Letters to the Editor, Jan. 9, 2019

Numbers

Don’t mislead with numbers

As an engineer and a math teacher, I’m careful not to use numbers to mislead. That is not the case in a recent email from Mercer Island Center for the Arts (MICA).

The Dec. 31 “2018 Year in Review” email from MICA stated: “Intensive listening to the MI community” that included “dialogs” and a “survey” resulted in “feedback from over 1,500 Islanders…giving us the resounding input that 72 percent of MI is eager for an Arts Center.”

Actually, only 803 (not 1,500) respondents replied to the survey prompt: “Mercer Island would benefit from having a centralized location for the arts.”

The 803 responses were: “Strongly disagree” 96 people (11.96 percent), “Somewhat disagree” 64 people (7.97 percent), “Undecided” 67 people (8.34 percent), “Somewhat agree” 155 people (19.30 percent), “Strongly agree” 421 people (52.43 percent).

MICA’s report is inaccurate and misleading: “Somewhat agree” responses were counted as “eager for,” and “72 percent of Islanders” would be 17,474 Islanders (Mercer Island’s population is 24,270), but the “eager for” respondents actually represent 2.4 percent of Islanders (576 / 24,270).

Stating that “72 percent of MI is eager for an Arts Center” is incorrect and misleading. I trust we will see more accurate number crunching by MICA as they pursue their fundraising and mission.

Al Lippert

Mercer Island

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