Two local members of the Assembly with Italian heritage took umbrage at comments made Wednesday by Assemblyman Don Wagner (R-Irvine).
In skewering the proposal to eliminate the state’s 400-plus redevelopment agencies, Wagner likened the plan to a “Tony Soprano” scheme, referring to the fictional mob boss from the popular HBO series.
Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) immediately called for an apology. Wagner obliged, but missed the mark.
“I will apologize to any Italian Americans who are not in the Mafia and engaged in insurance scams,” he said.
Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake) said he believes Wagner meant no harm with the Sopranos comment, but the apology required a response.
“He made a really odd choice of words for his so-called apology, and it came out really badly,” Gatto said.
The decision to gut redevelopment agencies is supported by Gov. Jerry Brown and opposed by many legislative Republicans. Brown vetoed the budget on Thursday on other grounds.