Mirror Pond process flawed

At a Feb. 12 public meeting, Mirror Pond Project leader Jim Figurski doggedly defended the “Visioning Project Questionnaire” now being circulated. He proudly announced that 1,200 had so far been filled out.

He took pains to defend the scientific validity of this questionnaire, which, he said, will help determine the fate of Mirror Pond.

However, the very underpinnings of the questionnaire appear to be fatally flawed. It looks suspiciously like a political push poll: It limits choices to various versions of Mirror Pond as it now exists, and it does not allow consideration of alternatives.

The other problem is the claim this questionnaire will provide an accurate representation of a cross-section of Bend opinion. But, how can we know how statistically representative the sampling is, when the questionnaire does not even ask for the age or income grouping of respondents?

The questionnaire should be rewritten, and we are fortunate in having a data analyst and statistician sitting on the Mirror Pond Management Board — newly elected City Councilor Victor Chudowsky. We should put his professional oversight to work in fashioning a new one.

At the Feb. 12 meeting, Figurski ruled out the possibility of a referendum election to allow the public to vote on alternatives. Lacking this and realizing that tens of thousands in public funds are now being spent in this “visioning” process, it would, at least, be nice to know that a true reading of public opinion will emerge. Please, redo the questionnaire.

Foster Fell

Source: The Bulletin ©2013

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