1. to induce or cause to abandon evil ways
2. to put an end to (an evil) by enforcing or introducing a better method or course of action
Park Watch asserts the Park Board needs ”reform.” Their reasons include charges of incompetence, like not attending to Dutch Elm Diseased trees. Oops! Turns out that’s not true. Charges of non-transparency, like not providing meeting minutes. Uh oh! Another fiction. Charges of corruption, like a half-million dollar superintendent’s slush fund. Doh! A totally bogus claim.
Park Board needs reform. Whoops! Guess not. What Ignoratio Elenchi is this?
Red Herring noun, idiom \ˈred ˈhe-riŋ\
1. a dried and smoked herring having a reddish color
2. a device which intends to divert the audience from the truth or an item of significance.
So what is this truth from which Park Watch seeks to divert our attention?
Decision Resources, Inc. conducted a poll of some 600 random Minneapolis residents – a large and statistical sample – asking their perceptions of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.
97% of respondents say the parks “meet the needs of their household.” 99% of respondents say the park system is a “unique and valuable asset.” 99% of respondents say the parks “play an important role, benefit the public good and are low cost.” Not bad, maybe it should have been 100%?
The most interesting question asked respondents to rate the value they are getting for their tax dollars.
9% said excellent value, 73% said good, 5% said fair, and 13% were unsure.
Only 1% rated the value for tax dollars as poor.
Do we know the identities of the six respondents that comprise that 1%? Perhaps they are ParkWatch candidates Liz Wielinski, Michael Guest, Jason Stone, Annie Young, Scott Vreeland and John Erwin.
The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board continually improves the services it provides, stewardship of the parks, and its financial performance. That is as it should be. Every organization can be improved, and every organization should have a process for continual improvement.
So why the clamor for “reform” based on false assertions? Here’s one idea…
Trojan Horse noun, idiom \ˈtrōjən hôrs\
1. a large hollow wooden figure of a horse (filled with Greek soldiers) left by the Greeks outside Troy during the Trojan War
2. a subversive group that supports the enemy and engages in espionage or sabotage; an enemy in your midst