MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Miami Beach Commissioner Ricky Arriola, a registered Democrat, was elected in 2015. He was re-elected in 2019 and his term doesn’t end until 2023, but some leaders of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party want it to end sooner.
Miami-Dade Democrats are sponsoring a resolution that would formally censure Arriola. They are citing alleged racism, COVID-19 lies, and unprofessional behavior. The resolution will come up to a vote during their next meeting in February.
Steve Simeonidis, the Miami-Dade Democratic Party chair, said Arriola needs to resign or he will face a recall effort.
“This isn’t a policy disagreement,” Simeonidis said, adding it is about the “racist rhetoric” and “dangerous disinformation” coming from Arriola’s social media accounts.
For months, Arriola shared about unproven COVID-19 treatments, herd immunity, and a story about a call to jail Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
Most recently, Arriola compared the U.S. Capitol siege to interfere with the presidential election with the riots stemming from Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality.
On Tuesday, Arriola had a contentious public exchange with Billy Corben, an Emmy and Peabody Award-winning documentary film director.
“He has spiraled into right-wing conspiracy theories, science denialism, a thinly veiled racism,” Corben said, adding that Arriola “is emotionally unstable and unfit for public office.”
Arriola’s aid said he was unable to answer questions in time for this story’s deadline, but he wants to make sure people know that he is not a COVID denier, he just doesn’t believe in the effectiveness of lockdowns. Arriola’s aid also said recalls are reserved for officials who are not doing their job and not over a difference of opinion.
Related social media posts
Miami Beach Commissioner @RickyArriolaMB — who suggested the city deliberately infect first responders with COVID — has another social media meltdown, complete with anti-Semitic dog whistles and demanding to physically fight me (for the second time in nine months) #BecauseMiami pic.twitter.com/Njv3zsNGLQ— Billy Corben (@BillyCorben) January 13, 2021
Billy the bitch is back!— Ricky Arriola (@RickyArriolaMB) January 13, 2021
Please try and recall me. Loser. Quit blocking people you disagree with or who you are afraid of (which is everyone). Billy Cohen.— Ricky Arriola (@RickyArriolaMB) January 13, 2021
Yes. Always gone by Ricky since birth. Never changed my name like Billy. I sign legal documents as Jose Ricardo Arriola and short for J Ricky Arriola. I don’t hide my identity or heritage like Billy does. How does it feel to be Billy the Bitch’s bitch?— Ricky Arriola (@RickyArriolaMB) January 13, 2021