View Full Version : Medina supporter arrested at Watauga polling site, police say

03-02-2010, 05:02 PM
A supporter of Republican gubernatorial candidate Debra Medina was jailed Tuesday in Watauga for allegedly refusing to comply with a city ordinance that prevents campaign signs on city property.

Christopher Howe, 29, of Fort Worth was still in jail early Tuesday afternoon facing a $150 fine and court costs for the misdemeanor offense, said Det. Jason Babcock, police spokesman.

Officers were called Tuesday morning to the Watauga Community Center, an elections polling place, to investigate a complaint of someone violating the ordinance over signs, Babcock said.

The incident began at about 8:45 a.m. and concluded with Howe's arrest at about 11 a.m., Babcock said.

"He was on city property with a sign," Babcock said. "He was given a criminal trespassing warning."

Howe refused to heed the warning, "so he was arrested for violating a city ordinance," according to Babcock.

Babcock confirmed that Howe was a Medina supporter.

The ordinance, Babcock said, allows political signs on private property, with owner's permission. But, he added, it also bans signs on public property, rights of way, traffic signals and sign poles.

Steve Raborn, Tarrant County Elections Administrator said he had been told a code enforcement officer went to a polling place in Watauga to clear campaign signs.

"I did hear that police were called and there was an arrest," Raborn said.

Raborn said there may be some confusion over the rules involving campaign signs at a polling place.

While the election code says campaigning and signs are allowed further than 100 feet from a polling place, some cities have different ordinances.

Raborn said Watauga may have had an ordinance with a smaller distance limit. In those cases, it isn't clear rule which prevails, he said.

Attempts were unsuccessful early Tuesday afternoon to reach an official for the Medina campaign.

Staff writer Aman Batheja contributed to this report.


03-02-2010, 05:07 PM
Every time city ordinances like that have been challenged in court they have lost... It becomes a matter of whether the sign produces a net gain. For certain such press will turn off/on some voters...

I'll see if I can dig up some links to court cases, we went through this in Hawaii in early summer 07...

03-02-2010, 05:15 PM
I've met Mr. Howe a few times. Very active Ron Paul campaigner in DFW. Pretty straight-ahead regular guy and probably not people's image of a crazed Medina supporter. I hope he'll fight this.