Ahead of the November city elections, the La Joya city commissioners approved an ordinance regulating political signs.
The new regulations are meant to “alleviate traffic control and maintain an undisruptive election environment at city hall,” according to the ordinance which was approved during a special meeting Tuesday afternoon.
Addressing the commissioners, City Administrator Jacqueline Bazan referred to the provision in the Texas Election Code which prohibits electioneering within 100 feet of the entrance to a polling location.
Electioneering includes the posting of political signs.
“Those requirements are being put in this ordinance before you,” Bazan told the commissioners, “as well as the number of signs, where signs can be placed, things like that and it’s all in accordance with the Texas Election Code.”
Specifically, the new ordinance limits the number of signs allowed for each political slate.
At the city hall area, each slate is limited to 12 signs measuring 18 by 24 inches and two signs measuring 4 by 8 feet.
Each slate is limited to 10 signs measuring 18 by 24 inches along the right-of-way of Coyote Boulevard and 12 signs of the same size off the expressway.
No 18 wheeler trailers or semi-trailers will be allowed on city property, at election camp sites, on the right-of-way of city property by the expressway. On those areas, trucks with four by 8-foot signs on the back are also prohibited.
Additionally, each slate will have a designated camp area measuring 20 by 50 feet and will each be allowed one barbecue trailer.
It was the designation of those campsites that upset candidate Sylvia Carolina Cerda Oxford, who attended the meeting Tuesday. She said assigning the candidates a location for their campsites was a departure from what the candidates had been led to believe — that it was on first-come, first-serve basis.
In speaking with Bazan, Cerda Oxford said they were told the location of their camp would be determined by the same lottery that had been used to determine candidates’ places on the ballot.
“We were kind of upset because they told us we were going to be way out there,” Cerda Oxford said, also referring to her running mates.
However, after viewing the area outside city hall with Bazan and Mayor Jose “Fito” Salinas — who is running for re-election — Cerda Oxford said they were able to reach an agreement.
While she was eventually satisfied, Cerda Oxford said she believed city officials should have told candidates about the campsite designation to begin with.
“They should have told us at the very beginning,” she said.
The commissioners approved the ordinance by a 4-0 vote, with City Commissioner Maria Eugenia “Geny” Salinas absent from the meeting, which is effective immediately.
Early voting in the La Joya elections begins Monday, Oct. 21.