Friday, May 9, 2008

The School Survey and the Civic Slacker

Much ado was made this week about a 300-sample telephone poll, paid for by Joel Nunneley, asking allegedly "involved voters" about selling off Fayetteville High School and whether they would vote to raise property tax rates to pay for building a new high school. “I paid for it on my own and commissioned it on my own, but I’m releasing it through Students First,” said Nunneley, who was described as "one of the three main leaders of Students First," a group that wants to sell the high school.

The press release from Nunneley's group was a bit misleading, claiming that the survey showed a “clear majority of involved voters” wanted to sell the high school to the University of Arkansas. Their own figures, from the poll he bought, show only 36% like that idea. The six percent margin of error means it could be as low as 30%, hardly a majority of voters, involved or otherwise. No more convincing to anyone except Greg Harton than the silent majority Nunneley asserted before.

Another of the questions respondents were asked was "Will the decision to sell the high school impact your decision to support the millage increase?" On that question, yet again, we are told that exactly 36% of the "involved voters" will support a property tax increase to build a new high school wherever it might be located. The so-called Students First website claims this means "there is strong support for a millage increase," although there was no measurement of intensity of these "involved voters."

Joel Nunneley tells us that "involved voters" are those "likely voters based on historical voting data." Fair enough. That does not include Joel Nunnelley. He is a registered voter in Wheeler Township, but the County Clerk has officially designated him an "inactive voter" based on historical voting data. Now, he didn't vote for the millage to support our wonderful public library, or the sales tax to improve our sewer-street-trails infrastructure, or the road impact fee to deal with sprawl, because he doesn't live in Fayetteville and cannot vote on whether we have to pay city taxes to support such things. He and his family, of course, still can borrow books from our library, drive on our streets, and use our trails for free.

But Joel Nunneley was eligible and did not vote in the last at-large school election, where "involved voters" elected John Delap to the School Board. And more telling, Joel Nunneley did not vote in the last school millage election, the one that failed to get "involved voter" support for only a small increase in property taxes. What a guy. What an "uninvoled voter." What a hypocrite.

Thanks and a tip of the hat to blog reader Mr. Dooley for emailing the voting history of all the "involved voters" in Mr. Nunneley's little group that wants to sell our high school to the University of Arkansas, which would pay for it by increasing student tuition for the next 30 years.

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