As part of his argument regarding Redevelopment Agencies and eminent domain, Assemblyman Wagner referenced that the programs had become something akin to a mafia operation; specifically naming the Italian-American family highlighted in the HBO series “The Sopranos.”
When called upon by Assemblyman Furutani to apologize to Italian Americans, Assemblyman Wagner did so, tongue in cheek. He apologized to all Italian-Americans who were not involved in the Mafia or in insurance scams.
Uproar arose from the floor, and Assemblyman Wagner offered another apology to those who did not understand his comparison.
After a few moments, Assemblywoman Beth Gains began her remarks on the redevelopment bill, but was interrupted by a face-to-face-to-face confrontation that broke out in front of her.
John Myers from KQED described the scene when he tweeted “Furutani & Wagner go face 2 face. Wow..everyone rushes in.”
Kevin Yamamura reported by tweet a quip from the Assembly Floor. “Overheard in the back of the Assembly chamber: “This is one time I’m glad the sergeants are armed.” He later described the sense on the floor as similar to a playground elementary school.
Keep in mind that only a few years after California earned its Statehood, in 1856, U.S. Senators Preston Brooks beat Senator Charles Sumner on the Floor of the Assembly after he made disparaging comments about Senator Brook’s relative.