Thursday, April 19, 2007

Polls, Apathy, Etc...

I read an article today in the Columbian regarding the the release of poll results pertaining to Clark County and how the citizens feel about subject like county government, greatest concerns, quality of life, etc... I wish there had been more data, or at least information telling the reader how they could view the full content and results of the poll. Unfortunately, the mediocre quality of journalism, typical of the Columbian, didn't give the reader anything but a superficial glimpse of the story with no way to learn anything more about the subject matter.

The results sounded quite optimistic and in many cases had improved since a similar poll was done in 2003.

A surprising result was that although concerns about growth and sprawl topped the list, the percentage of people who chose growth/sprawl as their greatest concern has dropped. Of course there is no way to know if that improvement might be related to a percentage of those polled being from areas already plagued by poor growth management and unchecked suburban sprawl...S. California, Phoenix, Atlanta, Houston...I've met an awful lot of folks from these regions who have moved to our county recently. I'm sure that compared to where they used to live, this is paradise.

The most disappointing poll result actually had nothing to do with any of the questions from the poll. It had to do with the pathetic number of poll returns. Only 877 people out of 5000. For shame, Clark County! Surely we can do better than that. For once, the County is actually asking our opinion. They apparently want to know how we feel about things. It's very disappointing to read that although people who were selected to participate in the poll were given a postage paid envelope to facilitate the return of their poll, only 17.5% of those selected took advantage of this opportunity. Our apathy will only lead to more unfavorable, uncontested policy making by our county officials unless we put forth the minute amount of effort it takes to let them know how we feel about issues.

I'll end this nonsense with a parting quote from the Simpsons. A TV show that I personally feel is chock full of priceless, philosophical nuggets.

"Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true."
-Homer Simpson


  1. Another way to say what Homer said is, "Figures never lie, but liars figure." I heard it from my Daddy, but I'm sure he was quoting some one. And I think there was lots of figuring going on in the county's Ag Viability study.

  2. Your daddy was my kind of guy, Jim. Anyone who quotes Samuel Clemens is good people in my book...