California Fair Political Practices Commission dismisses complaint over Tilleman posters

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Berkeley City Council’s District 8 incumbent Lori Droste had her complaint over posters from opposing candidate Russ Tilleman dismissed Sept. 20 by the California Fair Political Practices Commission, or FPPC, because of insufficient evidence.

Droste submitted the formal complaint against Tilleman, accusing him of violating part of the Political Reform Act on Sept. 10. She alleged he did not properly identify his campaign on the posters, which she called a “smear campaign” against her. The posters criticized Droste over alleged connections with the Berkeley Police Association.

“For me, there are a lot of big potential repercussions (from Droste’s FCCP complaint). I could get fined, and my reputation as a candidate would be gone,” Tilleman said. “She called it a “smear campaign,” but everything in (the posters) was true — that’s informing the voters about her campaign.”

The FPPC advises that candidates disclose sponsors of campaign material on the respective posters and flyers but does not legally require candidates to do so. It has dropped the case and will not follow with any enforcement action, according to a letter in response to the complaint from Galena West, chief of the FPPC’s Enforcement Division.

Tilleman separately filed a police report alleging that his campaign posters were illegally taken down approximately a day after he said he put them up but said that no city action had been taken so far.

“It’s unfortunate that there is some negativity between them,” said Alfred Twu, another candidate running for the City Council District 8 seat.

Droste could not be reached for comment by press time.

Contact Clara Rodas at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @ClaraRodas10.