Miami has been named the fattest city in America by Men’s Fitness magazine, and its neighboring burg of Hialeah among the nation’s most boring by Forbes. Some double whammy. For my part, having grown up in the area, the dubious honor of these two that I find surprising is not the one the rest of the nation would think about.
Some might ask: “How about all those beaches; isn’t that enough motivation to stay in swimsuit shape?” Well, no, unless you live right next to the beach. Plenty of Miamians rarely go to the beach, much as people in other cities don’t partake in their town’s defining landmarks — as in the cliche of New Yorkers who have never been to the Statue of Liberty. A dietitian interviewed by USA Today blames Miami’s girth on (surprise!) bad diet and lack of exercise, which can occur anywhere, so why not Miami?
Hialeah, on the other hand, is not like other places. The second largest city in Dade County after Miami (a distinction akin to Buffalo being the second largest city in New York State), Hialeah is a place of concrete as far as the eye can see (many lawns are paved over), terrible drivers (even by Miami standards), and incredibly corrupt politics (even by South Florida standards).
Hialeah is home to Raul Martinez, the city’s former mayor, who once won reelection after being convicted of racketeering and extortion, and once wanted Hialeah to become its own county. Incredibly, the man still has a political career; in 2008 he was the Democratic nominee to challenge Republican Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart for his seat, but fell short.
And a town that could inspire this be described as boring?
In the words of one Hialeah resident: “This town could use a little boring.”
For more on Miami politics, see here. (Thanks to Claudia Barrett for the first Herald link and to Margaret Griffis for the USA Today and YouTube links.)