Today in court, Eureka city councilwoman Kim Bergel filed for a restraining order against one of her constituents, Cornelius Loewenstein, alleging that she has been on the receiving end of a near daily stream of harassment for some time now.
“I realize I am a public official and vitriol is something I will have to deal with,” Bergel told the Outpost from outside Courtroom Four of the Humboldt County Courthouse this afternoon. She said that the amount of Facebook messages and online attention grew from a concern to what she considered harassment back in June when Loewenstein started making comments about her family.
“He messages me five times a day and has his minions spreading lies that aren’t true,” Bergel said. “I can deal with that, but don’t mess with my kids. Don’t mess with my kids.”
Judge Barbara Zuniga postponed a ruling on the matter until Monday because of a technicality. Loewenstein was not present in the courtroom today and instead had Arlie Capps, an attorney out of Sacramento, represent him in the matter. Capps told Zuniga that his client did not have the required five days to prepare for the hearing and he, Capps, has not received any paperwork about the details of the case.
“I have not seen any papers yet, all I have is a snapshot on my phone,” Capps told the judge.
Bergel expressed her concern and desire for an immediate restraining order and said she wanted the judge to consider that Loewenstein is hard to find and that serving him papers is a trouble because of his lack of a permanent residence.
“I know this is not what you want to hear, but I must give him some time,” Zuniga said to Bergel. “I know you’re frustrated, but I need you to come back on Monday.”
When asked for a statement or comments on behalf of his client, Capps said, “We are not in the business of addressing cases that are ongoing.”
Bergel said her interactions with Loewenstein first started about two years ago when she saw him at a Take Back Eureka meeting. She said that she doesn’t know why Loewenstein has decided to focus so much of his attention on her, but she just wants it to stop.
Loewenstein has a history of pretty alarming behavior. He’s been arrested twice for domestic violence related charges. Both of the charges were eventually dropped, but in a divorce filing on Feb. 8, 2016, his now ex-wife wrote to the court that she “had to move due to Mr. Loewenstein’s domestic violence towards me.”
Loewenstein’s Facebook activities tend to focus on needle litter and homelessness. He does everything from long form written rants to long winded video complaints. He levels all types of accusation and some of his favorite labels for Eureka city council members are “#grantwhore” and “#dopepimp”.
But for some reason, the majority of his ire is aimed at Bergel. He has even gone so far as to wake up at 4:55 in the morning and fire off insults.
At the end of today’s court hearing Bergel said she was disappointed in the granted extension and she promptly left the courthouse to go file an emergency restraining order with the Eureka Police Department.
“I’m feeling worried about my family,” Bergel said from the steps of the courthouse. “But we’ll do it, we’ll be back on Monday.”