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NYC Mayor Says Might Skip St. Pat’s

October 22, 2002

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NEW YORK (AP) _ After skipping the Columbus Day Parade in a dispute over his planned guests, Mayor Michael Bloomberg says he may also sit out the St. Patrick’s Day Parade if organizers object to whomever he invites to march with him.

``I don’t think that any of the censorship or discrimination makes any sense,″ Bloomberg told reporters Monday. ``But if the parade organizers found whoever I choose to invite next March ... unacceptable, I would go have dinner in an Irish pub instead of an Italian restaurant.″

Bloomberg skipped the Columbus Day Parade last week after organizers said two actors he invited from ``The Sopranos″ were not welcome because the HBO hit negatively portrays Italian-American life.

Bloomberg had planned to march with ``Sopranos″ cast members Dominic Chianese and Lorraine Bracco. Chianese plays New Jersey mob boss Junior Soprano; Bracco plays psychiatrist Jennifer Melfi. Instead of marching, he had lunch with them at an Italian restaurant.

Bloomberg said he invited the pair because Bracco acts as a city spokeswoman on environmental issues, and Chianese makes a public service announcement for tourism.

Bloomberg hasn’t yet decided who he will invite to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, but his aides said he would likely not invite any gay groups, who are banned from marching in the parade by its organizers, the Ancient Order of Hibernians.

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