BELEN, N.M. (KRQE) – More than a year after the mayoral election in Belen, there are complaints that someone is breaking the law by refusing to take down his campaign signs. That someone is the mayor.
Robert Noblin for City of Belen Mayor – those are the campaign signs seen at the mayor’s home. They could cost the mayor a lot of money.
“In this case, he actually has decided not to take it down and it’s racked up to $20,000 worth of fines,” said City Councilor Danny Bernal. “The mayor has left his sign up for quite some time since after the 2021 election [in] which he was elected.”
Councilor Bernal is referring to Belen’s ordinance that says campaign signs can only be displayed for 30 days before an election and 10 days after. It calls for a $50 fine every day for every sign.
Belen resident and former mayor Jerah Cordova also noticed that the current mayor was violating the Campaign Signs Ordinance and created the website www.robertnoblin.com to show how much money in possible fines the mayor is racking up every day. “It adds up the amount of money he owes to the city of Belen based on how long the sign has been up and the mandatory $50 a day fine, it ticks up a cent every 17 seconds,” said Cordova.
According to Bernal, Mayor Noblin has told him he has no plans to take the sign down. “The mayor has said that one of the reasons why he hasn’t taken down the sign – it’s his First Amendment Rights,” said Bernal.
Bernal and Cordova believe that the mayor needs to lead by example. “The ultimate goal here is to get the mayor to follow the law, the City of Belen has a very clear sign ordinance,” said Cordova.
The mayor told KRQE News 13 via email: “There is no comment to be made.” We reached out to the city to see if the mayor has received any citations from code enforcement but have not heard back.
According to Belen’s campaign sign ordnance,
1. Code Enforcement Officer. The code enforcement officer shall be authorized to enforce this section by issuing notices and citations to the responsible party and/or the property owner, and shall be authorized to remove campaign signs displayed in violation of the provisions of this section.
5. Minimum Fine. Upon a finding of violation, the municipal court shall impose a mandatory minimum fine of fifty dollars ($50.00) per sign, per day. Each day of violation shall constitute a separate offense.
After the story aired, the mayor provided a statement to KRQE and said there has not been a written citation issued by the City of Belen for his campaign signs.