Diane Zimmerman | Look This Way!

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

Re: William S. Hart Union High School District board meeting, July 19. 

There has always been one podium and one microphone for speakers who are addressing the Hart board at public meetings, positioned off to the left, facing the board at an angle, so the audience feels included. Each of the speakers doing presentations spoke at the podium. Up until tonight, the public speakers used that same podium and microphone. The podium made it nice to include said audience, spread papers, rest hands, etc. 

At the meeting tonight there was a “stand-alone” microphone right in the center facing the board members so the public speakers’ backs were to the audience. Sort of like an orchestra leader is positioned.  

We, the public speakers, were confused as to why the separation. 

So, at my last “riveting” public speaking moment, I asked Mr. (Superintendent Mike) Kuhlman — paraphrasing here: “Why the separate setup with no podium for public comments?” 

Mr. Kuhlman: “Because you need to be facing US and speaking directly to US, not the audience.” 

Since I am one of those who sometimes turns to include or speak to the audience, I replied something like, “Oh you mean like ME!” 

He indicated, “Yes”! 

Not only is it extremely rude to have us positioned with our full backs toward the audience but also it is a very cheap shot aimed at both the public speakers and the audience. 

May I suggest to Mr. Kuhlman and the rest of the board members that if we felt as if they were actually “listening” to us when we speak, we would probably not feel the need to turn to the audience so often. And never should we be told that we can not include the audience with a hand gesture or a look in their direction. 

And this is a group of adults who got voted in to their positions to make sure our children get the best education possible? 

Diane Zimmerman 

 Santa Clarita

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