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Archive for Thursday, September 19, 2002

Hearing decorum

September 19, 2002

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To the editor:

I recently attended the discussion on the Lawrence Trafficway. I rarely attend these events because I quickly become frustrated with the lack of manners displayed by adults in these situations. I have very strong opinions on the trafficway and I attended the forum to listen to the viewpoints of others as well as express my own in a constructive fashion.

Many people conducted themselves in a civil manner, but there were far too many who did not. Each participant who wished to express a viewpoint was given five minutes to do so. That five minutes is available to them to use as he or she wishes. Common courtesy would dictate that rolling of the eyes, loud sighs, moans, groans or outright comments expressed by others during this five minutes is unacceptable behavior. From classrooms to boardrooms, this behavior is deemed inappropriate and immature. This also holds true in public forums.

The problem with what occurred at this hearing is that this type of behavior inherently fosters an environment of hostility and negative side-taking. By its very nature, it degrades the process of negotiation and problem-solving and makes compromise virtually impossible.

We all know that rising to speak in front of 700 people takes incredible courage. Public speaking is not a human forte and is dreaded by many. It is OK to have opinions about each speaker and the words they express. It is not OK to behave immaturely while he or she is speaking. And it is completely inappropriate, childish and disrespectful to tread on his or her right to do so. I was disappointed by this lack of professionalism demonstrated by people on BOTH sides of this issue.

Kerri Lawlor,

Lawrence

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