Woman banned from doing cartwheels at public meetings

PHOENIX, Ariz. (KPHO) — Maricopa County officials have told a Phoenix woman to put a stop to her acrobatic routine at public hearings.

Diane “DD” Barker recently attended a Maricopa Association of Governments meeting where she showed off her gymnastics skills prior to addressing county officials during a public hearing.

“I was in shorts, appropriately dressed,” said Barker, 65. “I was not near anybody that they could get hurt. I did a cartwheel and I did a split, too. They don’t talk about the splits. I got up.”

The community activist gave CBS 5 a demonstration outside her Phoenix condo.

Barker said that her personal expression was a way to show the benefits of riding her bicycle, exercise and using public transportation.

The fact she used to be an Ohio State cheerleader certainly helped.

But despite the positive response she’s received from the community. county officials weren’t happy with the cartwheel and sent the former teacher a letter demanding she stop the stunt.

The letter read in part:

“Public bodies may impose reasonable time, place and manner restrictions on speakers and the request that you not perform cartwheels is a reasonable and permitted restriction.

“Not following the rules may result in the Chair revoking your request to speak at the meeting.”

CBS 5 asked Barker if she planned to honor the letter.

“Well, it’s disappointing,” said Barker. “But I feel there’s no reason for me to go try and prove I have an ego and I’m right or wrong to do it again.”

Barker had done cartwheels in the past and was told to stop because of concerns she might hurt somebody or hurt herself.

Barker said she does the cartwheel away from everyone and is perfectly willing to sign a waiver.

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