The Knucklehead of the Day award
Today's winner is Florida State Representative Ralph Arza. He gets the award for the following.
When state Rep. Ralph Arza found out over the weekend that another legislator had filed a complaint claiming Arza slurred the black chief of Miami-Dade's schools, he started drinking. And he got mad.Note- I've blogged previously about Rep. Arza and one of his dumb legislative ideas.
Arza called the colleague, Rep. Gus Barreiro, and left him an angry message on voice mail, cursing him out and calling Miami-Dade Superintendent Rudy Crew the N-word. That was the same thing -- a racially insensitive, profanity-laced voice mail -- Barreiro had complained about in the first place.
The upshot: Barreiro called the police Monday, saying he felt Arza's diatribe was ''threatening.'' Police, who now have a tape of Arza's phone call -- and a second anonymous call made hours later -- say they have opened an investigation.
On Monday night, Arza issued a stunning apology in an e-mail to The Miami Herald, saying he has trouble controlling his temper, especially when he's drinking. He also asked Barreiro, his family and voters for forgiveness.
''My emotions got the best of me and I left some offensive and shameful messages,'' Arza said. ``I have embarrassed myself, my family and the constituents that I serve.
``At times I have had difficulty controlling my emotions and anger. I have noticed that this problem is made worse on those occasions when I have been drinking. Saturday night was one of those occasions.''
Arza said he will seek ``immediate counseling.''
Arza left the message on Barreiro's cellphone Saturday, the day The Miami Herald reported that Barreiro had filed his complaint against Arza, a Hialeah Republican, with the House rules committee.
Some time after Arza's call, someone else called Barreiro on his cellphone and left a threatening message calling Barreiro a ``snitch.''
Barreiro declined to discuss the investigation in detail, but confirmed receiving the two phone calls between 8 p.m. Saturday and 1 a.m. Sunday. Barreiro says he recognized the first caller as Arza -- and his caller ID displayed Arza's number. He did not recognize the voice of the second caller. Arza told The Herald he does not know who the second caller was.
Arza's message, Barreiro said, referred again to Crew and used a racial epithet. In the past, Arza has strongly denied using the slur, and in Monday's statement continued to insist he had been ``unjustly accused.''
Said Barreiro: ``He used the word again. He once again used the N-word . . . The only difference is this time the recording is saved.''
Though Arza did not specifically threaten Barreiro, ''his tone was very threatening,'' Barreiro said. Barreiro declined to say in detail what Arza said, or what was said by the second caller.
''I have to take the threat seriously,'' said Barreiro, a Miami Beach Republican. ``I felt it was threatening.''
Arza told The Herald he ''snapped,'' but added: ``I did not threaten Mr. Barreiro.''
Doesn't matter, your ill tempered outburst shows your unworthiness for public offic. Resign Rep. Arza, so a proper man or woman can serve the constituents of your district.
Apparently Arza won't resign, but he is today's Knucklehead of the Day.
Hat tip- Rick at SOTP
Linked to- Bright & Early, Basil's Blog, Jo's Cafe, Right Wing Nation, Third World County, Stuck on Stupid, Blue Star, Cao's Blog, Adam's Blog,