Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Shine That Light

Sometimes I look at local blogs and just have to wonder. Over at EOD, a lot of discussion takes place about beach nourishment (mostly anti), which is fine. A lot more discussion occurs, however, from the writer and readers who post comments on the blog about how other writers are slanted in their approach, or refuse to expose both sides. Click on the image and read the comments from the author that appear below.

Interestingly, this graphic appears on the right hand side of EOD's blog site. Note the comments below the graph and the parts of the graph marked in red by the EOD editor.

Now, click below to see the mentioned survey in greater detail

Now, let's talk about sunlight, disinfectant, and fair coverage.

EOD draws our attention to the fact there were 1338 respondents, and only 55 listed beach nourishment as important. Sounds pretty scant. Yet, he fails to point out the numbers at the top of the survey: 172. That was the number of respondents choosing the top answers to the question--- and there was a tie between affordable/workforce housing and replacing the Bonner Bridge. So even the two number 1 questions garnered only 12.8% each of the total respondents votes. Aside from the fact respondent answers were all over the board, the fact of the matter is, not a single question came close to collecting a significant level of support. If we take EOD at its word, that the raw numbers speak truth, then we must also conclude Dare County residents don't care about affordable housing, replacing the bridge to Hatteras, more beach accesses, or even property taxes (5.6% of the respondents), another issue EOD seems to believe should have the entire population fired up.

In fact, beach nourishment support ranked 9th among the 37 total possible answers, which placed support in the top 25% of the respondents concern. Indeed, support for nourishment bested traffic congestion, traffic infrastructure needs, schools, and drug and alchohol abuse.

Another red mark missing from EOD's graphic is a red mark around the number of the 1338 respondents who checked off "No beach nourishment". I'll give EOD the benefit on the doubt that these were people who opposed beach noruishment since the other question, answered by 55 people, clearly says "Beach nourishment-support". So, while only 55 supported, only 17 voted no. That's 1.2% of the total, and 70% fewer than those who expressed support.

The reality, of course, is that this survey says nothing about anything. There are far too few respondents (over 700 skipped the question altogether), and far too many choices for anyone to glean one single insight into what the survehy takers thought important. Even I can't believe beach nourishment support outranks traffic problems.

That is the only conclusion any balanced assessment of this survey could muster. But, if we are going to claim these numbers mean something, then it is only fair to point out to the readers all of the facts; the small number of supporters for any possible answer to the question relative to the sample size, the actual ranking of beach nourishment support relative to all the possible answers, and the incredibly low number of respondents and even lower ranking of those opposed to nourishment.

Light is a great disenfectant, but it all depends upon where one shines it. Or, in this case, doesn't.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Greystone Project--"Piping Mad"


Clink on the link for a short video from the Greystone Project. I have not been able to discover much about this group, but according to their Facebook page, they are planning a national roll out of a full length documentary "Weathering the Storm" regarding the actions of environmental groups and Federal judge Terrence Boyle.

This short mini-documentary is being circulated as a teaser. It's quite compelling, but I will have to reserve final judgment when the full-length version is released. I am not sure if the numbers cited by business owners were as bad in 2010 as they were whenever this video was shot. Likewise, I am not convinced all of the shots of local businesses 'for sale' or 'closed' are directly related to the plover issue and the closures.

On the other hand, the entire debate is not really about economics, in spite of some web sites, message threads, and even blogger attempts to make it so. It has more to do with the politicization of science, the incestuous relationship between government agencies and those self-same scientists, wise use of our tax dollars, the actual benefit to the plover after all is said and done.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Dare County Orders Mandatory In-Vacuation

With skies expected to clear by late Friday, Dare County authorities have ordered tourists forced to evacuate on Wednesday and Thursday to return to the northern beaches. While the order has not been expanded to Hatteras Island, county personnel stated they expect all tourists who left Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk, Southern Shores, Duck and Manteo to be back on the beach by 4PM today.

A tourist bureau spokesman reminded evacuated guests that they "had signed binding contracts" which, under a penumbra our attorney's assure is quite enforceable, also contracted tourists to spend money at local stores and restaurants. "We expect those guests to honor the last 36 hours of their commitment to Dare County with their wallets".

Our Virginia Beach bureau reports that Dare County "Tourism Truancy" patrol officers were already rousting former Dare tourists who found refuge in Virginia Beach from bars and nightspots starting around midnight, when it became apparent Earl would not do much damage to the northern part of the county. The ex-pat tourists were held under secure guard at a central Virginia Beach hotel and will be escorted to their cars and back to our beaches starting at 1PM today.