Blogging Bayport Alameda

August 10, 2007

Gimme all your lunch money!

Filed under: Alameda, Errata — Tags: , — Lauren Do @ 7:19 am

With all the talk about bullies, one would think we had a Dudley Dursely in our midst.

<Insert canned laughter here>

If you haven’t visited Stop, Drop and Roll yet and hadn’t yet made your visit to Alameda Daily News then I will be the first to tell you that the decision in the Howard v. Knox White suit is in!  Reported first by SDR and then picked up by Alameda Daily News much later (4:36) who immediately received a response from Plaintiff Howard (4:53) trying to, once again, make political hay out of his own suit.   This is how Alameda Daily News (with him, as always, is Don) decided to “report” the news:

4:36 p.m.: Temporary Judge Rules Against Plaintiff in Libel Lawsuit

Earlier this year, Alamedan David Howard filed a libel lawsuit against Alamedan John Knox White. Howard alleged that White had libeled him by calling Howard a stalker on an internet forum. On April 18, 2007, temporary Judge Andrew Dosa heard the case in the County Courthouse in Alameda and indicated that he would issue a decision early the following week. Instead, temporary Judge Dosa delayed giving his decision until today. Not surprisingly, based on his comments during the trial, temporary Judge Dosa ruled in favor of the defendant White.

First of all, if ADN had read the ruling, which I am sure he did being the meticulous journalist that he is, he will notice that the ruling filed by Judge Pro Tem Dosa is dated June 7, 2007.  While not a week after the case was concluded, it certainly was not an unreasonable length of time considering the subject matter was not your typical small claims case.   What happened to it between June 7 and yesterday is unknown.   Also, as someone who was there at the trial Judge Pro Tem Dosa did a commendable job at trying to be as neutral as possible.   At times he was being a little bit overly helpful to the Plaintiff  in trying to help him realize that he was required to show that he was damaged in some way in order to collect the statutory maximium he was requesting IF there was a finding of defamation.   If I remember correctly the only item that the Plaintiff acknowledged that could be perceived as a damage was that his spouse questioned him about the lawsuit.

But there were a few errors in the ruling itself, one: my name was spelled wrong.  <sob> Actually that didn’t bother me so much as generally my name is spelled incorrectly, it’s something you get used to.    And also, the ruling said that my motion was denied, which either the Judge was incorrect on or the court clerk who added it to the Register of Actions was incorrect about. (See: Motion: to Quash Plaintiff’s Subpoena Granted)   Either way, as mentioned in the ruling, it was moot since the Defendant denied that he made the comments at issue in the subpoena and the Plaintiff had indicated that the only reason he had filed was to confirm if it was the Defandant’s statements.

In addition to Don Roberts brief assessment of what happened, we have Plaintiff Howard’s spin on the decision:


This ruling confirms that Mayor Johnson and her minions can safely continue their personal attacks and character assassinations which they began during last year’s election season and which they no doubt will continue through the upcoming Measure A discussions and on into next year’s election.

Mr. White and his friends, many of whom are Measure A critics, such as Helen Sause (who referred to me as a “twerp” in submissions she provided to Mr. White for the case), like to claim the high road when it comes to public debate. But Mr. White’s defense, which he argued ardently, was that he was engaged in “childish namecalling” – hardly a hallmark of intelligent debate.

But the “childish namecalling” is understandable, as Mr. White’s overall behavior is no different from that of a grade school bully who feels superior only when surrounded by his gang members, whether on the local blogs, or in the courtroom. We all know that school yard bullies are really cowards inside. Why, Mr. White even brought his “gang” to the courtroom, which included family members and a number of other people, including Transportation Commissioner Rob Ratto, who had nothing to do with the case nor the mud-slinging in the blogs. This group will undoubtedly continue to try to bully their point of view on all Alameda residents for the foreseeable future.

Mr. White and friends have defended his behavior in the name of “free speech”, yet their use of gang intimidation to marginalize anyone whom they don’t like betrays that spirit. Alameda residents should be alarmed by this threat to genuine political dialog within their town.

David Howard

I finding it amazing that somehow the Plaintiff managed to connect Mayor Johnson in this whole debacle, which is why Judge Dosa did absolutely the right thing in finding that the Plaintiff himself was a limited public figure which increased the burden on the Plaintiff to show that there was malice involved.   And I find it amazing, and a bit ironic, that while the Plaintiff is chastizing “Mr. White’s” mea culpa owning up to getting caught up in the heat of the moment and resorting to “childish namecalling” and first chastizes Helen Sause for calling him a “twerp” as part of an email thread in which he hijacked her email list and used it for his own political benefit (see SDR for more details).  But he starts off his letter to ADN by resorting in a little namecalling himself with: “Mayor Johnson and her minions.”   In Plaintiff Howard’s world “minion” is not namecalling, but “twerp” is.

While Mr. Howard may believe that the Defendant recuited folks to come to court with him, could it be that the majority of folks came to support the Defendant from what they believed was a politically motivated lawsuit?   It’s amazing that having friends to support you has been twisted in such a way that it is a bad thing.

So to recap, in the words of the court document itself:

Defendant does not owe the Plaintiff any money on the Plaintiff’s claim.

For a good giggle, check out Alameda Daily Noose’s “spin” on another similiar case.


  1. Howard’s comments are hilarious, given his predilection for being the bully, having previously launched unsuccessful smear campaigns against many other community members. Hopefully this will put an end to his tactics, although I kind of doubt it.

    But now that JKW has been thoroughly exonerated, does he get his name put back on his commission?

    Comment by notadave — August 10, 2007 @ 8:32 am

  2. Just coming from the Alameda Noose site, does this mean that we can now call Mr. Poopy Pants a “twerp” intead of a “stalker” John P.

    Comment by John Piziali — August 10, 2007 @ 9:23 pm

  3. There is an interesting commentary in the Howard v. Knox White decision which seems to justify the lack of civility in the course of public debate, particularly on passionate issues like Measure A:

    “Politics and the rough and tumble world of jagged, even irresponsible debate and careless attacks are protected (valued) by-products of the freedom of speech we embrace as a nation. It is better to allow this type of speech than the “censorship” involved in policing the irresponsible, untrue, careless speech which is often characteristics of passionate violent verbal exchanges. Censorship endangers protected speech.”

    Comment by C.C. Wanabe — August 10, 2007 @ 9:38 pm

  4. It was most due to Dave Howard’s comment’s which I changed my mind about measure A. I had no idea measure A even existed in Alameda until Howard’s ranting and raving let me no so. He is for the most part the reason I changed my mind. If he would have shut up I could be pro measure A. Here justice was served.

    Comment by Joel — August 12, 2007 @ 5:46 pm

  5. So Joel – you are saying you base your judgments about MA on what other people say? So what is YOUR opinion? “Anti-somebody else” is a very weak argument. I hope you don’t make all your decisions this way, but perhaps this represents the ‘mob mentality’ of modern American voting habits.

    Comment by David Kirwin — August 12, 2007 @ 6:05 pm

  6. DK, not at all, I didn’t know any thing about Measure A prior to moving here. I still didn’t even know about measure A until I lived here a year. There are Apartments all over, I didn’t know there was a band on them. When I first heard about it I thought okay, but after DH comments I thought about it more and changed my mind (he just made me mad enough to look into it)…My current point of view measure A doesn’t make sense. BTW we don’t have a mob mentality…I have a right to weigh the facts and change my mind at any time. We are consistent voters so it may be mob mentality…in your view but the 4 votes in my household I guess makes us a mob

    Comment by Joel — August 12, 2007 @ 7:08 pm

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