Candidate Campaign Murals Cause Controversy
Enormous, bright and what some are calling an eyesore.
Political signs are painted on walls and posted in the ground throughout the city of Laredo; some signs are years old.
Ordinances regarding removal of paper and plastic signs are in effect but nothing regarding the wall paintings.
Jorge Vera, Dist. VII Councilmember: "When they paint the whole wall, talking about maybe half a block, you know, it tends to make Laredo look a little...ugly…"
Carlos Villarreal, City Manager: "It started kind of on a smaller scale, but it proceeded. Some of those signs are larger than billboards."
The paintings are different from the signs on the ground.
These walls are owned by private citizens and some City Councilmembers are concerned an ordinance against it would infringe on the citizens' rights.
But City Attorney Raul Casso said as long as all paintings are prohibited, rights would not be taken away.
"Not if we stay content neutral, in otherwise, the regulation of the sign has to be done without irrespective of what it may say. So we're not focusing on what the sign says but we're regulating where they may be placed to keep the city in order and keep it beautiful."
This would include art paintings, but the council agrees they want this ordinance to be in residential areas only.
But Dist. III Councilman Alejandro Perez said if the paintings are banned, candidates will find ways to get around the ordinance.
"Instead of the painted sign, I can go and make a 50-foot banner and it put it up instead of the painted signs. So it's going to be the same thing."
The council agreed to have the City Attorney draft an ordinance to vote on in the future.
City leaders said this ordinance will not help with the 2012 elections, but would go into affect for the future.