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Election day approaching in La Joya

With Election Day slated for Tuesday, the end to a race for four seats on the La Joya City Council — and a bitter campaign for those seats — is now in sight.

As of Wednesday, 1,088 early voters had cast a ballot at the La Joya Youth Center, the town’s sole polling place.

Incumbent Mayor Isidro Casanova and the “We are La Joya” slate have run largely on a platform that touts the city’s recent achievements, describing criticism from the other side as false and a sign of desperation.

“From groundbreaking a new fire department to renovating our city park and adding lights to subdivisions, progress is underway,” a Facebook post from “We are La Joya” says. “We will not allow our opposition to tarnish our achievements and attack our hard work. Let’s rise above their negativity and embarrassing behavior. It’s time to move forward together!”

The challenger slate — “The Future of La Joya” — is fronted by Esequiel “Chuck” Garza, a sitting councilman who is running for mayor against Casanova. That slate has lobbed allegations of impropriety at current city leadership, most significantly court action that alleges electioneering ordinances are designed to suppress votes for their candidates.

“Our message has been simple,” a post from “The Future of La Joya” says. “Share the truth and share the injustices of what our current city officials are doing. They don’t like it? You should’ve been taking care of us, the residents, instead of your ‘friends’ and wallet.”

In addition to Casanova, “We are La Joya” includes Place 1 candidate Irma Veloz, Place 2 candidate Enrique “Henry” Cantu and Place 4 incumbent Laura Mendiola-Macias.

Garza’s challenger slate includes Blanca Lamar Gonzalez running for Place 4, Roel Bermea for Place 2 and Edwin Zuniga for Place 1.

Campaign finance reports show “We are La Joya” outspent their competitors in the first part of the campaign, although “The Future of La Joya” raised more money.

Campaign finance reports for the earlier part of the campaign, running through the 30th day before election day, show “We are La Joya” raised $8,900 and spent $14,815.12.

Reports for the same period show “The Future of La Joya” raised $15,025 and spent $11,603.83.

Not attracting quite as much attention in town is La Joya Independent School District’s voter approval tax rate election.

If residents pass that proposal, taxes would still decrease in the district, although they would decrease by 3.17 cents less than they would otherwise.

According to the district, keeping that 3.17 cents of taxes in place would equate to about $5 million in funding for La Joya ISD.

The district plans to use that money on student incentives and salary increases if the proposal passes.

The district is one of several in the area holding a tax rate election.

Trustees in La Joya were slated to discuss Wednesday an efficiency audit conducted in conjunction with the election.

However, the board canceled its meeting.

The district didn’t respond to a request for comment on the audit or that cancellation by press time.


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