Girlyman Fight Breaks Out In California Legislature

Los Angeles viewers who catch my appearance on KTTV Fox News at 10:00 tonight are in for an extra treat: a recap of a shoving fight on the floor of the California Legislature

At issue: Italian-Americans, The Sopranos, ethnic shame, criticism of redevelopment agencies (the last acceptable prejudice), and an all-out pencil-neck war of the assemblymen. 

Assemblyman Don Wagner (R-Irvine) starts the battle off by comparing efforts to defund redevelopment agencies (RDAs) to an act of extortion by Tony Soprano, a fictional organized crime boss on an old television show. Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) responds with an expression of the kind of fake ethnic outrage I wrote about in the Reason cover story “E Pluribus Umbrage” long ago (before all the damn South Ossetians ruined this country). The feckless Wagner then manages to come back with a clarification that actually is offensive to Italian-Americans. Warren Furutani (D-Gardena) decides an insult to one is an insult to all. Wackiness ensues; lovably laid-back Assembly leader Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco) once again fails to keep order in the chamber; and, well, you can see the not-bloody-enough results: 

 

I don’t know what’s more pathetic: that the Golden State’s useless Republicans can’t even get it together to oppose the bloated, crooked, land-grabbing reign of the RDAs, or that this kind of mild shoving match is what passes for fisticuffs among our elected leaders. As an aficionado of parliamentary fighting, I don’t think an American politician would last three minutes in the octagon with a Russian or Korean counterpart. This roundup of fighting legislators I did a few years ago shows how far behind the U.S.A. is in global parliamentary fighting technique. Special applause goes out to the pugilistic pols of Taiwan, where men and women, old and young, fat and skinny lay into each other with enough spirit to make you understand why Red China is still wary of invading them: 

 

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  • ||

    "Assemblyman Don Wagner (R-Irvine) starts the battle off by comparing efforts to defund redevelopment agencies (RDAs) to an act of extortion by Tony Soprano..."

    Because if there's one city in all of California that's dying for lack of redevelopment and redevelopment dollars--it's Irvine?!

    Irvine, California...

    Median household income for 2008?

    $98,923

    Median family income for 2008?

    $111,455

    Still needs to feed at the redevelopment trough?

    Priceless.

    http://ocbiz.ocregister.com/20.....us-income/

    The freaking State is about to set thousands of convicted criminals free for lack of funds to house them--but the important thing is that the representative from Irvine still needs access to redevelopment funds?!

  • yonemoto||

    wasn't irvine the one city that didn't do redevelopment?

  • 4chan||

    The old military base in Irvine is being redeveloped into 'affordable income housing'. What the fuck that means in Irvine though (there are several universities in Irvine, but I doubt the majority of these units will go to college age students), I have little idea. My best guess is section 8 housing for families/seniors.

  • ||

    It must be really hard to find a local maid or gardener in Irvine, I'm sure.

    And we can't have them living in our homes!

    I guess?!

  • JoshInHB||

    He's opposing the bill because it doesn't actually get rid of rdas, it is just some misleading bs.

  • ||

    If I flew off the handle on him?

    Well that wouldn't be the first time I missed the nuance and got it wrong. And he has my full apology.

    Regardless, with the state unable to keep convicted criminals in prison--in no small part due to budget problems--it remains absurd if any taxpayer money is going to redevelopment.

    I apologize if I put the right shoe on the wrong horse...but somebody should wear it.

  • GSL||

    Or there's this story of how the San Jose RDA lent millions to establish a gourmet market downtown, then lent more millions to a competitor to wipe the first market out.

  • maruhage san||

  • Joe M.||

    I don’t know what’s more pathetic: that the Golden State’s useless Republicans can’t even get it together to oppose the bloated, crooked, land-grabbing reign of the RDAs, or that this kind of mild shoving match is what passes for fisticuffs among our elected leaders.

    Definitely, definitely the former.

  • Apologetic California||

    I know only of one Republican OC assemblymember against the elimination of RDAs, and I don't think it's Wagner (probably Norby?). The latest budget of Fail from the Democrats has tons of gimmicks and unconstitutional tax raises (would you be doing a post on it any time soon Tim?) and one of those is what Wagner is specifically referring to--Democrats not really eliminating the RDAs at all. Instead, the Democrats want the RDAs to VOLUNTARILY give up the funds to the state. Yes, it sounds stupid. But that's what college dropout Speaker Perez counts as a budget saving that will count towards his fuckwitted "balanced" budget.

  • Paul||

    Speaker Perez counts as a budget saving that will count towards his fuckwitted "balanced" budget.

    I demand you apologize to all fuckwitted americans.

  • RADIOACTIVE||

    least we forget the dumbfuck americans in this tragic impasse

  • Tim Cavanaugh||

    You're right. Norby is the one who opposes RDAs. I believe Nielsen also voted for AB27 yesterday. Norby's argument is that this will effectively defund RDAs. I think that's probably not going to happen in practice. The RDAs can fight it legally on Prop 22 grounds, and as they LACRA showed in one of the articles linked in my post, they are also willing to fight it illegally.

    That having been said, Wagner was not opposing this because it was bogus. Like a shocking number of Republicans, all the mayors, all the chambers of commerce, and plenty of others who are purportedly in favor of property rights, he likes the RDAs. Wagner says as much: He didn't like the original plan to eliminate them either.

