Tensions rise over removed campaign signs in Hidalgo

Some call it small town politics, but it is causing a big headache in the run-up to the city's municipal elections on May 12.

On February 21st John David Franz announced he was stepping down as mayor of Hidalgo, after 22 years in office.

But quarreling between two main coalitions, Concerned Citizens of Hidalgo and Community United, is marring the campaign to elect his predecessor and three council seats.

"We don TMt want to force anybody, Dan Dillard, current councilman for Place 5 said. It TMs a free vote for everybody and a free country; anybody can run. We have several candidates.

Dillard is seeking re-election for his current seat.

His name is splashed across campaign signs in the city, but recently police received reports of people removing the signs.

But his signs are not the only targets.

Mayor Pro Tem Alvin Samano, who is running for mayor with a rival coalition, has also had his signs removed.

Hidalgo Chief of Police Vernon Rosser said he has received complaints from both groups.

"We understand people are being called and in some cases their even being threatened with their jobs," he said.

Chief Rosser added that he fears the tension between Concerned Citizens of Hidalgo and Community United will escalate into physical violence.

If they happen to record these threats or if they have some witnesses to the threats, they need to bring them to our attention, he advised.

But so far, most of the complaints have been limited to signs disappearing.

Chief Rosser said anyone caught removing campaign signs can be charged with theft and even criminal trespassing.

Dillard asked his supporters to respect others' signs.

"I don TMt want them to remove any sign unless it TMs by the permission of the owner of the property," he added.

Action 4 News reached out to Alvin Samano for comment on behalf on Community United, but repeated calls went unanswered on Saturday.