Candidate for the Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board Alejandro Soto-Vigil has alleged that incumbent City Councilmember Laurie Capitelli’s campaign manager Pamela Gray trespassed onto his property and went through his recycling bin Monday afternoon.
Gray was seen by Soto-Vigil’s wife who went outside to investigate after hearing sounds by the home’s garbage area around 3:30 p.m. There she allegedly saw Capitelli’s aide going through the couple’s recycling and taking photographs.
After being confronted by Soto-Vigil’s wife, Gray allegedly ran back to a car where Councilmember Capitelli was waiting.
Soto-Vigil, who is also an aide to Councilmember and Mayoral Candidate Kriss Worthington, admitted he had the signs of BART Board candidate Rebecca Saltzman, mayoral candidate Jacquelyn McCormick and City Council candidate Dmitri Belser in his recycling because he had found them damaged on the ground nearby.
Capitelli said he and his aide were dropping off campaign materials next door and noticed the signs sticking out of Soto-Vigils recycling and garbage bins and went to investigate. He confirmed that Gray took photographs.
“One of the signs was a Dmitri Belser sign, who is a candidate who (Soto-Vigil) doesn’t support,” Capitelli said. “He told me he took them so he could recycle them. If you look at the picture … they don’t look damaged to me.”
Soto-Vigil said that he found the signs on the ground and did not take them, adding that he supports and works with Saltzman and McCormick.
“I’m an environmentalist. I don’t discriminate,” Soto-Vigil said. “(The signs) were sticking out so I obviously have nothing to hide and if Pam had gone through my trash she would have seen my signs too which were unusable and couldn’t be recycled.”
Capitelli said that sign theft has been a huge problem in this election season.
“Well we are purchased 700 signs and we probably have 250 left. We have seen our signs shredded,” Capitelli said.
Capitelli said he would not be pursuing charges against Soto-Vigil, while Soto-Vigil said he will filling trespassing charges if Capitelli does not offer a public apology.
“It pisses me off that they wouldn’t apologize. All I wanted is an apology and now he’s saying that he won’t press charges? Of course he won’t. It’s silly. This needs to end,” Soto-Vigil said. “I felt violated that someone I work with went through my recycling just to get dirt. It’s reprehensible.”