Local News

May 5, 2014 5:51 PM

Potential Fine of $500 a Day for Political Signs

CORPUS CHRISTI - According to city ordinance, if you're not a candidate in this month's runoff election then your political sign must be taken down.

The ordinance is designed to force candidates to remove the signs within 10 days of an election. The alternative is a $500 fine for each day of violation.

Until today, a sign for a Justice of the Peace candidate Eric Cantu stood strong on the corner of Everhart and Corona. He lost the election in mid-March. At $500 a day that's a total fine of $26,500.

KRIS 6 News contacted Cantu to ask about the sign and if he knew the potential fine he was facing. A few minutes later someone showed up to remove the sign.

Corpus Christi Captain David Blackmon, who oversees Code Enforcement, says they have other eyesores to tackle that look a lot worse than a candidates face on a poster.

"We prioritize. We enforce the ordinances that are the biggest concern to the public. And right now it's the high weeds, it's the dilapidated buildings," said Capt. Blackmon.

But, you would think the high fine would be reason enough to go after the political sign violators.

"The city keeps saying I'm short on money, I'm short on money. And they're not even trying to collect all this money," says concerned citizen Jack Gordy.

Capt. Blackmon says it's not that easy. He says the city doesn't get all the money from fines it issues. When it gets to court, Blackmon says a lot of times with small violations such as political signs judges will dismiss the fine and just give a warning instead. In the end wasting taxpayer money and time.

"So actually the city is coming out ahead and saving money because we're actually using an educational aspect and some common sense involved with this," said Capt. Blackmon.

Capt. Blackmon says no fines have been issued for political signs this year.

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