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Downey : Council Critic Arrested

February 20, 1986

Longtime City Council critic Lennie Whittington was arrested Tuesday on a warrant for allegedly making annoying phone calls to a city official and a resident.

Whittington, 47, pleaded not guilty in Downey Municipal Court and was released pending a March 13 court appearance. Whittington, who could not be reached for comment, allegedly used obscene language and ethnic slurs during Jan. 24 phone calls to Scot Yotsuya, an assistant to the city manager, at City Hall, said Detective John Lynch, who made the arrest.

Whittington was arrested on two counts of making annoying phone calls after a warrant was issued by Downey Municipal Judge Robert Drees, Lynch said. If convicted, Whittington faces a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine, Lynch said.

Whittington's lawyer, Martin J. Munson of Torrance, also could not be reached for comment.

In an interview, Yotsuya said he hung up on Whittington three times after Whittington called to complain about whether there had been proper notice for a Library Advisory Board meeting that Whittington had missed.

Whittington also allegedly used obscene language in a Jan. 22 phone call to Robert Feliciano, who had written a letter to a local newspaper complaining about council critics who were acting like "spoiled kids," Lynch said.

After Yotsuya and Feliciano told city officials about the alleged incidents, police made complaints to Deputy Dist. Atty. James Cosper, who sought a warrant for Whittington's arrest, Lynch said.

In 1983, Whittington sued the city in federal court in Los Angeles after the city conducted a criminal investigation of Whittington's background. He lost the case in December, 1984. Whittington has vociferously criticized city officials at recent council meetings, prompting council members to consider an emergency ordinance to limit public participation during council meetings. The plan is under study.

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