Anonymous hit piece targets candidate’s legal history

Deniz Bolbol, Belmont City Council candidate

Daily Post Staff Writer

An 11th-hour anonymous campaign mailer has targeted a Belmont City Council candidate, highlighting her involvement in numerous lawsuits as an animal rights activist who fought Ringling Bros. Circus.

The identity of the people behind the mailer attacking candidate Deniz Bolbol was a mystery yesterday (Nov. 5). She’s running against the three incumbents on council, but the mailer said it was not authorized by a candidate or candidate’s committee. While state law requires campaign literature like mailers to bear an identification number, the anti-Bolbol mailer said such a number was “pending.”

This glossy flyer began arriving in the mailboxes of Belmont residents over the weekend.

The glossy mailer has a headline that says, “If the past is an indicator, Deniz Bolbol will take us backwards.” And then it lists 27 court cases involving Bolbol from 2004 to 2017 where she is identified as either a plaintiff, appellant or defendant.

The mailer goes on to say that she was the target of a “workplace violence restraining order” for hitting or pushing another person several times.

Bolbol said the suits were part of her animal advocacy work against Ringling Bros. She was a part of a group that worked to expose the abuse to circus animals. She often would videotape the circus workers handling the animals.

Bolbol’s side of the story

However, Bolbol and others in her group were sometimes arrested while protesting and videotaping at the circus. So, Bolbol said she filed lawsuits against the cities of Oakland, Stockton, Daly City and San Jose, the cities’ police departments and the circus to protect her right to free speech.

After the cases were resolved, Ringling filed a restraining order against Bolbol, claiming she battered two employees. Bolbol said she was wrongly accused.

“I can state emphatically I never committed violence against anyone. This case is on appeal based on new evidence, including official police reports, which I did not have access to previously. Ringling went out of business in 2017 because public sentiment no longer tolerated abuse of animals for circus entertainment,” Bolbol said. “History shows that successful advocates/activists have been wrongfully found guilty of things they haven’t done — so I’m not alone. I am proud of my advocacy work.”

However, the mailer cites Bolbol’s lawsuits from her advocacy work and says: “Concerned citizens believe Ms. Bolbol will not work well with others in the community for the benefit of all.”

Mysterious committee

The mailer says it was paid for by “the committee to support Lieberman, Mates and Stone for Belmont City Council 2018 FPPC # pending. This advertisement was not authorized by a candidate or a committee controlled by a candidate.”

FPPC refers to the Fair Political Practices Commission, which regulates elections in California.

Since this committee has not yet been assigned an FPPC number by the California Secretary of State, there is no way to determine who paid for the mailer. No independent expenditure forms had been filed with the Belmont City Clerk or county election’s office yesterday related to the mailer.


  1. I could never get the Palo Alto Post or media to cover the plight of the poor elephants that Ringling exploited and abused for decades .. but now that I have your attention, I ask for anyone who cares to take a minute to contact the Feld Family which owns Feld Entertainment (Ringling, Disney on Ice, etc) to release the remaining two dozen or so elephants they are still chaining and beating every day in Florida.

    Please contact Feld Entertainment and tell them you won’t go to any of their any of their shows (Monster Jam, Disney on Ice, Disney Live, Marvel Universe Live, Sesame Live, etc) until they send all the elephants to one of two elephant sanctuaries in the US (The Elephant Sanctuary in TN or the Performing Animal Welfare Society in CA). Feld Entertainment is a family-owned business, Ken Feld and his daughters can send these elephants to one of these sanctuaries right now if they want.

    Worldwide Headquarters
    P: (941) 721-1200
    [email protected]
    800 Feld Way
    Palmetto, FL 34221
    P: (800) 844-3545, 9am – 5pm
    Monday – Friday (EST)

    Ringling Bros. & Feld Motor Sports
    [email protected]

    Disney On Ice and Disney Live!
    [email protected]

    • Interesting reply, Ms. Bolbol. In your application for Belmont City Council you asserted that you ran a successful PR campaign against Ringling Bros, but here you whine that you couldn’t get media for the poor elephants. Which is it? It can’t be both.

      Abused and neglected for decades? Wasn’t it 200 years? Did the lawsuits divert your attention from the facts of the poor elephants you were purportedly working to help?

      Finally, I saw your attack on Performing Animal Welfare Society in 2005. Odd that you’d recommend sending elephants there.

  2. I’m really glad this came out in the paper today, though I wish it made the news earlier. I almost voted for this wing-nut. Can you imagine what crazy things our council would be doing if she got elected?

  3. My God! She’s running for City Council and yet she’s still doing her activism thing. If she gets on the council, is she going to be talking about circus elephants all the time? Will she want the city to sue the circus for something? Will she use her official position to push fringe viewpoints?

  4. I hope that this staff writer will investigate with the FPPC to determine the identity of the opponents behind this mystery mailer erroneously attacking Deniz. This mailer was the oppositions’ hit piece at the 11th hour of the election aimed at creating fear amongst Belmont residents. It is not yet clear to me if this was even legally registered with the FPPC or if it was an illegal rogue mailer funded by supporters of all three opponents.

    The truth is that Deniz successfully defended our free speech rights and fought against cruelty of animals and prevailed in all of her lawsuits against cities that violated first amendment rights. In fact, they were not Deniz’ legal problems but the legal problems of the cities that violated first amendment rights in every case. We should all be grateful that Deniz was willing to take a stand and support important issues that affect all of us. In order for Democracy to work, it must be based on truths; not lies, transparency, not conspiracies and and understanding of the facts; not slanderous accusations for oppositions’ benefit.

  5. I would like to know the outcome of all the civil cases where Bolbol sued the various cities for damages. Were the cases settled for undisclosed amount? Did she prevail and get awarded damages?

    • Yes. Despite having the information, the Palo Alto Post refused to note in its tabloid-like piece that I prevailed (securing permanent injunctions) in all of my free-speech lawsuits against cities where Ringling performed. AFTER I secured my rights, Ringling Bros. resorted to filing a restraining order and pursued this through a civil procedure that does not provide due process. Based on newly discovered evidence — official police reports — which prove I was wrongly accused, my case is on appeal.

      • After reading her comments above, I’m thankful that we dodged a bullet and didn’t elect this loon to City Council. She’s complaining about the newspaper’s story, yet her own comments make her sound like she’s crazy.

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