Toward the end of the policy forum on disability issues at the East Bay Regional Center in San Leandro on Tuesday, Sept. 18, an individual with a personal grudge began a verbal attack against Assembly Candidate Jovanka Beckles.
Organizers of the forum called the man, Vinay Pimple, out of order, asked him to sit down, and proceeded with the Wicks and Beckles closing statements.
The individual launching the attack is a Richmond, California resident who served for an appointed two year City Council term during Beckles’s second elected term in office.
The incident on Tuesday appears to have been engineered by the Wicks campaign. Mr. Pimple was sitting with a campaign operative during the event who was recording it with her phone, and Mr. Pimple departed in the car driven by Wicks campaign deputy director Dean Wallace.
In her closing statement, Candidate Beckles said that Mr. Pimple’s allegations were far from the truth and she invited audience members to call her or join her for coffee if they’d like to know what really happened.
Ms. Beckles shared with the audience that although she has been working for years with individuals with disabilities of all kinds, this issue is also personal to her. Her granddaughter is legally blind and has limited use of her right arm and leg, she explained.
Engineering the airing of a personal grudge by the Wicks campaign is redolent of campaign dirty tricks such as those carried out by operatives such as Lee Atwater and David Brock. The latter worked on behalf of the Hilary Clinton Presidential Campaign in 2016 of which Buffy Wicks was the California State Director.
In an extension of the Pimple-Wicks campaign attack, online news outlet Berkeleyside.com on September 19 published a piece by Pimple reiterating his accusations. The article made an analogy between Council member Beckles and President Donald Trump.
The Beckles campaign deeply regrets that the Wicks campaign is exploiting for political gain an individual’s anger. In the meeting subsequent to the original event in 2015, Ms. Beckles apologized to Mr. Pimple for any perceived insult.