Wednesday, August 06, 2014

CA Council woman verbally attacked during meetings because she is lesbian

Apparently a member of a California city council has been the target of verbal attacks because of her sexual orientation.

From Raw Story:

The vice mayor of Richmond, California has been the target of racially-charged and homophobic taunts from opponents who now accuse her of wanting to stifle their free speech rights, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. According to the Chronicle, the vitrol directed at Jovanka Beckles, a lesbian who identifies as a Black Latina, has been a fixture at local city council meetings since her election four years ago. During a meeting last month, one member of the public, identified as Mark Wassberg, was seemingly bragging about the council allowing him the right to berate Beckles over her sexual orientation.

“I’m going to keep coming up here and tell you how gays have no morality,” he was quoted as saying. “You’re filth. You’re dirt. Because I have the constitutional right to say it.”

KTVU-TV also reported last month that critics have called for Beckles to resign after video came to light of her telling a local minister, Rev. Kenneth Davis, to “get out of [her] f*cking face,” and calling other hecklers “bullies” and “women abusers.”

Based on another video - taken from youtube, it seems that Beckles may have some justification for her reaction (although not the profanity she allegedly used). This video paints the picture of a continuously abusive council audience. The following clip is from last year in which Wassberg, the man who called Beckles filth, and other members of the audience berated Beckles using all sorts of nasty language. Please note that the video is making the argument that another council member, Nat Bates, is defending the attacks on Beckles.

There is no such thing as "free speech" when someone is verbally attacking a group of people or a specific government official during meetings. The fact of the matter is that the verbal abuse should have been stopped the instant it started.

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