The Richmond City Council has appointed Vinay Pimplé to the vacant seat. The appointment of Pimplé comes after two weeks of indecision and divisiveness among the Council.
Pimplé, a community activist and an attorney with a degree from UC Berkeley, carried votes from councilmembers Nat Bates and Eduardo Martinez, along with Vice Mayor Jael Myrick and Mayor Tom Butt. Councilmembers Jovanka Beckles and Gayle McLaughlin abstained from the vote.
Over the past three weeks various councilmembers hailed different qualifications for the appointee, but none could agree on which was best.
During last week’s meeting Councilmember Beckles, citing the city’s census data showing a large Latina population, suggested that candidate Claudia Jimenez was the best suited for the vacancy. Several audience members this week and during this meeting showed support for Jimenez by holding up signs and cheering for her appointment. Over three dozen Jimenez supporters gathered at the meeting, only to be disappointed when her nomination failed as Bates, Butt, and Myrick abstained from the vote.
Leading up the council meeting Mayor Butt announced in his “E-Forum” that he would be nominating former councilmember Jim Rogers. Rogers was runner up in the election last November, and Butt declared that his nomination was the most democratic.
Butt’s statement was also a jab at Councilmembers Beckles and McLaughlin, who declared the same democratic justness when they nominated now councilmember Martinez during the last seat vacancy in 2013. However, Butt did not have the opportunity to nominate Rogers.
After a flurry of rapid-fire nominations Bates put forth Pimplé’s name, which was quickly seconded by Martinez. Bates has hailed the diversity of Pimplé, who — though an after school writing tutor — is nearly blind.
Pimplé won the seat after a quick vote and will be sworn in during the Council’s next regular meeting on March 3rd.