The Woodlands, April 22 – Joanne Berndt committed criminal trespass and theft of political signs advertising against the Conroe Independent School District’s $807 million bond and tax hike from her neighbor’s front yard at least twice on April 20 and 21, 2019, as caught on video footage from a security camera at her neighbor’s home in Carlton Woods, The Woodlands. Berndt lives at 7 Bunnelle Way, The Woodlands, Carlton Woods, The Woodlands, Texas 77382, and describes herself as “innovative, creative, and a free thinker.” Apparently, Berndt believes her free thinking allows her to break the law when she feels the urge.
The Woodlands Covenants permit the Development Standards Committee (DSC) to adopt sign covenants. The DSC standard provides:
“One political election sign promoting a candidate for each office or issue on the political election or nongovernmental election ballot may be placed by an owner of a lot on his or her lot beginning the 90thday preceding the day of the political election or nongovernmental election and must be removed within 10 days following the day of the political election or nongovernmental election.”
Even if The Woodlands Township or the DSC tried to prohibit political signs, they could not legally do so, because Texas Property Code Section 202.009 forbids a homeowners’ association from enforcing or adopting restrictive covenants that prohibit property owners from displaying political signs on the property owners’ property during the period from 90 days before an election to which the sign relates until 10 days after the election is over.
Under Texas law, according to former Harris County Attorney Mike Anderson, it is unlawful to “steal, willfully deface, mutilate or destroy any campaign yard sign on private property.” The crime is punishable by a fine up to $2,500, up to a year in jail or a combination of both. The offenses are criminal mischief, theft, and criminal trespass.
Berndt admitted to The Golden Hammer yesterday afternoon, “Yes, I stole the signs yesterday and again today.” “I don’t like them,” Berndt said.
Berndt stole the first sign on Saturday, April 20, and the second during the morning of Easter Sunday. The homeowner, on whose property the signs – and video camera – were located, intends to file criminal charges against Berndt early this week.
Conroe ISD has, so far, run its pro-bond-advocacy campaign utilizing public resources, including tax dollars, against the citizens’ interests. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the school district has engendered a lawless attitude that its allies are above the law.