Disruptive Pair at Pasadena City Council Meeting Pepper Their Public Comments with Profanity, Racial Slurs

Comments by the pair Monday leave Councilmembers looking visibly shaken and angered, and turning to City Attorney for legal advice

Published : Tuesday, May 7, 2019 | 5:38 AM

Man who self-identified only as "Herman" (lower left) gestures towards Councilmember Steve Madison during one of many profane verbal tirades he delivered throughout public comments portions of the Pasadena City Council meeting on Monday, May 6, 2019. Image is a KPAS screengrab

[Updated]  A pair of audience members who spoke during several public comment portions of Monday’s City Council meeting used profanity and racial slurs, prompting two Councilmembers to ask the City Attorney for “legal remedies.”

The two speakers, one who referred to himself only as “Herman,” and the other, believed to be Encino attorney Wayne Spindler but who referred to himself as “William Goat” and held up a goat puppet, insulted several members of the Council directly and used racist invective in each of their several appearances before the Council.

In his first turn at the lectern, “Herman” draped a Trump campaign poster on the speaker lectern and while criticizing City policy used the “F” word in nearly every sentence of his comments. He singled out Councilmember Steve Madison. He repeated the pattern throughout the evening, commenting on virtually every item before the Council Monday.

Pasadena Now has not been able to learn his identity as of this writing.

Spindler, a long time gadfly at Los Angeles City Council meetings, went further in his comments, praising the Ku Klux Klan, criticizing the homeless, and repeatedly using the”N” word throughout his remarks to the Council.

According to LA Metropolitan News, Spindler was served with a three-year restraining order last March, barring him from any contact with LA City Council President Herb Wesson.

Under that order, Spindler must not come within 10 yards of Wesson during City Council meetings, and must stay 100 yards away from Wesson’s field office or his home, LA Metropolitan News reported.

In a declaration, Wesson had told the court that Spindler “had placed him in fear for the safety of himself and his family.”

While both Spindler and Herman were allowed to continue to comment on various agenda items Monday, Mayor Terry Tornek seemed to grow angrier throughout the evening as Herman continued to use obscene language and recited racist lyrics from an early Ku Klux Klan campaign song.

During the pair’s remarks and following the meeting, Councilmembers appeared shaken.

Councilmember Gordo, while acknowledging the First Amendment rights of the speakers, pointed out that many of the comments were directed at staff, for whom the Council chambers are a workplace, and thus created “a hostile work environment.”

“The First Amendment is important, and we should always defend it,” Gordo continued, “but some of this language is intended to incite, and at what point has the line been crossed?”

“At what point does the Council have a responsibility to protect the rights of our City employees to not be subjected to language that I believe, may be directed towards offending them?” Gordo asked Bagneris. “What is the Council’s duty as an employer? At what point do we take action?”

Councilmember Kennedy also asked City Attorney Michele Bagneris to define “hate speech” as it would relate to a public meeting.

Councilmember Madison, calling the pair “mentally unstable cretins,” commented, “I think at some point we simply have to say that their comments have no point or purpose here in the City of Pasadena, in a public meeting like this.”

Gordo asked the City Attorney to prepare her answers for the Council in a confidential memorandum.