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Jeb says it's Arza's own call to resign

Gov. Jeb Bush said Wednesday state Rep. Ralph Arza's racially-charged phone messages to Rep. Gus Barreiro "is really unfortunate" but the Republican governor stopped short of saying the Miami lawmaker should resign.

"He's got problems. He's got to work on his problems,'' Bush said, adding that Arza has been a leader and "a great partner in education reform" as a member of the legislature. "Now, I think it's time for him to focus on his own personal issues. Whether he stays in the legislature is really up to him but, he's not going to be in leadership and I think that's appropriate.''

The governor did offer Arza a bit of advice: "After you do something like this, you've got to explain yourself and you've got to seek forgiveness. I don't know if that's possible. Opening up wounds like that just doesn't make sense. It's tragic and sad."

Comments

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Hunter

Arza should not step down. He did wrong. But he has been a voice for reform in Tallahassee. He is one of the most approachable legislators in Florida. Because he is in fact effective, people who oppose him really want him out of office. He needs to address this issue one more time, a sincere and heartfelt apology and then do not address the issue again. Meanwhile he needs to go back to work and make a difference for the citizens in his district.

bye

No need for him to step down. He will be in handcuffs in less than 3 months.

roberto e

I think Arza should resign,
but then again so should
Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia a former leader of the KKK and user of
the N word just like Araza.
They both are bigoted Trash.

Govenor Bush had a chance to show leadership
and does not.
Where are the candidates for Govenor on this or does neither wish to antagonize
some in the Panhandle!

A. Sandler

An apology won't cut it! Arza's behavior was, and is, reprehensible. It begs the question about whether he’ll get away with this latest breach of ethics and possible criminal action when it’s no longer newsworthy. Our governor, his colleagues in the House, and law enforcement should be reminded of the following:
First, the dismissal of Rudy Crew's complaint by the House Rules Committee chair was only the latest in a series of allegations against Arza that have been dropped/dismissed for one reason or another. Because he has skillfully escaped punishment for his alleged past behavior (both unethical and possibly even illegal), he views himself as omnipotent, far above the level of humility. In fact, the feeble attempt to convince the lawmakers on the House floor that he isn’t a racist wasn’t an admission of guilt and wasn’t done out of remorse.
As early as 2003, Jilda Unruh reported that he was double-dipping, getting a legislator’s salary as well as collecting a salary as a teacher at Miami High, which in itself is not illegal. However, the fact that he was absent 92 out of 212 days in the classroom (and still got paid for it!). Was there an investigation? If so, what was the result?
Similar concerns were raised by Rebecca Wakefield. In a 2004 New Times investigative piece, she reported that as a coach at Miami High, Arza violated player eligibility rules and caused the school to be put on suspension.
Then, Dr. Crew’s accusation of Arza’s egregious attempt to coerce the school district into purchasing books from a certain publisher went unnoticed. And if there was an investigation, it didn’t stop him from bullying principals into purchasing books from a publisher that employs a close relative of his. This is the epitome of arrogance!
Finally, he should have been thoroughly investigated for collecting consulting fees from businesses that seek government contracts or legislation. Although admitting to a reporter that he received compensation from one of the companies and provides advice to various organizations, he denies lobbying the legislature, which he knows would be illegal and a conflict of interest. Who's investigating?
Having a "coach's mouth" and alcohol abuse are Arza's excuses for using the N-word in reference to Crew and his alleged threats to Gus Barreiro. But the public deserves more than excuses!

Hunter

Roberto you are fair, I disagree but you are consistent. A. Sandler Rudy Crew has gotten in trouble everywhere he has been he is not a choir boy. If Arza had the gonads to stick it to him I say good. Not on the name calling. IF you can prove any of the other stuff, well I guess you would have your own column in the Herald. Racism is wrong. Arza wasn't the first, he won't be the last. The fact people are talking about what his next steps should be is pretty damaging. All I can say beat him at the ballot box, until then voters will decide his fate.

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