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Nazi Salutes & F-Bombs: Uncool But Legal in L.A. City Council Meetings

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Today's Los Angeles City Council meeting was full of unexpected drama thanks to a commenter, and later one of his supporters, who pushed the boundaries of acceptable behavior and provoked one councilman to consider a violent reaction.

During the meeting's general public comment segment, speaker Michael Carreon capped off his remarks with a Nazi salute, according to City News Service. "`I'm upset," he said to Councilman Tom LaBonge, who was running the meeting. "So I guess I'll just salute you. Heil Hitler."

LaBonge had asked Carreon, who is a frequent flyer at City Council meetings and tends to verbally attack Councilman Jose Huizar about parking issues, to not direct comments at specific councilmembers. Today Carreon's beef was that he felt some councilmembers were not paying attention to the speakers.

The meeting is viewable on a video clip here; Carreon is called at around 58 minutes into the recording.

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Carreon's "Heil Hitler" hit a nerve with Councilman Paul Koretz: "I'm very tempted to go over there and clock him, and that will disrupt the meeting,'' Koretz said. ``Certainly it was designed to elicit that kind of response, and I'm not having any of it.''

The City Maven notes in her blog recap of the incident that Koretz' father had fled Nazi Germany. Additionally, Councilman Bill Rosendahl spoke up: “As a German from German parents, who suffered through that process too, I’m appalled and outraged."

However, since Carreon did not cause an actual disruption, Deputy City Attorney Judy Reel said there was little recourse for the council, meaning they could not eject Carreon.

Carreon didn't seem to mind; he suggested he'd take it up with Koretz outside.

In support of Carreon, Venice boardwalk busker Matt Dowd offered his thoughts at the podium, only he opted to pepper them with the f-word. The trouble there? The Council meetings are broadcast on L.A. Cityview 35. Councilman Mitch Englander then suggested taking the meeting off the air, noting there were likely youngsters on their spring break assigned by teachers to watch the council meetings on TV.

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The City Council has a handful of commenters who sign up to speak on just about every topic they can. One other repeat jab at Council is the ol' "Mike Hunt" trick; in the past it's just resulted in an awkward moment as the name is called out, or, in the appearance of someone in Ku Klux Klan garb.

Council President Herb Wesson knows that these speakers are testing their legal limits, looking for a reason to sue the city should they be ejected, but suggests instead they get a life: "If they would spend this much time trying to find a job, other than get some free money, then their lives would be better,'' Wesson said.