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Arizona Woman Banned From Cartwheeling At Government Meetings

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Dianne Barker, 65, has been banned from doing cartwheels at public meetings in Phoenix, Arizona
Dianne Barker, 65, has been banned from doing cartwheels at public meetings in Phoenix, Arizona

A former cheerleader living in Phoenix isn't so cheerful after being banned from cartwheeling at government meetings.

Dianne Barker, 65, is an advocate for promoting travel without using a car.

As such, this former Ohio State cheerleader often speaks at public meetings for the Maricopa Association of Governments, where -- for a little extra spark -- she ends her comments by cartwheeling in front of the officials.

"I think that the cartwheel is something I found out that I could do that is enjoyable, and it definitely expresses my passion," Barker told MyFoxPhoenix.

DD, as she's called, is a supporter of multimodal traveling, which promotes travel without a car. The cartwheels are her way of showing the benefits of a healthy lifestyle that emphasizes walking over automotive travel.

It also makes her cause stick out among many others competing for attention from the officials.

"At the end I said you know something you need to have passion in what you're doing rather than 3 minutes and here's your lobotomy," she told the station.

But not anymore.

MAG officials recently sent Barker a letter asking that she no longer cartwheel during their meetings.

It's not that they hate 65-year-old women who can still do the splits. Officials said the cartwheeling disrupts the meetings and poses a risk of injuries to others, AZCentral.com reports.

Barker has previously defended her cartwheeling as free speech, but Fredda J. Bisman, the lawyer representing MAG, said succinctly in the letter: "That position is incorrect."

Barker said the letter from MAG was "intimidating, threatening, and defaming" and claims it is part of the city’s unfriendly approach to citizen input, but MAG director Michael LeVault disagrees.

"It's not my intention to shut down public comment at all," he said, according to KRMG.com. “It was really a safety issue, a liability issue for the attorneys."

Barker has decided she can't fight City Hall -- or the Maricopa Association of Governments -- so she promises not to cartwheel at any more MAG meetings.

Instead, she's currently working on learning to do a backflip.

READ: Letter to Dianne Barker Banning Her Cart Wheels

MAG attorney letter by azcentraldocs


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