Letter to the editor: ‘Lies, damn lies and statistics’


Dear editor:

This morning’s housing story is interesting from multiple perspectives. The first comes from the freedom our city takes with numbers. As usual not a one of them is inaccurate, but their presentation reminds me of Mark Twain’s famous line about “lies, damn lies and statistics.”  Anyone else coming upon these figures outside the city’s presentation would be unlikely to think about a five-year average when one year, last year, dominates the data.  Real estate types would more likely ask what other projects might be on the horizon and whether the 2012 figure may be the beginning of a lasting trend, all of which would render 2007-2011 irrelevant. Such a trend might also make certain other city claims irrelevant as well. (See below.)

The second is the juxtaposition of Mr. Dekoekkoek’s comment and the sentiment expressed by a great many of the other residents living near the properties up-zoned for greater density since the Town Center Plan was adopted in 2007. The density may give him great comfort, but many residents who were here before that fundamental change in neighborhood character was allowed find the project at 56th and 236th to be as one put it, “an out-of-place monstrosity” and one which she notes did not raise her property values as promised.

A third is the basic contradiction between this story line and the one spread by the dire consequences crowd loudly declaring the importance of a new Civic Center Complex to our downtown’s prospects. I have read their themes such as that the opposition is all “negativity”; “downtown is a wasteland”; and the one most apropos to today’s story, “Who would want to invest their time and money in a city that just says NO to all new taxes, to growth, development and progress?

This point in defense of the Civic Center project is made as if it bore any authority let alone a hint of recognition of what is already going on downtown while the city property remains a “vacant lot.” A brief review includes:

O an historically large investment of tax dollars in downtown infrastructure in support of denser development,
O the largest residential project in our history at 236th and 56th nearing completion – your story’s centerpiece,
O a new townhome project at 234th and 55th,
O a very large 4-story assisted living facility at 56th and 230th slated to break ground soon,
O a new car tab tax of $20 per car began last summer, collected to re-make 56th Avenue, and
O a 9,000 SF brew pub next to D&D Meats slated to open this coming summer.

In no particular order that list includes new investments, new money, new taxes, growth, development, new business and at least some variety of progress.

Leonard French


  1. Oops..you forgot one last bullet.* a new civic center and updates to our police station and library. (Coming Soon!)
    Someone’s feeling nervous about the Yes Campaign.


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