Candidates' Night in Berkeley's District 8

Russ Tilleman, District 8 Council Candidate
Monday September 10, 2018 - 03:16:00 PM

The CENA meeting on Wednesday night was interesting!

Lori Droste started by pointing out that Chris Stine, the head of the Berkeley Police Association, was present. And it sounded like she brought him along. I don't know if he lives in the neighborhood, but I'm guessing he was there representing the police union. Which doesn't seem very appropriate for an endorsement meeting.

She said the police union is "heavily invested" in getting her reelected, and that lots of City of Berkeley employees are endorsing her.

I mentioned that I don't think it is appropriate for elected officials to take money from anyone whose contract they negotiate, and that Ms. Droste took money from the BPA. 

When she got the microphone, she said something to the effect of me not knowing what I was talking about, that she doesn't take money from BPA. 

While the others were answering questions, I got out my phone and went online, and when the mic came back to me, I apologized for looking on my phone during the meeting and pointed out that on October 27, 2014, Lori Droste took $250 from the Berkeley Police Association. 

I heard some kind of noise from the audience at that point. I'm not sure what it was, I was focused on answering the next question before I ran out of time. But I got the feeling they didn't appreciate her sorta lying to them. 

Later, she was going over-time, I think it was her closing statement, and she said it was too bad she was out of time because she had so many more things she wanted to say. 

The moderator told her "yes but you don't have the right to say them" in a rather confrontational tone. 

The meeting when for over 2 hours, with just the 4 of us talking. So it was much more intense than the usual endorsement meetings that cover Districts 1, 4, 7, 8 and maybe rent board and auditor. 

The crowd didn't look very happy. Alfred stayed positive throughout the meeting, but Mary Kay and I both confronted Droste about not representing everyone in the district, and Droste accused Mary Kay of going door-to-door misleading people about the issues. 

Droste also said that Nancy Skinner has offered her a seat at the table with the new Governor talking about keeping Alta Bates open. She implied that is a reason to vote for her, that she has some kind of inside track working with Skinner. I am going to call up Skinner this afternoon and ask whether I will be invited if I am elected, or whether this is some kind of smoke-filled-room deal that is only good between her and Droste. 

Personally, I think Droste's attempt to lie her way out of taking money from the police union fits with her approach of not really listening to the people in District 8 and just doing whatever she wants to do. Lying to her constituents seems to be another aspect of her lack of respect, bordering on contempt, for us.