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The old adage: "Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics," popularized by Mark Twain seems appropriate after reviewing the Bella Vista POA study regarding the new Community Center. It claims that 62.34 percent of respondents support building a new Community Center. However, when the results are examined more closely, they are not quite as impressive. The Community Center Survey was sent to 19,000 email addresses, and 2,564 (13 percent) responded.

Question #2 addressed Recreational Amenities used during the past 12 months, interestingly the gun range, lakes and golf courses were not listed. There were a variety of responses regarding usage, but 479 (19.09 percent) were None or Other.

Question #3 asked how many lived in the household. It noted most respondents answered two. Then it states, "Although not statistically accurate, the number of families with 3-plus individuals are positively for the Community Center." It seems disingenuous to infer that, because the families with 3-plus were positively for the Center, there is wide member support for it.

Question #5 asked if you supported building a new Community Center? 700 respondents did not reply, (27.7 percent) of the total. Of the remainder, 1,097 (62.34 percent) voted yes, and 663 (37.66 percent) voted no. Although it was accurate to claim the majority of those answering the question supported the Center, it's a grave mistake to believe there is overwhelming member support for the Center. Had the survey included the price tag reported to be more than 14 million dollars, that an assessment increase is required and Riordan Hall would be demolished, the numbers may have been quite different.

Question #6 listed the top five activities for the new Community Center -- fitness center with cardio, indoor pool, meeting rooms, indoor track/aerobics studio, and community lounge. I have been in Riordan a couple of times, it already has a fitness center and meeting rooms. Plug in a coffee pot and a soda machine and, presto, a community lounge.

Question #7 "Other activity areas not listed" -- bike parking, racquetball, and free WIFI. Two of the three are relatively cheap.

Of the 19,000 surveys sent out, only 1,097 (5.7 percent) voted for the new Center. Based on that meager number, Tom Judson (T.J.) and the board believe they have a mandate to spend tens of thousands more than they already have for the design of Taj Mahal 4.0. They have the wind at their back, their sails are full, damn the torpedoes.

Surveys/polls can and frequently are constructed to validate whatever results you want, hence "Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics." T.J. and the board need be honest with the POA members and commission a new survey. Include the projected cost, the need for an assessment increase and tearing down Riordan. T.J. must be damn certain he has funding for the Center before spending one more dime.

For considerably less, Riordan can be remodeled and expanded to include most of the new amenities T.J. believes we cannot live without.

William King,

Bella Vista

Editorial on 09/05/2018

Print Headline: Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

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