Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson obtained a temporary restraining order this week against a City Hall gadfly who was accused last week of making criminal threats against Wesson that used Ku Klux Klan imagery.

City Council President Herb Wesson. Photo by John Schreiber.
The order was filed Thursday and requires Wayne Spindler, 46, to stay at least 10 yards away from Wesson during council and committee meetings. Spindler can still attend the meetings and give public comment in a peaceful and orderly way.

Spindler must also stay 10 yards from Wesson’s vehicle and field office, and 100 yards from the council president’s home. Spindler also must keep two yards away from Wesson’s City Hall office, which is meant to allow him to go down the hallway to get to other rooms.

Spindler must also give up possession of any firearms, guns or ammunition within 24 hours of the order.

Police last week arrested Spindler on suspicion of making criminal threats on a public comment request card during a committee meeting chaired by Wesson last week.

The card features images of a burning cross and a person hanging from a tree by a noose. At the center of the card is a drawing of what appears to be a triangular-shaped person wearing a KKK hood carrying a noose and a sign that says “Herb = (N-word).”

Wesson said this week that he reported the public comment card to police “at the urging of my staff.”

Spindler was arrested Friday and his bail was set at $75,000. He was released about 10 p.m. that day.

Spindler was accused of submitting the public-comment card at a May 11 meeting of the council’s Rules, Elections, Intergovernmental Relations and Neighborhoods Committee. The card, which is available for viewing in a public records portion of the City Clerk’s Office website, indicates it was submitted by “Wayne from ENCINO.”

Wesson called a news conference this week to denounce the comment card imagery.

“You don’t threaten a black man that way,” Wesson said. “In fact, you don’t threaten anyone in this country that way. I take these types of threats seriously.”

He contends the person who submitted the comment card knew it “was going to find its way to the individual who was chairing this meeting, and this card was a message to me.”

Wesson said that while he is an easygoing person, the latest incident was “not funny — this is not a joke.”

Spindler, speaking to ABC7, said he will fight if any charges are filed against him.

“They don’t listen to us,” he said. “The only way they listen to us (is) if we’re emphatic,” he said.

“This guy (Wesson) is just using this as a ploy,” Spindler said. “He wants to get me and other people out of City Hall.”

City Council members have struggled to contain language derogatory to specific groups, because such commentary is permitted at public meetings under free speech and public meeting laws. Two years ago, the city agreed to pay $215,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a man ejected from Recreation and Parks Commission meeting for wearing a KKK hood.

Following Wesson’s public statements this week on the recent tone of the meetings, the City Council meeting Friday morning was noticeably calmer, with few, if any, curse words, shouting or comments that appear to attack specific groups based on race, gender or other characteristics.

— City News Service

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.