(Tim Riker) - I was a little disappointed with one of the supporters of AB 2072 who testified because his voice was unintelligible. If he had known ASL and used an interpreter, perhaps the audience would have understood everything he said and Senator Alquist wouldn't have interrupted him several times. Maybe his parents were misinformed or information about ASL was withheld by the audiologists, physicians, and his private oral school. I can see why they would withhold or distort this information; it would negatively impact their cash flow. We can't turn back time to correct this egregious mistake, but it's not too late to learn ASL and there are many in the Deaf community who will welcome and support him.Since Tim Riker didn't say exactly who but there is only one man who used his voice and supported the AB2027 bill in the video recording of the meeting and that was John Fortius, a volunteer deputy district attorney in Stanislaus County. Tim Riker can only be talking about John Fortius. There can be no other person he could be talking about except John Fortius.
What is galling and irresponsible for Tim Riker is to criticize without any merit saying that John Fortius' (profoundly deaf since birth) speech was "unintelligble." Tim Riker's comment was done in poor taste. It was rather unprofessional for Tim Riker to use his position as chapter president of CAD to go after another deaf man for using his voice when in fact he also used his voice on that same day as well. It is rather an unsavory move for him to use his position to try and convince many others of that false claim in order to push his ASL agenda and lob a few conspiracy bombs about audiologists while he's at it.
Tim, I can tell you for a fact that John Fortius' speech was indeed intelligible and was understood for perhaps 98% to 99% of his speech. Mind the fact that were two unofficial transcripts (see below) that recorded all of his speech that day. Also, one ASL interperter was able to interpret what he said as seen in the video starting at 20:48. I was able to understand most of his speech just by listening to the recorded video. And he spoke fine to me. There is no need to get into details on how his voice sounded like which is, of course, not like what a hearing person's speech would sound like. His speech was "unintelligble" only to Tim Riker who is deaf and uses a hearing aid. Perhaps he should consider the fact about his own hearing loss and the limitation of how he can discriminate another person's speech? Perhaps he could not understand John Fortius' speech because he has a deep voice? Tim Riker needs to understand that some deaf/hh people are able to hear better when people's voices are in the higher frequency range than lower ones like men's voices. Or vice versa. Or that some deaf/hh people can hear very well in both the higher and lower frequency range of a person's voice. In this case, it was only Tim Riker who could not understand him while everybody else could to one degree or another.
Secondly, Senator Alquist did not interrupt John Fortius "several times" as Tim Riker tried to put it. In fact, she only interrupted him once to ask him to speak from his heart and not look at his notes. That can be seen in the video. You can also see that in the transcript, too. How disengenuous of Tim Riker to say those things in order to push his ASL agenda while as chapter president of CAD, no less. He even contributed to a heavily biased "eugenics" article called California Eugenics-Style Bill Creates Uproar Among the Deaf Community. Anything to do to push an agenda, eh? Kick another deaf man down for using his voice and then try and prop him up saying that the Deaf community would welcome him?
Here's the unofficial transcript below and in the video John Fortius begins to talk at 20:48:
JOHN FORTIUS: Good afternoon, my name is John Fortius, I am 32 years old, and I have been profoundly deaf since birth. I’m here today in support of this bill. At a young age, when my Mom found out that I had lost my hearing, she decided that she was going to do the oral-auditory approach, and this in part because she had prior training to my birth, she had a speech pathologist. As a result of her guidance and some education through oral-auditory school, I was mainstreamed in preschool and on. Some of my [accomplishments] since then, is I was an honor roll throughout high school, I was a sport athlete and captain, graduated with honors from Williamette University in Salem, Oregon. Was a college football player, and just a year ago, I recently graduated from law school. And continuously, from the time that I graduated from college, I’ve been continuously employed when not in school. Just most recently I have been working as a deputy district attorney in Stanislaus County as a volunteer. Currently–This transcript follows almost exactly in another unofficial transcript as well which goes to show that John Fortius' speech was indeed quite intelligible that day.
SEN. ALQUIST: And why are you supportive of the bill?
FORTIUS: Why am I supportive of the bill?
SEN. ALQUIST: Yes, that’s why you’re speaking now.
FORTIUS: It gives people an opportunity–a chance to [pause] have, potentially, a more, what I believe would be a more [unintelligible] life. It would allow them to be just like anyone else. I’m the first to admit, I am not–I’m going off my speech–I’m the first to admit that I am not part of the Deaf Community. I have–I don’t associate with it, but I am an advocate of you know, just the best thing–the best course of action, whatever that might be–for disabled people. And so that is a big part of why I’m here today. And–
SEN. ALQUIST: Just speak to me.
FORTIUS: What’s that?
SEN. ALQUIST: I like what you’re saying. Don’t look at your notes. Just–why are you supportive of the bill?
FORTIUS: OK, basically, what I’m getting from, is when we’re faced with such an important decision in our lives, when is not being fully informed the best solution? And it’s logical, it’s common sense, and I believe seriously that being fully informed in any big decision in your life is very important, and so that is a big reason of why I’m here today in support of this bill.
SEN. ALQUIST: Thank you very much.
FORTIUS: Thank you.
My advice to you Tim Riker? Leave out your business of criticizing other deaf or hard of hearing people's speech and their choices to use them or not. Not doing so will make you look bad as chapter president of CAD.
And lastly, Tim Riker complained that I used his name without permission of which I find humorous.
Next, this blog is offensive to Deaf people and my name was used without my permission.No permission is required or needed in this case. Tim Riker gave his name and spoke at the June 23, 2010 AB2072 Senate Health hearing which was captured and recorded on video for the public made possible by California taxpayers. This means that the mentioning of his name in that video and what he said are now a matter of public record and for public consumption. What I did was copy the verbatim part of Tim Riker's comment in one of the transcripts. It's all part of the public record, Tim. No permission is required.
I support both John Fortius and Tim Riker's use of their voices regardless of the situation when there are interpreters available. I'm not in the position to criticize other deaf/hh people choice's to use their voice or sign using ASL or SEE (or whatever). The important point here is that deaf/hh people have the right to decide which methods to use to communicate. For Tim Riker to criticize another deaf man's use of his voice is a serious step back on CAD's own credibility as an organization. This time, I and many others doubt Tim Riker's sincerity after he criticized and demeaned John Fortius by saying this:
...there are many in the Deaf community who will welcome and support himReally, Tim? After what you have done so far? Unity for whom now?