Wang's Palm Springs Vandalized After Political Candidate's Gathering
From Desert Sun: Wang's restaurant in Palm Springs vandalized after Republican political candidate's gathering.
A Palm Springs restaurant was vandalized early Saturday in an act managers there say elevates the frustrations they feel related to a misunderstanding about a recent political event.
Words scrawled in black spray paint on the entrance to Wang's in the Desert, a downtown restaurant and bar, read "Dan Ball" and possibly "supporters," although the word is misspelled and difficult to read.
Security camera footage shows a person in a black robe and white mask walking up to the door at 5:05 a.m. Saturday. The person spray paints the door and leaves a minute later. As that person leaves, a second person follows.
Ball is a Republican candidate for the U.S. House of Representative hoping to unseat Democrat Raul Ruiz of La Quinta this year.
Wang's is particularly popular with gay men and often hosts gay-friendly events such as "Will & Grace" viewing parties. An event Ball held there in December prompted some people to call for a boycott of the restaurant.
Managers at Wang's said Saturday that there has been a misunderstanding and that neither the restaurant nor its owners have done anything to support Ball's campaign.
They said Ball hosted a small gathering there in December, but it was a dinner with reservations for about 10 people made a couple of hours in advance.
Any materials promoting that gathering were done by Ball's campaign and did not involve the restaurant, Wang's general manager David Lane said. "We didn't sponsor anything. We didn't give them anything," he added.
Lane said outspoken opponents of Ball's have used Facebook to publicly criticize Wang's because of Ball's gathering there and suggest punishing the restaurant via a boycott. He said Saturday it was too early to know whether Wang's has been detrimentally affected by such talk.
Lane was still reviewing security footage Saturday evening and said he wanted the police to investigate the vandalism.
Guy Garrett, public relations manager for Wang's, said that Saturday's vandalism means the criticism has now moved into criminal territory.
"The people that are perpetuating a complete untruth are awful," Garrett said.
Ball is a former television journalist who now sells real estate in the Coachella Valley. He is one of a few Republican candidates hoping to unseat Ruiz.
Reached by phone Saturday, Ball said he was disgusted by the vandalism and that it was unfair for anyone to assume he is against the LGBT community because he is a Republican.
He said he spoke to management at Wang's about his campaign prior to the event and that no one with Wang's has given him money or endorsed his campaign.
"As far as I'm concerned that's hatred, that's not just spray paint," he said. "I'm calling hatred and bigotry against that establishment and myself."
Ball said he was "sick and tired of being labeled as a homophobic, racist bigot because I'm running as a Republican ... My friends in this community, especially my gay friends, know that is the furthest thing from the truth."