CORPUS CHRISTI The executive director of the Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce confirmed Wednesday that 40 temporary workers were hired to boost attendance at a congressional redistricting hearing in McAllen, but said they werent encouraged to raise a ruckus.
Tom Niskala said he was embarrassed that members of two Corpus Christi chapters of the American GI Forum created a brouhaha that delayed the start of Tuesdays meeting. He said it reflected poorly on Corpus Christi and stressed that the paid temps had no instructions to take part in the protest.
Stomping on the floors, beating drums and shouting Shut it down, about 150 Hispanic activists drowned out early attempts by the Senate Jurisprudence Committee to hold a hearing in McAllen. Some in the crowd shouted, Whats the use? and The map is already drawn.
The Corpus Christi Caller-Times reported in Thursday editions that most of the temps ignored instructions of one of the protest organizers and didnt take part in the shouting, quoting unnamed attendees at the hearing.
Niskala said temps were hired to be at the meeting in McAllen at the behest of a Corpus Christi businessman, who said he would pay the bill because he wants the 27th Congressional District to remain intact.
The businessman, whom Niskala would not identify, wants the districts military bases represented by longtime U.S. Rep. Solomon P. Ortiz during base realignment and closure hearings, known as BRAC.
Ram Chavez, commander for the Hector P. Garcia Founders Chapter of the GI Forum, said he was unaware the temps were being sent to the meeting.
We had nothing to do with the group of people who were paid, Chavez said.
Susie Luna-Saldana, the education chairwoman for the Felix Longoria chapter of the GI Forum, also denied knowing that the temporary workers were on a bus that took people from Corpus Christi to McAllen.
If someone had the money to pay for them to go and oppose redistricting, good for them, but they had nothing to do with us.
Forum members had said before they went to McAllen that they planned civil disobedience, even if it resulted in arrest. Local GI Forum members succeeded last week in shouting down a redistricting hearing in Brownsville.
Corpus Christi had been omitted from the states itinerary for redistricting hearings.
Chamber Criticized For Facilitating Hired Help
Corpus Christi Caller Times, TX - 18 hours ago
The Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce is receiving criticism this week
for it's involvement in Monday's redistricting protest in McAllen. ...
GOP irate over busing of temps to hearing - San Antonio Express
CC Chamber's paid ralliers draw fire of Republicans - Corpus Christi Caller Times
Chamber sent temps to McAllen - Corpus Christi Caller Times
Corpus Christi Caller Times
7-4, State: Temps hired to attend hearing took part in protest
News Journal, TX - 11 hours ago
... of the Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce confirmed Wednesday that 40 temporary workers
were hired to boost attendance at a congressional redistricting hearing ...