Local attorney challenges county park accessibility after surfers ticketed

By Gaige Davila
editor@portisabelsouthpadre.com

Local surfers and their attorney are questioning their recent citations for surfing at Isla Blanca Park after noting several RVs were still renting inside the Cameron County beach park. 

Stuart Diamond, an attorney on South Padre Island, is representing 13 people who were ticketed by Cameron County Parks Rangers on July 24 after surfing at Isla Blanca Park during the swell that developed a few days before Hurricane Hanna’s landfall.

Diamond said Cameron County Park Rangers waited at the 13 surfers’ vehicles parked at Chapel by the Sea, just next to the Isla Blanca Park access, Diamond said. 

Diamond has entered not guilty pleas for the 13 surfers and has requested a jury trial. 

Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño Jr. ordered all county parks and beach accesses to be closed temporarily from June 30 to July 13, then extended their closure through subsequent emergency management orders. RV campers, however, were able to rent at Isla Blanca Park and Andy Bowie Park, which are now closed indefinitely.

Diamond says this is a privatization of a public park. 

“If the park is closed (to the public), why are the RVs allowed?” Diamond said. “If the park’s closed, the RVs have to go. The RVs are violating the emergency order, there is no exception.” 

Tommy Saenz, a South Padre Island resident, was one of the surfers ticketed.

“The issue that I have about this whole thing is that there was no sign posted,” Saenz said. “As soon as we got our tickets, within thirty minutes, they put a roadblock sign saying you cannot walk on the property.” 

He continued,”We’ve been doing this forever, they never said we couldn’t walk through (Isla Blanca Park).”

Saenz said the officers had a new court order to issue a prohibition for walking through Isla Blanca Park but it wasn’t supposed to take effect until 2 p.m. that day. Saenz was ticketed at 10:45 a.m. 

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.portisabelsouthpadre.com/2020/09/04/local-attorney-challenges-county-park-accessibility-after-surfers-ticketed/

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