    California Republicans are three shades of useless, and this is one of those shades. Even Flash doesn't defend them on this one. Norby isn't perfect, but he's right about RDAs.

    The strangest thing of all about Wagner's speech is that he depicts RDAs — whose actual job it is bully owners into selling their property — as the victims of extortion?

  • Paul||

    I don’t think an American politician would last three minutes in the octagon with a Russian or Korean counterpart

    No way with the Russians. I too am an aficionado (is that word italian?) of the parliamentary brawl and those thick-necked legislators from the Urals could hold their own in any MMA cage match.

  • Paul||

    Oh, and speaking of Girly Man fights, there's a certain country that still puts a batty old monarch on their money that's pissed about losing some kind of curling event or something.

  • GH||

    Tim,

    There are no Italians (or Germans) in California. The folk here with last names that have more vowels than consonants are Hispanic, the ones with more consonants than vowels are Jews. Wagner and Portantino could only be fighting over a bus ticket to New Jersey.

  • Amakudari||

    Seem to remember a ton of Italian immigrants around Nob Hill in San Francisco and the Spaghetti Hill in Monterey.

  • Anonymous||

    "My friends, I think I saw this in an episode of The Soprahnos. 'Nice little government money you're getting there. It would be a shame if anything happens to it.' And that's what's being asked of us here."

    "I'm too fat to stand all the way up, I smell like meatballs, and I love government money. You gotta problem widdat?"

    "My reference is not lost on anyone here."

    [interrupted speachmaking]

    Scene 2, at the monkeybars...

  • ||

    So, dude reacts to what he considers is an offensive stereotype by.....playing into said stereotype. Perfect.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Exactly:) You'se wanna say we's all mobsters? Les see what you have to say to my cousin Guido about that.

  • Josh Rosenberg||

    I'll always remember this as the moment when CA politics shifted from being too painful to watch into something altogether hilarious and refreshing--almost otherworldly entertainment.

    Thanks for the update and the great article.

  • ||

    Oh, don't be so afraid of us Koreans. The scale of the brawl (as well as makeshift but impressive furniture blockades and perfectly synchronized shaking of fists) is more impressive than the actual fight itself. Much of it involve waves of people pushing each other screaming "uuuuhhhhhh" "yaahhhhhh" and "push push push". Check out Youtube for half assed hair / body grabs by female politicians with pained expression that seems to just SCREAM "Your son, who is dating my daughter, is actually attending a no name college insted of Yonsei as he previously claimed." If you can avoid weak chair tosses and girlish shoves that you can see a mile away from some guy who's jumping over the panel, you'll be fine.

    The Union riots is where the action is. That's when molotov cocktails, huge wooden sticks, and ritualistic slaughter of birds (in anti Japanese protests) comes into play. If you want to see protesting mothers forming a human shield with baby strollers with their wide eyed kids still in them, you go to Korean riots.

  • yonemoto||

    that is one fat japanese dude. Reminds me of my dad. While i'm still thin, the apple don't fall far from the tree. I hope I inherit my mom's jeans.

  • ||

    I thought he was Taiwanese.

  • Amakudari||

    Jeans aren't that expensive these days, so I wouldn't worry too much.

  • Mr Whipple||

    When I want your opinion, I'll give it to you

  • Amakudari||

    As a proud Irish-American (on my dad's side at least), I would like all proud Italian-Americans who have not already to grow a pair. And also to learn to read and stop juicing.

  • mr simple||

    Would you put down the whiskey bottle long enough to stammer a sentence out?

  • Amakudari||

    Good good.

    See, the most well-known Irishman in the US is Lucky of Lucky Charms, who is a hoarding, thieving midget. We're universally considered violent drunks. And some Italian-American guy complains about semi-positive, romanticized portrayals of the mob -- which actually did exist?

    Although my great-grandfather did die from falling down a flight of stairs drunk. Also, Irish trickery:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qh3WUnFiEJ4

  • AlmightyJB||

    Hey, if it wasn't for the Italians we would all have to run and jump up to get in our front doors.

  • Res Publica Americana||

    I think it's about time a constitutional militia barges in and lynches all of these mother-fuckers. Apart from ripping apart their civilization, I don't see what else they're contributing to the world.

  • Ted S.||

    It's so nice to see an article that isn't a thinly-veiled excuse for hawking some crappy book.

  • ||

    Check out my new book: "California Sucks".

  • ||

    That was pathetic. I hope no lapels got ruffled in that exchange. Tim you owe me seven minutes of my life. I WILL COLLECT!

  • RADIOACTIVE||

    These clowns give new meaning to the term "fricken pansies"

  • ||

    The one thing i found reprehensible is that the scuffle immediately stopped when the black dude in front of the speaker got up out of his seat and started in their direction. Fucking pussies shit their pants when a soul brutha from Compton (I'm assuming that for the sake of stereotyping) is about to get involved.

    Oh, and you can't see it from the angle in the vid, but the Jewish members of the assembly were in the back of the room deciding on how they could personally profit from the potential blood of the combat.

  • Res Publica Americana||

    Meanwhile, Ted Kennedy's ghost was whacking off to ObamaCare

  • ||

    The worst part is that as soon as something actually interesting goes on with the California Assembly, what do the government controlled TV cameras do? They switch over to a shot of the chair DOING NOTHING. If you want an indictment of government funded media, there it is,

    And then when even the sound may be embarrassing to the "legislators" that's cut off too.

    It's television designed to protected the elected officials, not inform the public.

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