04/20/2012 11:26 am ET Updated Jun 20, 2012

Mike Antonovich, LA County Supervisor, Compares Sales Tax Proposal To 'Gang Rape'

This story comes courtes of The City Maven.

By Alice M. Walton

A discussion on whether to support state legislation that would pave the way for an extension of Measure R took an unexpected turn today when a Los Angeles County supervisor likened the tax to "gang rape."

Supervisor Mike Antonovich's comment prompted Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a major supporter of Measure R, to temporarily walk out of the Metro committee meeting. He later returned for the 3-2 vote to support Assemblyman Mike Feuer's bill. Today's dust up follows last night's State of the City address, which focused on why Villaraigosa believes it is necessary to eliminate the 2039 sunset of Measure R.

Asked about likening the tax extension to a "gang rape," Antonovich's spokesman Tony Bell provided this statement:

The point is Measure R is a countywide tax- not a just an L.A. city tax. Any extension requires the input of all the county's town councils, cities and regional associations. If L.A. city wants a tax to pay for their individual projects, then they should vote to tax themselves without including the rest of the county - who have their own vital transit needs.

During an appearance on KCRW's Which Way, L.A.?, the mayor called the remark "offensive." He told host Warren Olney:

Sixty-seven percent of the county voted for Measure R (in 2008) despite the fact that (Antonovich) was against it. If he doesn't want to support the elimination of the sunset, that's fine, but using terminology like that is not only offensive, it's just disrespectful to the voters who voted for Measure R.

I was sorry that he didn't feel a need to retract it.

The supervisor's remark was first reported by the LA Weekly.

*Updated 5:53 p.m.

Here is audio of Antonovich's comment, courtesy of KNX 1070 reporter Claudia Peschiutta.

The City Maven is a news website about Los Angeles city politics and policies. It was created by journalist Alice M. Walton in 2010 upon her graduation from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. To read more City Maven stories, click here.