From Sue...(ignore the odd formatting...every time I write a post in Word and paste in here, it goes wonky...)
The City of Troy recently contracted Target-Insyght (www.target-insyght.com), a professional polling company, to survey the residents of Troy in a statistically significant and scientifically sound way. Did you get that? I said, “statistically significant and scientifically sound.” It’s important to know that because from the moment this company was chosen, detractors have tried every which way possible to discredit the Target-Insyght, its owner, Ed Sarpolos, and the entire contents of the poll.
A Step to the Left…
You see, because Target-Insyght does work with government bodies and schools, the first complaint about the firm is that they MUST be left-leaning. (You all knew that all of government and all teachers are left-leaning by definition, right? No? They’re not? Someone needs to tell Troy Citizens United that, then…) So right there, every piece of data produced is tainted with that left-leaning slant. And left-leaning is obviously bad because it's not unbiased. Now, I have a feeling if the poll and/or the pollster were considered RIGHT-LEANING, detractors would have no problem.
But give them unbiased...point out a few things that don't jibe with their philosophy, and it's left-leaning crack pot shenanigans.
Making a Push…
The second biggest complaint about the firm and the owner is that they conducted a “push poll.” By one definition, a push poll is “a political campaign technique in which an individual or organization attempts to influence or alter the view of respondents under the guise of conducting a poll.
Let’s break this down. The charge is that the city attempted to influence results based on the way questions were asked. In reality, the poll stated what is happening in very clear terms with regard to budget cuts that have been made or will be made over the next several budget cycles. Then the poll asked which things that have been or will be cut should be maintained, reinstated or cut even more. Residents were able specify in thirteen separate areas what services they most value, from police to the library to park and rec.
For example, one area states, “The number of police officers has been reduced from 131 to 120 police officers. In the next couple of years they will be cut to 93 positions, which will cause slower response times, especially for non-emergency calls.” This reflects the sad truth that soon, our police force will reflect the same level of staffing as we had in 1979. Economically, that represents a vast cost savings. However, we have several thousand more residents and over 50,000+ more individuals who pass through our city to work or shop in a DAILY basis than we did in 1979.
But present Deborah DeBacker of the TCU that very straightforward information and you only hear inflammatory language meant to misinform residents. Completely ignoring the fact that the police cuts will result in THIRTY – EIGHT FEWER OFFICERS in the future, she only referenced the eleven positions already cut and scoffed "Eleven people do all this work? Come on!" Ms. DeBacker is clearly using that famous TCU “mathemagic” in trying conduct her own little push poll party with the media. It’s too hard to maintain support and influence the electorate with honesty and integrity, so instead she and her supporters rely on half-truths, inaccurate data and scare tactics. They call the inevitable cuts and losses “threats,” yet so many of those “threats” have already come to pass.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but when that’s the case…isn’t that REALITY?
Is There a (Spin) Doctor in the House?
” In a push poll, large numbers of respondents are contacted and little or no effort is made to collect and analyze response data. Instead, the push poll is a form of telemarketing-based propaganda and rumor mongering, masquerading as a poll.”
So a push poll is supposed to lack data analysis. Obviously those who called it a push poll are unaware of the gobs of data analysis that were presented to City Council on Monday, April 18 by Ed Sarpolus himself. Not only that, the entire poll and results are available online on the city’s website here. (Click)
The results show that citizens of Troy seem to be more concerned with personal interest rather than supporting those things that build community – with one exception being the Troy Public Library. What that means is that the majority of those polled – whose data can be scientifically extrapolated out to represent a statistically significant body of residents (there I go again, reminding you that the poll is valid) – supported the things that affect them most directly: the library, police, snow plowing, and roads.
“Quality of life” venues like our museum, nature center, community center, parks and rec programs and more were only rated at 1% importance as compared to 40% for the library and 14% for police service. Therefore, Mr. Sarpolus categorized Troy as a “bedroom” community, meaning most residents tend to sleep here, but go out of the city for recreation, work and more.
Remember, this is not simply Mr. Sarpolus’s opinion. It’s based on the results of the polling. It’s based on the habits of the residents of the city of Troy, and on their reflection of what is most important for the city of Troy to fund and maintain. It’s not a “spin job” or an editorial – Mr. Sarpolus gains nothing personally for portraying us as we are. He’s already been paid, folks. What possible incentive is there for him to lie, given his years of experience and work ethic with many reputable entities??? (Click)
The only ones who seem to have any vested interest in portraying the whole survey process as a sham are the TCU and the anti-tax advocates. If they can discredit Target-Insyght, the city leaders and our city manager, they can try to sway any future ballot issues attempting to raise millages to SAVE TROY.
If they can discredit any opponents, they can try to convince you that the truth is a lie. They will try to tell you that EVERYONE ELSE is lying, yet the evidence is usually right there in black and white to show you how they’ve manipulated it, presented only half of it, or cherry-picked it trying to make it fit any number of arguments. (And if you e-mail them directly to please tell you where you have lied, they will ignore you. We’ll take that as proof that they cannot produce that documentation.)
Most frustrating is how they will take up a new fight like a chameleon changes colors. After the marathon council meeting on Monday, April 18, where the library received a “stay of execution,” TCU attempted to portray themselves as the impetus behind it. On their Facebook page, they crowed, “Do you think the council is getting the message that we know they can keep the library open with no new taxes? Keep up the pressure.”
Nowhere was there credit for the masses of children in attendance with hand-made signs.
Nowhere was there credit for Neil Yashinsky and his children, the subject of news coverage on Channel 4 and in print media for several days.
Nowhere was there credit for the work of TRUST, Troy Residents Unified for a Strong Troy – a grassroots group that has been gaining speed and support quicker than any other citizens group I’ve seen in a very long time, if ever.Nowhere ESPECIALLY was there any credit at ALL for the Citizens to Save Troy Public Library, the Friends of the TPL or any of the individuals involved in the Proposal 1 campaign. Rhonda Hendrickson spoke and presented TIRELESSLY week after week, championing the cause. Literally hundreds of volunteers knocked on doors and spoke to neighbors about the issue. True, sincere and heartfelt effort was put into trying to save our library.
And now? NOW the TCU wants credit. They ignore what was set into motion by countless others before them.
TCU wants credit for it all, even though the ONLY REASON our library is still in such peril rests squarely on THEIR shoulders. Anyone who opposes them are the minions of the city, and anyone in favor of millages to SAVE TROY are left-leaning tax-and-spending Liberals.