County to Woman: No More Cartwheels at Meetings

'It's a safety issue,' officials say

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 4, 2014 2:23 AM CDT | Updated Jun 8, 2014 7:03 AM CDT

(Newser) – A Phoenix woman says she has received an "intimidating, threatening, and defaming" letter ordering her to stop performing cartwheels at local government meetings. The letter to Dianne Barker from the Maricopa Association of Governments planning agency states that she has "from time to time suggested that MAG cannot prevent you from performing cartwheels during your comments. That position is incorrect." Barker says she performs gymnastics to highlight the benefits of walking and using public transit, but officials say the cartwheels are disruptive and could result in injury to Barker or other people.

The chief of the agency's regional council says Barker's cartwheels are like nothing he has ever seen at a public meeting before. "It's not my intention to shut down public comment at all," he tells the Arizona Republic. "It was just really a safety issue, a liability issue for the attorneys." The minutes of a 2012 meeting of the council state that Barker told the meeting she had met Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor at an event, asked her what would happen if she performed cartwheels in her courtroom, and was told, "Just do it and see what they say."

  (Shutterstock)
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