood when they are running for office,” Stanley said. “It was great to see the top-brass come into out to hear what we have to say.”