Dakota County Commissioner Tom Egan for the Third District recently submitted a response to this Letter to the Editor over at SunThisweek where he takes personal offense to his belief that unscientific survey results were manipulated in the public’s view. While he can be as upset as he likes, instead of his incorrect base claim, people should be more concerned with the fact that one of the people making decisions for the county cannot write worth his life.
From the Egan’s Letter to the Editor:
About a year ago, a very unscientific Survey Monkey survey conducted by Dakota County asked people what park uses they would support and one third answered paved trails. This was considered by county staff to be high considering the make up of respondents. The other two thirds didn’t oppose paved trails: They simply had different choices. Based on the findings of this unscientific survey, the writer might want to suggest that if I go out for diner with two friends and I order a steak but the other two order something else that it means two thirds of us are opposed to steak.
Earlier this year a poll was conducted for Dakota County by the National Research Center with a margin of error of 4 percent. When asked what uses they would support in Dakota County Parks such as Lebanon Hills, respondents were given eight specific choices and a ninth choice of “other.” Sixty-six percent selected the choice of “Trail networks for hiking, biking or skiing.”
Those who oppose paved trails in Lebanon Hills have an absolute right to their opinion; but they can’t create their own facts.
There are so many issues here I had difficulty even knowing where to begin:
- 1. He uses contractions in his letter. This is a politician writing a Letter to the Editor which will be seen by the 10 or 11 people who don’t use SunThisweek as tinder for their fire pits and as such he should be trying to sound like an adult. “Can’t” may be acceptable for daily speech, text messages and e-mail, but keep it out of formal newspaper responses.
2. Tom Egan should have asked someone to do a read through so he could have avoided misspelling “dinner” as “diner”.
3. He should have carefully researched this ‘unscientific survey’ prior to berating the improper use of statistics by the previous letter writer. Egan ended up doing the exact same thing himself, unintentionally; it makes him look incredibly silly and unfit for office.
4. Egan completely misunderstood the question being asked on the survey he chose to use as evidence that paved trails are a popular choice by County residents. No where in the question he notes does it state ‘paved’ and all of the uses provided as part of the question can and do currently happen on unpaved trails. Talk about creating facts!
Egan should post a follow-up Letter to the Editor where he apologizes for this one. He has proven himself uneducated, misguided, and misspelled and he should really think twice about his future decision-making, up to and including putting himself as a representative of Dakota County residents in the future.
What do you think about this one? Do you think Egan looks like a fool after what he wrote? Do you think public officials should be more careful with what they disseminate? What about his choice to misrepresent the survey question just as he had claimed the original letter had done with the results? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.