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Virtual debate is wrong setting

Editor, OBSERVER:

I have given formal presentations on ophthalmology and vision science in North America and Europe over 47 years.

I have attended Meet the Candidates events of the League of Women Voters of Chautauqua County annually from 2001 through 2019. I have appeared at these events as a candidate in 2004 and 2018. These have involved presentations and dialogues among competing candidates sitting side-by-side on a dais. I always appreciated the League’s strong moderation and technical expertise which permitted voters to see the abilities and positions of the candidates.

I have been invited to appear as a candidate for Fredonia Village Trustee in a Virtual Meet-the-Candidates event on Wednesday. I have been requested to provide my own microphone and video camera linked to my personal computer and network access. I do not have such a microphone or video camera.

Video cameras embedded into laptop personal computers have lenses with very short focal lengths. Such cameras produce distorted images.

Furthermore, Professor Anna Cox of University College London asserts: “When we’re in a group, we make eye contact and we use our body language to signal that we want to say something, and other people are able to pick up on that. But when we’re not together, we can’t share the information in the same way.” Professor Cox was quoted by Victoria Turk writing her article, “How the coronavirus is changing digital etiquette/” (New York Times, June 3).

For these two reasons, I am declining my invitation to appear in the 2021 Meet the Candidate event, and I advise my fellow candidates to do the same.

MICHAEL C. BARRIS, Ph.D.,

Fredonia

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