After Rep. Katie Hill held a town hall Saturday, one attendee posted his disgust on Facebook.
“I recently shared a live feed from a town hall meeting with Representative Katie Hill. I wish I hadn’t,” Phil Gussin wrote.
He detailed why: People booed a Valencia High teen when she tried to read a question. They booed when someone said Michelle Obama’s name. They shouted and interrupted Hill when she spoke.
“The display of ignorance and intolerance did not reflect well on the community. We — and I’m including myself — are better than that. Much better,” Gussin concluded.
Hill (D-Agua Dulce) held the town hall at Santa Clarita City Hall to talk about her first 100 days and take questions from constituents. In a nearly three-minute video she posted on Facebook afterward, Hill blamed the commotion on “eight or 10 people who were unfortunately very loud and disruptive and made the experience pretty unpleasant for a lot of the others there.”
Hill Communications Director Kassie King said she knew the most disruptive were from outside the 25th congressional district because when they registered to attend, they were required to give their zip code. Also, King said, “We have video footage and we can match those individuals with other public behavior. We know who they are.”
This isn’t the first time district town hall meetings have become disruptive. Former Rep. Steve Knight dealt with boos several times, including after he voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Gussin wrote that people considered the actions as payback for when Knight took gruff.
“Here’s the problem with that ‘reasoning.’ As far as I know, Rep. Hill never condoned that kind of behavior,” he wrote. “Throughout the campaign, she repeatedly expressed her respect for Rep. Knight despite strong policy disagreements.”
Hill said the importance of hearing from constituents, whether they agree with her or not, remains paramount, so she’s trying to figure out how to hold future ones while limiting disruptions. Her Facebook video mentions such possible formats as one where people talk (or yell) and she listens, or a court-like format where one topic would bring out opposing viewpoints.
King said they have considered asking for proof of residency and barring people who don’t live in the district, but nothing has been decided.
“We’re figuring out the best path forward based on recommendations from other offices, based on recommendations from others who have done this before or who have gone through this before,” she said.