Berkeley City Council candidate Russ Tilleman files report over removed campaign posters

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Russ Tilleman, a candidate for City Council’s District 8 seat, alleged that his campaign posters were being illegally taken down from street lamp poles across College and Telegraph Avenues.

Tilleman filed a report with the Berkeley Police Department about the matter Monday. On the same day, Lori Droste, the incumbent council member, filed a sworn complaint to the California Fair Political Practices Commission, or FPPC, alleging these posters committed the violation of “unidentified advertisement or mailer.”

The matter is currently under investigation and cannot be commented on, according to Jay Wierenga, the FPPC spokesperson. BPD spokesperson Byron White said the legality on the removal of the posters is currently being looked into with the city clerk.

According to the FPPC Political Advertisement Disclaimers, it is recommended that campaign posters have the campaigner’s name on them, but it is not legally required.

“The FPPC said that yes, I am correct and I don’t need to have that information on the signs,” Tilleman said. “They have this (rule) so that people don’t have to clutter up their signs.”

His campaign posters focused on Droste and alleged that she took money from the BPD.

According to Droste, she did not see the signs posted until this morning. She added that many residents in her district have made complaints about the posters and have taken them down themselves.

“(My constituents) were disgusted and were tearing down these signs because it was a smear campaign,” Droste said. “If this is how someone runs a campaign and they can’t stand on their own accomplishments, it says a lot about them — not about me.”

The removal of posters may be considered illegal under state law as it may fall under petty theft, according to City Clerk Mark Numainville.

Contact Mariam Zagub at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @MZagub.