Personal Attacks by a Transportation Commissioner and Lori Droste Supporter

Russ Tilleman
Monday November 05, 2018 - 11:00:00 AM

C. Mark Humbert, the District 8 Transportation Commissioner and also a public supporter of Lori Droste, has published what I believe is a libelous attack on me in the Berkeleyside comments section.

Someone stated in the comments section that Lori Droste should sue me for libel, and I responded that she isn't suing me for libel because everything I have said about her is true. Which I believe to be the case.

Ms. Droste did take money from the Berkeley Police Association, as proven by her campaign finance disclosure filings.

Ms. Droste did vote against police reform, as proven by the City Council Annotated Agenda.

Mark Humbert then wrote:
"She isn't suing you for libel because you're not worth it. You have no credibility. And you most certainly utter lie after lie." 

He posted this using the Disqus ID "markh", but in another post by "markh" identified himself as "C. Mark Humbert, District 8 resident" and further identified himself in the same post by writing: 

"I am a CENA board member, and am currently its VP. I was, like Jac, the president of CENA for some time. I am currently the transportation commissioner for District 8, having first been appointed by Gordon Wozniak." 

CENA is Berkeley's Claremont Elmwood Neighborhood Association. 

From my understanding, Humbert has acted with actual malice by intentionally publishing a harmful attack on me with reckless disregard for the truth or even direct knowledge of the falsity of what he is saying. 

He is an attorney with his own firm. So he should know enough about libel to not accidentally or unintentionally be making this kind of attack on me. This seems like an intentional attack. 

From what I have read, this is a classic case of libel with actual malice against a public figure. 

To my knowledge, I haven't lied about anything. I believe I have written documentation and/or witness testimony to back up everything I have said about Lori Droste in court if necessary. 

If Lori Droste or Mark Humbert have any evidence of me saying anything untrue about Ms. Droste, I challenge them to present it so we can have a public discussion of the issue. 

This is a major issue for me. I am tired of being attacked like this. At least 4 other people have posted baseless personal attacks similar to this and I want them to stop doing so, 

Also, I would like to send a message that it is not OK to falsely attack someone just because you don't like them or you support a candidate that is running against them. 

So far just in the comments section of the recent Berkeleyside article about the District 8 race ( https://www.berkeleyside.com/2018/11/02/contentious-battle-for-berkeleys-district-8-seat-in-final-stretch) \ 

  • Pietro Gambadilegno called me "a hothead who is constantly angry and who is constantly imagining conspiracies against him"
  • Doug F called me "a nutcase".
  • Daniel said "Tilleman’s a lunatic"
  • Live Oak called me "crazy"
I don't believe any of these are accurate. This kind of behavior is one of the reasons I am running against Lori Droste. 

In particular, I don't think it is proper for a Berkeley Transportation Commissioner to be falsely attacking a political candidate. 

Also the posts attacking me seem to violate Berkeleyside's commenting policy, which they don't seem to be enforcing. 

Frances Dinkenspiel recently informed me that she doesn't intend to let me post any more comments responding to these attacks. I think Berkeleyside has an obligation to either enforce their commenting policies and prevent these kinds of attacks, or let the people who are attacked defend themselves by posting responses. 

When someone with the DIsqus ID MarkH2 posted the following comment in the Daily Cal: 

"Tilleman - You're a vile scumbag. These posters accuse Ms. Droste of responsibility for rape and murder. The assertions are lies, they are defamatory, and your contentions make no sense in any event. You should be ashamed of yourself. But given that you're an idiot without moral scruples, in my opinion, you are likely proud of your pusillanimous self.” 

the Daily Cal did the right thing and removed it for violating the commenting policies. 

If Berkeleyside approves these attacks and prevents me from responding to them, I think they share the responsibility for them.