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    State lawmaker leaves obscenity laced racial messages on colleague's voicemail

    HIALEAH, Fla. -- A state lawmaker under fire for leaving a message filled with obscenities and a racial slur on a colleague's voice mail resigned Wednesday and was charged with two crimes.

    Rep. Ralph Arza, who had been urged to step down by fellow Republicans, including Gov. Jeb Bush, apologized for his actions and said he was resigning because he did not want to distract from the work of the GOP-led Legislature.

    I do not want to be the story," he said.

    Arza acknowledged leaving the message on fellow Republican Rep. Gus Barreiro's voice mail last month but said he was drunk.

    He said he had learned that Barreiro had filed a complaint accusing him of using a racial epithet to refer to Miami-Dade County School Superintendent Rudy Crew, who is black. He used the same epithet in his phone message to Barreiro, who is Hispanic, but has vehemently denied ever using a racial slur to refer to Crew.

    Prosecutors charged Arza with retaliating against and tampering with a witness, both felonies, for allegedly trying to thwart the investigation of the complaint.

    Arza's cousin was also charged with the same offenses. They could get up to 10 years in prison.

    Authorities said 10 phone calls were made between Oct. 21 and Oct. 22 to Barreiro from phones belonging to Arza and his cousin. Five threatening calls were recorded, two from Arza's cell phone and three from the cousin's phone, officials said.

    The two men were expected to turn themselves in Thursday

    Arza resigned about an hour before a special House panel was set to begin hearings on whether to expel him.

    "It's not really a happy day for anybody, I don't think," Barreiro said. "I think he made the right decision, the right decision, not only for himself, but I thought he looked at the bigger picture, which is the institution he represents. I wish him the best."

    Crew called the situation "a tragedy all the way around" but said Arza was right to leave the Legislature.

    The Republican Party gets to choose a replacement for Arza in the election, less than a week away. Arza's name will still be on the ballot, but any votes cast for him would go to the new nominee.

  2. #2
    10-42Adam's Avatar
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    Those crazy politians...
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    When will they learn that drinking and politics don't mix. Or stupidity and politics, or..............well everything and politics.
    "An Unarmed man can only flee from evil, and evil is not overcome by fleeing from it." Jeff Cooper


    Some people are meant to be the police......Some people are meant to call the police!!!

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    (author unknown)


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