Hidalgo mayoral candidates at odds with each other

HIDALGO — Two political factions on the council here continue to fight for control of the city with each calling for the removal of one of their opposing council members.

On the agenda for the city meeting Monday night was an item that has surfaced time and again for the past couple of months. The order of business calls for the removal of Hidalgo Mayor Martin Cepeda and Councilman Sergio Coronado.

Both men are running for the mayoral position in May, with Coronado recently announcing his challenge against Cepeda, the incumbent.

Both have their own group of supporters on the council, and they hardly see eye-to-eye. Council members Gus Sanchez and Noe Reyes typically side with Coronado, while council members Rudy Franz and Oziel Trevino support Cepeda.

Each faction routinely accuses the other of a number of infractions, from overstepping their duties to fraud to violations of the city charter.

Cepeda’s team wants Coronado to step down because they believe there is a provision on the charter that indicates any member of the council who announces he or she is running for a different elected position needs to step down from office.

Coronado supporters, however, argue the stipulation has been waived a number of times for previous members of the council, and indicate the call for his removal is politically motivated.

Coronado’s team is convinced Cepeda violated the charter last year when he took it upon himself to hire an attorney on behalf of the city to sue the opposing council members for their appointment of a municipal judge without prior approval.

Cepeda has since said he paid a portion of the attorney fees out of his own pocket, and also alluded to a political issue.

All council members participated in Monday’s meeting, but Cepeda’s team walked out before executive session could begin. During the closed-door portion of the meeting, the council was scheduled to discuss several items, including the removal of both members, an audit of the State Farm Arena and an ordinance targeting towing truck companies.

But when Cepeda, Franz and Trevino walked out, they left the meeting without a quorum, leaving everything on the table, unresolved.

Coronado’s team lamented the walk out after the meeting, and both teams are awaiting the upcoming May election.