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Katie Hill Town Hall Disrupted by Unruly Attendees

| News | May 2, 2019

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.”

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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.

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About Lee Barnathan

Lee Barnathan has been a writer and editor since 1990. His articles have been published in newspapers, magazines and online. His new book "If You Experience Death, Please Call and Other Fatal Mistakes We Make With Language," a humorous look at the ways people misuse English, is available on Amazon or at his website, www.leebarnathan.com. He is hired by people all over the country to help them refine the message or story they wish to share with their target audience or demographic.

3 Responses to “Katie Hill Town Hall Disrupted by Unruly Attendees”

  1. Greg Aprahamian on May 2, 2019 @ 6:52 pm

    Is this journalism or is this an opinion piece?
    I can’t really tell?

    Because if this is suppose to be journalism, it’s probably a new record low for shoddy journalism.
    I just checked out Phil Gussin’s profile on Facebook and he’s a huge Katie Hill Supporter.
    So if this is suppose to be journalism, the Gazette has only quoted a Katie Hill supporter and a Katie Hill staff member about the town hall.

    That is a pathetic excuse for journalism.

    I guess according to the Gazette the only opinions on the town hall that matter are Katie Hill supporters and staff members. That’s not just bad journalism, it’s also kind of creepy.

    I use to think the Gazette was kind of a cool alternative source for news in Santa Clarita, but I guess I was either wrong, or it’s changed.

    Sad to see this poor excuse for journalism.

  2. Robin Hvidston on May 3, 2019 @ 4:32 am

    If I recall, when Steven Knight was protested at his town halls, the media gave the protesters a voice and presented their issues. NOW when Katie Hill is protested at a town hall all of sudden she paints herself as a victim. I guess turn about is not fair play.

    At any rate, people are fed up and angry out in the real world. Katie Hill seems to not understand.

    It is particularly disturbing to read that Katie Hill’s staff said, “We have video footage and we can match those individuals with other public behavior. We know who they are.” WHAT does that mean?

    Katie Hill and the local press need to settle down. This was just a town hall

  3. Remember when Katie Hill and her noisy supporters crashed Rep. Steve Knight’s townhall meetings?? She has a lot of nerve and she has done nothing in her 100 days.

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