With an ear to the ground, as a blogger in support of the re-election of Senator John Cornyn, I have a disturbing story from eye witnesses to tell. Last Friday night, Rick Noriega was holding a campaign event in Laredo. The setting was the Casablanca Ballroom and two Cornyn campaign interns went to track the event, a standard campaign tactic in all campaigns today.
Keep in mind that Noriega has a reputation for possessing a quick temper and has previously shown this trait as he stormed the dais in a previous session and allegedly shoved a female legislator in the process. He is reported to have told his wife to hush when she was giving informed input to a conversation, more than once, and was given a friendly tip by that magazine that he may be in need of a refresher from candidate boot camp.
Noreiga's claim to legislative heft is the Dream Act passed in Texas in 2001, giving Texas born children of the undocumented residents in the state the right to in-state tuition rates and financial aid for college education.
As the event was warming up, many in the ballroom were taking photos and videos with digital cameras. The Cornyn interns did so, too. The Mayor of Laredo was speaking when they shot a video snippet as others present were doing. This is when the pace quickened for the interns.
A Noriega staffer walked up to them and told the interns to follow him. They went to a security guard who asked if they took video. The interns said yes. The security guard claimed that he had given entrants instructions of "no videotaping". Actually, what he said was "no video cameras" and the interns did, in fact, leave their video camera behind as they entered the ballroom. They brought in their still camera. Again, many of the attendees were taking pictures and videos of the event.
The two interns were asked to leave the building. They did. While in their car, the same Noriega staffer and guard approached the car and told them to get out. They asked one intern if the camera was his. No, was his response, it is property of the Cornyn campaign. Next they were told to delete the video and the staffer and guard said they needed to see the camera. One intern was asked for ID. He gave them his passport. The staffer and guard left at this point.
A Noriega staffer was making a phone call as he crossed the parking lot. A crowd of 10 people followed. One Noriega staffer was videotaping with his own camera. Another Noriega staffer began ranting and cursing at the interns in a threatening way. The staffer and guard told the interns they could be arrested for videotaping. Again stating that the guard told them "no video cameras" the Noriega staffer and guard denied it again. Again the interns were told to leave - as they were stopped from doing a short while before - or they would be arrested for trespassing. The staffers and guard took the camera saying it was 'stolen property' from the Cornyn campaign and insisted an official representative from the Cornyn campaign retrieve the camera as the only way to get it back.
Again the interns were told to leave or be arrested. The interns left.
When the camera was retrieved from the security company the next morning two things were apparent - 1. The Noriega campaign had seriously deliberated over whether to break the Cornyn campaign's camera and 2. The Noriega campaign had removed the camera's memory card and they still have this campaign property at the time of this posting.
This thugish behavior from the same campaign that sent a campaign aide posing as a blogger and using a false name to Cornyn staffers while seeking a copy of the senator's public schedule.
Hey, where's Rick Noreiga from anyway? Chicago?