With early voting opening up only two days from now and election day a mere two weeks away, tensions brought about by political differences have been spilling over in communities across America. Such is the case in Katy, Texas, where a family of Beto O’Rourke supporters is embroiled in a battle to keep their candidate represented boldly across their lawn.
In a conversation with Newsweek on Saturday, October 20, Shannon Bennett accused parties overseeing her neighborhood home owner’s association of “enforcing the laws selectively” due to “personal bias.”
Bennett and her U.S. Marine vet husband have spent the better part of a week resisting orders to wash the word “BETO” off of their front yard. Just days prior to her interview with the national publication, the 48-year-old mother-of-four told the Houston Chronicle that their property was one of only two in all of Chesterfield that — amidst a sea of Sen. Ted Cruz signs — is equally showcasing support for O’Rourke. Hence, Bennett believes the issue boils down to an attempt by the HOA to subvert the visibility of the Democratic hopeful’s movement.
“We researched this very carefully before we did it and I don’t believe that we’re violating any of the deed restrictions,” Bennett told the Chronicle.
— DFW for Beto (@DFWforBeto) October 16, 2018
Representatives from the Chesterfield Community Association and their Real Manage management company have begged to differ.
Steve Jordan, the chief risk officer at Real Manage, defends CCA president Nicolas Jessett’s decision to demand that the grass is restored to its original state in compliance with one of the community’s landscaping ordinances. And he challenges the notion that the Bennett family’s sign is protected under the greater laws of the state, pointing to how Section 202.009 of the Texas Property Code establishes that such signage “cannot be larger than four feet by six feet.”
“This is not a violation for them placing a political sign; it’s the type of signage that they’ve actually placed on their property being an extremely large painting on the actual grass of their front yard,” Jordan told the Houston Chronicle.
Jordan acknowledges that Jessett immediately contacted him to insist that the Bennetts be issued a notice warning them of a possible infraction. A letter was then promptly sent out to order that she remove the sign within five days.
The Bennetts, however, have decided that they will stand their ground. They contest the letter’s characterization of HOA president Jessett’s arrival at their doorstep while they were creating the display to have constituted a “routine visit,” and believe that on the heels of being confronted by several others, they were being harassed.
Mrs. Bennett confirms that she has filed an appeal and is looking ahead to present her case before the association’s five-member board.